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THEIR pigs have been winning foodie awards for years but it’s the farmhouse itself which has now brought home the bacon for Sheffield’s Povey Farm.

The Grade II listed building might be more than 400-years-old but it has been officially recognised as one of the UK’s SuperHomes.

That means it is one of only 90 domestic properties in the UK which has been adapted to generate more energy than it actually uses.

In other words, it has a negative carbon footprint.

Or, in other perhaps even better words, it has no energy bills. Owners Stephen and Karen Thompson don’t have to pay a penny for heating or electricity. They can concentrate instead on making their pigs as tasty as possible.

A large wind turbine, straw burner and water bore hole all cover the energy needs of the property in Lightwood Lane, Norton, while plans to build solar panels will eat into the electricity demands of the on-site butchery.

“It’s cost us about £100,000 over 20 years to have everything installed,” says Stephen whose family have run the farm since the 1890s. “But that’s becoming better value for money with every year that passes and each increase in energy prices.

“But it was never really about the money. Energy efficiency has always been something we’ve been aware of. We got the straw burner 20 years ago because we had so much waste straw and it seemed silly not to be recycling that. The turbine was installed five years ago – I think it’s the biggest of it’s kind that can be fitted on a domestic property – and we’re hoping to have the solar panels in place by 2012.”

All in all, not a bad modern adaptation for a building which experts reckon was probably built in the 1500s and which is currently the headquarters for a 2,000-pig business supplying meats to popular town eateries such as The Devonshire Cat.

The title has been bestowed by the Sustainable Energy Academy. Only two other properties in South Yorkshire have been similarly recognised although neither of those – a Victorian semi-detached house in Eastgrove Road, Broomfield, and the South Yorkshire Energy Centre in Alexandra Road, Heeley – can claim to be 400 years old.

But...what does getting the honour actually...do?

“It’s just recognition,” says 50-year-old Stephen. “It means we’ve done something which we can be proud of and which is nationally appreciated for being good and, well, for which we can get in the paper.”