With rising fuel costs and reducing household incomes we are all looking for ways to cut costs. The fossil fuels we use to heat our homes, clean and deliver our water, and produce and deliver our food, are significant contributors to climate change.
Useful tips and technology descriptions from our homeowners – click the titles for more info
30% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from our homes, 56% of that is from heating, so reducing heat loss can make a real difference. Up to 25% of the heat you generate can be lost in a poorly insulated roof, and you can save up to £135 on your annual fuel bill with wall insulation. Look out for houses, commercial or communal properties with insulation, draught proofing, double or triple glazing, water heat storage and heat recovery.
Despite recent changes to government funding schemes, installation costs have dropped and micro generation can still be a worthwhile investment at this time of low interest rates for savings. Find out more by visiting properties listed as having solar PV technology.
Changing weather patterns are increasing the risk of water shortage. We are also spending money and energy producing clean water for tasks that could be done by rain or grey water. Look out for properties with rainwater water harvesting.
Food is getting more expensive and growing your own makes sense but where to start? Visit the sustainable vegetable or community gardens. There will be people to give advice on growing and protecting crops and what grows well in local conditions.
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). More renewable energy in the UK means less reliance on energy imports, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Using a renewable resource, like the wind or sun, to produce clean, green energy can help to reduce climate change effects and in some cases could even save you money. Cheltenham Green Doors have partnerships with two companies who specialise in renewable energy and will receive funding each time someone switches their energy supply, Electricity and/or Gas, to one of the companies below who aim to source 100% of the energy they supply from Renewable Sources.
these panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity, which is either fed back into the grid, or used during the day. It is sensible to do the washing and ironing on a sunny day. The “Feed in Tariff” pays us for all the electricity we generate. The break even time for our system is 4 years, after which we will gain up to 7 times the initial investment – that is a return of around 9%.
This is whole house ventilation giving the correct number of air changes per hour. The cool incoming air is pre-heated by the warm out-going air. This leads to lower humidity and no condensation.
panels on the roof convert the sun’s energy into hot water stored in a large 300 litre cylinder and used for washing..
from the minimal 50mm up to 300mm keeps the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer.
the gap between the inner and outer leaves of the brick/block walls are filled with an insulation material.
In essence ‘cooking by magnetism’. The metal cooking vessel itself is heated by the strong currents flowing in it. The efficiency is typically 84%, compared to a gas stove at only 40%. Other advantages are: no carbon monoxide, reduced water vapour, much cooler hob therefore safer.
Gone are the days of a dim, slow to warm up bulbs. LED lighting is instant, and much more energy efficient. We replaced 6 x 100W ceiling spotlights in the kitchen with 6W LED disc lights – a reduction from 600W to 36W with a much better and longer lasting light.
The rain water from the house roof is saved in raised barrels to provide 1000litres of stored water for gardening and flushing the downstairs toilet.
Each room radiator has a radio controlled valve which can be programmed independently with different timings and temperatures. Thus the house is divided into zones. This controllability, which is automatic once set up, results in much less wastage of heat.
Triple glazing has been common in Scandinavia for many years and is becoming more so now in the UK particularly where major refurbishment to a high standard is being undertaken. It is more expensive than double glazing but does reduce cold spots by windows, and condensation, where the house is otherwise well insulated.
There is also a considerable reduction in noise from outside – useful if you live on a busy road.
The gas central heating boiler has an outside sensor that controls the water circulating temperature to as low a temperature as possible, so on a warmer day the radiators are hardly on.
Like an ‘inside out fridge’, it extracts heat from the outside air in the same way that a fridge extracts heat from its inside. This is run on a timed low rate electric tariff. For every 1kW used to run the unit, it delivers 4kW of energy.
a large heat store, storing hot water from the heat pump, solar hot water panels, and a standby immersion (never used yet). This is used in the under-floor heating, and for domestic hot water
This highly efficient stove is used as a living room focus in the winter or as backup in the event of power cuts. The flue pipe runs through the bedroom above for further energy savings
This wall finish consists of small spheres of ‘heat energy’ retaining material that absorbs or releases energy according to the room temperature. As the room temperature drops, and before the heating ‘kicks in’, the material releases the gained energy, keeping a very stable room temperature.
Severn Wye Energy Agency Link to Energy web site has a great selection of home improvement case studies at: http://www.linktoenergy.org.uk/home-improvement-case-studies/