Quality conservatory helps man achieve the "impossible"

A Gloucestershire man has shown the power of the conservatory by doing what was thought impossible.

Former naval officer Mike Hillard now owns a property development company and used his skills to build himself a six-bedroom energy-efficient home, complete with a conservatory he calls his "solar room".

In his conservatory, Mr Hillard keeps three Asian musa japonica banana plants among a plethora of exotic plant life.

When he bought the plants he was told that he would never get fruit from them as conditions in the UK were not anywhere close to the plants native environment.

But the heat from his conservatory, which he uses to heat his entire home, was enough for the plants to sprout over 70 bananas, which Mr Hillard intends to cook in a curry.

Aside from his heat-providing conservatory, which stays between 10 and 16 degrees warmer than the outside temperature all year round, the 64-year-old harvests rainwater for his shower, plants and even dishes.

With his environmental techniques, he manages to pay just £150 per year on gas and electricity.