De-carbonising home heating and reducing energy bills:
Home Energy Surveys
Installing a new boiler will only reduce the energy consumption if the boiler is more efficient than the old one because the house needs the same amount of energy from the boiler to keep it warm.
About 80% of the houses people will be living in in 2050 have already been built, and one third of the current housing stock was built before 1919 so most of those are not energy efficient. While legislation to outlaw fossil fuelled cars will take effect within about 10 years, even if regulations required all new homes to be highly energy efficient this would only benefit 20% of properties existing in 2050.
The way forward is to reduce the energy needed to keep warm the houses we’re living in now by making retrofitted improvements to their fabric. That will reduce emissions and save energy and money no matter how the house is heated, and in many cases it will make heat pumps a viable option. Hence the slogan: “fabric first!”
Since about 70% of housing in Wales is owner occupied the responsibility to make these improvements rests with many of us, individually. But it’s not easy. What needs to be done to my house? Where can I get unbiassed advice? What will it cost? Where do I begin?
Powys Home Energy Surveys.
Langattock Green Valleys (LGV) is taking part in a scheme set up by Powys Action on the Climate Emergency (PACE) to help house-owners get an initial idea of what can be done to their house to improve its heat retention. Home energy surveys are done by trained volunteers completing a questionnaire with the homeowner, which is used by domestic energy experts to write a report with suggested improvements appropriate to the property, covering topics such as loft insulation, windows, draught prevention, heating and appliances, and wall insulation. The report enables the homeowner to plan further steps, seeking professional advice where necessary. Where possible reports include details of local advisors and expertise.
For a limited period, the Community Renewal Fund is subsidising 50 home energy audits in Powys. This scheme is an extension of one operated for some years in the Newtown area by the charity Lightfoot Enterprises https://lightfootenterprises.org/. Lightfoot has trained volunteer surveyors and their experts compile the reports. The surveys are still available at the time of writing (August 2022) at a reduced price of £35 for able-to-pay households, thanks to the funding provided to PACE.
LGV hopes that it will be possible to continue surveys of this kind after this scheme funded through PACE has ended.
It the autumn LGV will also be using its own thermal imaging camera with the home energy surveys, at no extra cost for the time being.
Register for a survey
If you are contemplating making home energy improvements and interested in a home energy survey, please complete the form at https://lightfootenterprises.org/household-energy-surveys/
Preference will be given to households that have not already had a survey and households in fuel poverty; surveys are also subject to the availability of a volunteer. LGV would like to spread the surveys across the Crickhowell, Llangynidr, Llangattock, Cwm Du, Bwlch and Vale of Grwyney region.
If you would like more information, please email