|A thermal image showing where |
heat is being lost from this house.
Contact me for one-to-one advice via firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also arrange thermal imaging of your house, to identify priorities for improving the building fabric to save energy. In the meantime, remember priorities are:
- you, and how you behave in the building, will strongly influence the energy you use - almost certainly you will be able to save energy (and £) by making small changes in the way you operate heating and lighting controls;
- deal with the building fabric, before spending money on a new heating system; draughtproofing and insulation are key; build a porch to act as an unheated buffer zone to the outdoors; replace single-glazing with the best type of double-glazing you can afford or (if you have money to spare, triple glazing);
- lag hot water pipes wherever possible and especially if you are refurbing the kitchen or bathroom; increase the lagging on your hot water tank (if you have one) to 100mm or more;
- learn to appreciate and use the power of the sun through passive solar gain, such as a conservatory on a wall orientated south (but do NOT install a radiator or heating here);
- review the heating and ventilation system, and install appropriate solutions as part of a whole house plan that can be implemented over a 10+ year period. For those off the gas grid, consider the future price of oil (the only way is up) before replacing an oil boiler another oil-fired one.
- consider internal or external wall insulation - especially important solutions for solid-walled houses - by 2050 I predict that every solid-walled house will be superinsulated either internally or externally; begin to install IWI whenever elements of the building are being refurbished (e.g. replacing kitchen units). See my blog for some personal experience of installing External Wall Insulation.
- consider renewable energy AFTER all the main stuff, like insulation, has been done (although if you want to benefit from the Feed In Tariff, the best rates are now tailing off).
One of the problems that is becoming apparent is incomplete installation of cavity wall insulation, and the lack of any insulation above windows and soffits. This means the tops of walls on the top floor of a house are very cold in winter and this is where moisture condenses and mould grows. This can be particularly bad in older 'modern' houses where the internal blocks are of dense concrete. With my business colleague, Paul Buckingham and a local builder, we have set work to address this on my own house by removing part of the roof and putting insulation against the wall plate above the soffits. More about this can be seen on my blog.