Meet Horncastle's Mr Green

THE TOWN'S very own green man saves megabucks with his minimalist, environmentally friendly approach to living.

So much so his last water bill was just 22.63 and electricity bill 34.63.

Walking into Alan Richards' home in North Street, there are no signs of the usual collection of electrical appliances and gadgets used in the average household.

There is no widescreen television or huge hi-fi system in his living room or washing machine in his kitchen.

Instead, Mr Richards, 43, chooses to hand wash his clothes, uses a shower instead of a bath and places half a brick in the cistern of his toilet to minimise water usage.

He also keeps his electricity consumption down to a bare minimum by using a halogen heater and portable radiators instead of central heating and special LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs, which use a lower wattage than the average energy saving bulbs on the market.

"These bulbs are available here in Horncastle," he said.

"People on low incomes can save a lot of money by using these lower wattage products on the market to save energy and money."

Previously working at the Polypipe Civils factory in the town, he has been unemployed for a year but has managed to lived comfortably through his minimal lifestyle.

Being half German Mr Richards was brought up on hearty meats, but has since chosen to become a vegan - cutting out all meat and their bi-products.

He will not eat meat, because he does not need to and he applies this attitude to all areas of his life.

After living in caravans for years in Derbyshire and Spilsby Road in Horncastle, he moved to his new home in North Street last year.

Since moving in he has incorporated the way he used to live in a caravan out of necessity into his new home.

"Living in a caravan you have to be careful and cannot have everything on at the same time," he said.

For him it is all about moderation and not using more energy than he has to.

He has a special timer on his water boiler, switching it on late in the evening when the rate is much lower than it is during the day.

Because he is vegetarian, he can also afford to place his fridge on a timer, having it on mainly in the evening when the rate is only 4p per minute compared to 18p in the daytime.

He recognizes his lifestyle is not practical for family life, but thinks there are things everybody can do to save money and energy.

He added: "My sister is on a high income, but her family still struggle with money because of all the consumer goods they have.

"People seem to be hooked on consumerism with young ladies being the worst for spending."

But he does not completely deprive himself and enjoys Hob Nobs biscuits which he referred to as his 'little luxury'.

"Hob Nobs are great and much healthier than a lot of the health food biscuits you can get."

CLICK HERE to email us your views and tell us if you are greener or more energy conscious than Mr Richards.