Month: June 2011

Hyson Green Eco House – Nottingham, UK

The Partnership Council is a community charity based in Radford, Nottingham, UK has been given planning permission by Nottingham City Council to convert a small terraced house on St Paul’s Terrace in Hyson Green into the Hyson Green Eco House.

The Eco House will be used as a base for money-saving information and community workshops to help local people save money on fuel bills. Free workshops will teach simple, affordable DIY techniques, which people can use in their own homes.

Nottingham City Homes will lend the property to the Partnership Council, to help improve the quality of life for local families. We are now just awaiting the final paperwork.

Moby Farrands from the Partnership Council, who’s been planning the project, said:

“Other Eco Houses in the UK have cost thousands of pounds to reduce their energy bills. Most are large houses with big gardens, owned by organisations or people who can afford expensive adjustments – installing heat pumps, solar panels and hi-tech insulation.

Our Eco House has a concrete back yard and a draughty front door into the living room,  its like many local houses.  We will show you can cut costs in a small house on a tiny budget, using your own skills, with help from fellow volunteers and recycled materials.

We will start with activities like sewing and putting up thermal curtains, draught-proofing floor boards, growing food on a small budget- not like the ‘Grand Designs’ Eco homes on the TV programme. We are keen to hear from anyone with their own home-grown designs or a skill to share – DIY, sewing, recycling or container-gardening. And a fun bit- we want some volunteers to build us a bicycle smoothie-maker.”

Key Motivation

Moby said that:

“Our Eco House Project is motivated by the findings that impoverished owner occupiers and tenants of private landlords have limited resources and little motivation for projects for carbon reduction. Our Project aims to help people with small scale DIY projects, and to experiment with alternatives to expensive options, with the focus on reduced fuel bills. We will hope to give information and support with applications for grants for more hi-tech options, and to campaign with public authorities for larger scale action. Our main focus is small old terraced housing, much of which will still be accommodation for the poor in 20 to 30 years time in many Midlands and Northern cities.”

More information

Improving the thermal performance of traditional windows

Based on research conducted by Dr Paul Baker of Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) for Historic Scotland resulted in a report “Improving the thermal performance of traditional windows”. The report summarises the results of research on the thermal performance of traditional windows and methods of reducing heat loss carried out by the Centre for Research on Indoor Climate & Health, Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) on behalf of Historic Scotland. Whilst most of the work was laboratory based using a sash and case window, some in situ measurements were carried out in a tenement in Edinburgh. Historic Scotland carried out a series of thermographic surveys to complement the thermal performance tests.

The report has concluded that:-

Laboratory measurements of the U-value of a traditional sash and casement window showed that there was no significant difference before and after draughtproofing of the window. The whole window U-value is 4.4 W/m2K. 72% of the heat loss through the window will be via the single glazing.

The airtightness of the window was improved considerably by draught proofing, reducing the air leakage by 86%. The window is tighter than the recommended 4000mm2 trickle vent for domestic new build.

All the options tested in the GCU Environmental Chamber reduce the heat loss through the glazing. Shutters are the most effective option of the traditional methods, reducing heat flow by 51%. By insulating the shutters heat loss can be reduced by 60%. Further improvement would be possible with a purpose designed set of shutters. Improved blind designs also have the potential to reduce heat loss.

High performance secondary glazing and replacement double glazed panes offer improved thermal performance throughout the day. Careful installation of the secondary glazing also results in improved air-tightness.

All the options offer improved thermal comfort due to higher surfacetemperatures compared with single glazing alone.

The in situ U-value measurements confirm in practice the performance oftraditional shutters and show the potential benefits of low emissivity glazing in a secondary glazing system.

Effect of the options on U-value
Effect of the options on reduction in heat loss through the glazing


U‐value (or thermal transmittance co‐efficient) is a measure of how much heat will pass through one square metre of a structure when the temperature on either side of the structure differs by 1 degree Celsius. The lower the U‐value, the better is the thermal performance of a structure. The U‐value is expressed in W/m2K.

Nearly half of British homes do not have adequate insulation

New figures released on 17 June 2011 revealed that nearly half of Britain’s homes do not have adequate basic insulation and are throwing away at least £100 in wasted energy payments every year.

The latest lagging statistics show that only 57% of Britain’s lofts have been properly insulated and only 58% of cavity walls have been filled. Insulating lofts and cavity walls cuts down on energy leakage and therefore reduces energy bills.

Energy companies have been told by the Coalition Government to increase the help they make available to people to insulate their homes and save money. A total of 3.5 million homes are set to benefit by December 2012 as a result of a tougher Carbon Emissions Reduction Target.

Today’s figures show that 479,000 professional insulation measures have already been installed against the new target, with over three million further homes expected to be treated by the end of 2012. On average this will amount to more than 140,000 insulation measures a month.

Chris Huhne, Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said:

“At a time when money is tight and with energy prices predicted to rise, householders are missing out on over £100 of savings every single year by not getting their lofts lagged and cavity walls filled.

“We are making energy companies do more to help their hard pressed customers, with another 3.5 million households set to be protected against higher bills by the end of next year.”

People who want advice on insulating their home should call the Energy Saving Trust on 0800 512 012 to find out about the latest local offers on insulation that are available.

To help even more people transform their homes, the Government’s Green Deal will start next year. Households will be able to invest in home improvements at no upfront cost and repay through savings on energy bills.

The scheme will involve an extensive range of energy efficiency measures including installing insulation, replacing leaky windows, or upgrading inefficient old heating systems to the latest high-performing models.

UK Department for Energy and Climate Change press release

Can the Creators of the iPhone Make Home Energy Management Sexy?

Nest Labs, is a super stealth-mode company that is creating a home energy management system — basically a digital thermostat that can be managed remotely in order to save energy. It’s a lot like its competitors Tendril, EcoFactor, and OPower, but with one very important difference: its founders helped invent the iPhone’s distinctive interface.

The company, according to trademark filings, is creating a:

“Climate control system consisting of a digital thermostat that automatically sets climate conditions based on prior and historical patterns of climate settings selected by users; climate control system consisting of a digital thermostat that can be controlled wirelessly from a remote location; software application for use on computers and hand-held devices to control climate and energy usage in homes and businesses from a remote location.”

Full articles:-

Can the Creators of the iPhone Make Home Energy Management Sexy? – Technology Review.

Nest Labs: iPhone Alums Prepping Home Networking Devices : Greentech Media.


Energy Heritage: a guide to improving energy efficiency in traditional and historic homes

This guide provides options for improving the energy efficiency in traditional and historic homes. It addresses the following questions:-

  • What issues affect energy efficiency improvements in historic buildings?
  • What opportunities exist to enhance historic homes?
  • What lessons can be learned from other experiences?

It includes a case study of a project carried out in an 1820s tenement building (a traditional Scottish dwelling type with a common stair) in Edinburgh, Scotland.



Further details

Download the Full Report: – Energy Heritage: a guide to improving energy efficiency in traditional and historic homes