Tag: NTS

How to make old homes energy efficient

A recent article in The Guardian offers some advice on how to make Britain’s 5 million historic homes more energy efficient. At key point in the article is that Britain’s 5m historic houses – defined by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings as anything built before 1919 – should not be treated like new ones, and that green deal-style modern technologies were often inappropriate.

Suggestions from the team of historic advisers include:-

  • A lot of energy waste in old buildings is the result of overdue maintenance, so get the window panes fixed and clear out the gutters and drains that make walls damp and cold.
  • Do the cheap options that have the least impact on the building fabric first, eg: turning the thermostat down a degree, draught-stripping for windows and doors and a thick pair of curtains can be just as effective as more expensive measures. Floor coverings or rugs can block air infiltration and keep feet warm.
  • Think about how and when you use your building. When does it need
    to be warmer and when could it be cooler? Swap your boiler controls from a timer to a programmable thermostat and switch off what you can.
  • Historic buildings were designed to be heated one room at a time using separate open fires, which is more efficient than all at once. You can recreate this today by manually controlling thermostat valves. Programmable wi-fi radiator valves are becoming more readily available.
  • Typically, about 25% heat is lost through the roof, in comparison to 35% through the walls, 15% through the floor and 25% from windows and draughts. But the cost of insulating in the roof is usually much lower than the cost of solid wall insulation, so it is often more cost-effective to do the roof first.
  • For the big investment, focus on how you generate and distribute
    heat in your building. Ask for advice while you’re still considering your
    options.
  • Older homes deal with heat and moisture differently to more modern construction types. Look at the property as a whole system rather than considering measures individually and think about their cumulative impact on the way that the building fabric functions.
  • Consider all the simple and cheap measures first, before investing in more expensive measures such as external wall insulation – like draught excluders and heavier curtains. Think about floor coverings or rugs to block air infiltration and keep feet warm.
  • Keeping your home in a good state of repair can make a big difference, and in most cases is likely to maintain or even improve the heritage value of a home.
  • Typically, about 25% heat is lost through the roof, in comparison to 35% through the walls, 15% through the floor and 25% from windows and draughts. But the cost of insulating the roof is usually much lower than the cost of solid wall insulation, so it is often more cost-effective to do the roof first.

No or very low risk, which do not require expertise or huge amounts of money include:-

  • Know what you use and where you use it and switch off what you can.
  • Maintain the building fabric and your heating system.
  • Make sure controls and timers are set correct.
  • Replace incandescent and halogen bulbs with LED ones.
  • Install simple efficiency measures – thick curtains, draught proof strips.

Read the full article

British households could save 75 pounds a year ~ if they take control of their heating

According to Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, speaking during Big Energy Saving Week:

“Rightfully, millions of householders are confused by their heating controls because, let’s be honest, it is a bit of a minefield. There are plenty of myths out there and it’s no wonder people aren’t getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes.”

heater-thermostat-415x260

The findings from an Ipsos MORI survey of over 2,000 UK respondents show that almost four fifths of people (78 per cent) claim to understand how to use their heating controls. However, many of these respondents turn out to be using their heating controls incorrectly. Of those who thought they understood how to operate their heating controls:

  • MYTH 1: Turn the heating up when it’s cold outside. Half (52 per cent) turn the thermostat up when it’s cold outside. A home shouldn’t need this as the thermostat is there to maintain the home temperature whatever the weather.
  • MYTH 2: Turn up the thermostat to heat the room quicker. Over a third (35 per cent) turn their room thermostat up when they want the room to heat up quicker. This does not help a room become warmer any quicker and only heats the home to a warmer temperature.
  • MYTH 3: Leave the heating on low constantly. Thirty-eight per cent think it is more energy efficient to leave the heating turned on at a low temperature constantly, rather than turn it on and off. This means these homes are heated when no-one is there to benefit and then the home is too cold when people are in the home.
  • MYTH 4: Hot water runs out if you stop feeding the tank. Nearly a third (31 per cent) leave their water heating on all the time to make sure they never run out, which could be costing far more on their energy bills than necessary.
  • MYTH 5: Keep electric storage heaters on all the time. Our research also found that few people with electric storage heaters fully understand how they work (only 38 per cent). This means that households with electric heating could be paying through the nose by not taking advantage of cheaper night rate electricity.

Source: Energy Saving Trust press release

Renewable Heat Incentive ~ Biomass Suppliers List

From Spring 2015 all biomass fuel used by households, businesses and other organisations claiming the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) must meet a lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions target of 60 per cent GHG savings against the EU fossil fuel average, and land criteria, which for woodfuel are set out in the UK Timber Standard for Heat and Electricity.

The Biomass Suppliers List (BSL) is now publically available at www.gov.uk/find-fuel-supplier

The list provides a simple way for Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) participants to comply with the biomass sustainability criteria announced in February 2013 and due to become mandatory in Spring 2015.

Participants of both domestic and non-domestic RHI, and those considering applying to the scheme, will be able to search the BSL by postcode to find suppliers selling wood fuels that meet the forthcoming sustainability criteria.

The BSL is operated by the BSL Administrator. DECC has appointed Gemserv, partnering with Woodsure, HETAS and Borough IT, to act as the BSL Administrator.

Further information on the BSL, including guidance for consumers, is available on http://biomass-suppliers-list.service.gov.uk/. Two information leaflets about the overall sustainability requirements and how this impacts on domestic RHI participants have also been produced:

New biomass sustainability requirements: Information sheet

Domestic RHI: New biomass sustainability requirements

 

Renewable Heat Incentive ~ online Payment Calculator

Households can now get a clear idea of the payments they could receive if they install a renewable heating system, thanks to a new online service that has been launched by the UK Department for Climate and Energy Change.

By tapping a few details about their property into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) calculator, people can see instantly how much money they may be paid through the scheme, according to what type of renewable heating system they install.

There are four eligible renewable heating system types. These are:

  • biomass only boilers, and biomass pellet stoves
  • air source heat pumps
  • ground source heat pumps
  • flat plate and evacuated tube solar thermal panels.

The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is a government financial incentive to encourage a switch to renewable heating systems.

For further details about the scheme including eligibility criteria and how to apply visit the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive section of the Ofgem website.

To see a breakdown of the approved renewable heating systems visit the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive public reports section of the Ofgem website.

Victorian end-terrace, renovated with sustainable materials ~ case study

open eco homes

According to Judith the owner of this Cambridge 1912 terraced house, the main aim of the renovations was to create a bigger and more usable space. Rather than moving she realised that they could live better where we were with just a ground floor extension and better storage.

Insulating the house properly to make it cosier and reduce their Co2 emissions was very important and they also worked on making the most of the natural
light, for both aesthetic reasons as well as energy usage.

Ross Street

Improvements included using different types of internal wall insulation including polyurethane with aerogel in smaller spaces and on the chimney breasts. They also added a wood burning stove and solar PV.

Full details. Look out for Cambridge Open Eco Homes days where you can visit the property. The Open Eco Homes are run by Cambridge Carbon Footprint.

If you live in Cambridgeshire you can get a grant up to £6000 for the cost of solid wall insulation. Contact Peter Bates Tel 01353 667973 peter@80pc.org