Eco Homes Open Event, 7-8 October 2023
There’s a great opportunity in October to take a look around homes in and around Chesterfield where the owners have taken steps to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and cut fuel costs.
Properties old and new, big and small, will show a range of improvements from large-scale projects such as internal wall insulation, air source heat pumps and solar panels to small but effective measures costing little money. The owners will be on hand to chat about their experience in creating more eco-friendly homes.
Visiting a home is a great way to find out about the reality of getting solar panels, insulation, triple glazing, or new heating options without talking to a salesman. You can have a good look at the technology, ask the residents whether the installation was a hassle, and find out much they’re really saving on their energy bills as a result.
We hope to finalise details about the event by the end of August so please watch out for more details.
The summer 2022 heatwave in the UK is clear evidence that we’re in a climate emergency, with record breaking temperatures exceeding 40 degrees for the first time ever. It’s important that everyone understands the urgency of the climate emergency and what actions we can all take to reduce emissions and make a difference.
With average UK household energy bills skyrocketing we also have a cost of living crisis. In 2018 nearly one in ten (over 5,000) households in Chesterfield were in fuel poverty. These are households who cannot afford to heat their homes properly and therefore suffer disproportionately from ill health (and conversely because the properties are generally poorly insulated will suffer from over-heating effects in heat waves). With fuel costs set to more than double this Autumn (even with a price freeze) compared to last year, even more households will be driven into fuel poverty. We need people to stay warm for the sake of their health.
If you are worried about your energy bills, call 0800 677 1332 for free impartial advice from The Warmer Derby and Derbyshire service. This service is run by the charity, the Marches Energy Agency charity, in partnership with Citizen’s Advice Mid Mercia and the Local Authority Energy Partnership (LAEP) which includes all Derbyshire councils. Find out if you are eligible for financial help with money off energy bills or a home visit for more advice.
Citizens Advice also have a useful website on help to pay your energy bills.
You can call them for free Mon-Fr 9am to 2pm on 0808-2787843 and they have a drop-in on Wednesdays from 9.30am-1.30pm (note the opening times on their website are not correct). See Citizens Advice Chesterfield
Did you know?
- Heating is the biggest part of a typical energy bill.
- It’s better to turn off the heating when not in the house than to leave the heating on low all day.
- Switching a light on and off is better than leaving it on.
- Home heating accounts for more than a quarter of Chesterfield’s carbon emissions.
Start here (simple, low cost things)
Turn down the thermostat by 1 degree, put on a jumper and, if it feels ok, turn it down 1 more degree but PLEASE STAY WARM. You can save up to £145 per year for every degree turned down.
Draught proofing is also one of the cheapest and most effective ways to save energy and money. You can save up to £125 per year. Click here for more information from Energy Saving Trust
Other potential annual cost savings are shown below based on Oct 2022 energy prices for an average house:
Other simple energy saving measures you could try:
- Use a timer on your thermostat to schedule heating. It wastes energy to heat an empty house!
- Warm the ‘core’ of the house only and keep unused rooms cooler by shutting the doors and turning the radiators off or low until warmth is needed
- Put up thick curtains or use thermal curtain linings, including over external doors
- Avoid long curtains which cover the radiators. Close all curtains at dusk
- Use cellular (thermal) blinds fitted close to the window as well as curtains
- Put reflector foil behind radiators on external walls to reflect warmth back into the room and fit a shelf over the radiator to divert rising heat from the window.
- Bleed your radiators and service your boiler for greater efficiency
- Lag hot water pipes. More information on insulating pipes and radiators here
- Reduce the flow temperature of your gas condensing boiler and save 6-8% on heating costs. More details on how to do this from the Heating Hub here
- Use LED light bulbs
- Switch appliances off at the plug when not using
- Have an external letter box rather than a hole in the door that lets heat escape
- Turn the oven off 5 mins before food is ready and just leave in for the final bit
- Fill any gaps in the freezer with cardboard boxes or newspaper
- Fit a water saving showerhead. Less hot water use means less energy use. Click here to order a free low-flow showerhead and other water saving devices from Severn Trent Water
Did you know?
- Heating is half the average energy bill
- Heat is lost through uninsulated walls, the roof, windows, doors, floors and gaps around windows and doors
- Some energy suppliers offer free insulation to eligible households
Next steps (things that cost more)
- Insulate your loft with 270 mm insulation (save up to £890/year for a detached house with no insulation). Visit Energy Saving Trust’s website here for more details
- Install thermostatic radiator valves and turn them up and down regularly as appropriate (save £55/year)
- Insulate ground level floors and fill gaps between floorboards using specialist sealant. More information on floor insulation here
- Get cavity walls insulated or solid walls externally insulated. More information on cavity wall insulation here and on solid wall insulation here
- Replace single glazed windows and doors with double or triple glazing. More information on insulating windows and doors here
- For more information on home insulation with advice from Chesterfield and Derbyshire home owners see our workshop on insulation here
Other ways to cut carbon (significant costs)
- Install solar panels to generate electricity (save £570/year) https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/advice/solar-panels/
- consider an air source heat pump for well insulated homes. For more information on air source heat pumps (ASHPs) with advice from Derbyshire home owners see our workshop on ASHPs here
Other useful energy saving sites
Energy Saving Trust Quick tips to save energy
Heat the human not the home – tips from Money Saving Expert on how to stay warm
Derbyshire County Council energy saving tips and advice
Derbyshire County Council advice on energy grants
Energy Saving Trust All your energy bill questions answered
Nesta’s Money Saving Boiler Challenge
T4 Sustainability Retrofit of industrial unit – has lots of useful advice that is applicable to a home as well as industrial units
Many thanks to the following who have provided suggestions or comments for this list of tips (in alphabetical order):
Karl Barrow, Peter Burgess-Allen, Tony Cooper, Darryl Cowley, Karl Deakin, Lisa Hopkinson, Cliff Lea, Nigel Timperley, Dawn Ward