Staying in the gorgeous country town of Buntingford over Christmas, we couldn't resist a detour (in the car club car) to a well-named, nearby hamlet. It may have been minus 2C at times over the Christmas holiday, but my mum's new cottage is lovely and snug. She has a new condensing boiler - and barely uses her electric oven - which may well make her house's energy requirements more efficient than mine.
On Boxing Day I was given a tour of an astonishing wood boiler (provided by Rural Energy)which is fed with wood chips. The plan is for it to provide all the hot water and heat a house, office and swimming pool, saving around #4-5,000 a year in bills. It's big - you need a large barn to house it in - but this is a real energy pioneer's gadget. The big switch on is due in February 2009.