I want a warmer, greener home: where do I start?
Here’s some of the basics, with links to where you can find out more.
Starting with the basics
The Energy Saving Trust website is a great place to start for learning the basics. They have sections on:
- Reducing home heat loss – explaining the options for improving you insulation, dealing with leaky windows & doors, and draught proofing
- Heating your home – with info on heating and hot water, boilers, and thermostats & controls
- Generating renewable energy – covering solar PV, solar hot water, and other small-scale renewable options
- Buying energy efficient products – dealing with appliances and low energy lighting
Greening Steyning is planning on writing a series of more detailed articles over the coming months providing advice on specific aspects of home energy improvement. Keep an eye on this page for details.
Making a plan
You’ll want to get the greatest bang for your energy saving buck. So it makes sense to be strategic in making your home energy plan, and ask
- How energy efficient am I now?
- Where are my biggest energy losses occurring?
- What can I do that would be easy and cheap?
- What are the bigger steps I should be thinking about?
- How much will it all cost and should I tackle it in phases?
If you need help, there is a clever online tool that will do part of the job for you – the Warmer Sussex Plan Builder.
This is able to tap into the national EPC database so when you put in your address it can provide data on how energy efficiency your property is now. You say what your priorities are – cutting emissions, reducing bills, or both. Then you set your budget. Using these details, the Plan Builder calculates what improvements can be made according to your budget and priorities, and shows you how they influence your estimated fuel bills and the CO2 emissions saved.
Can I get a grant?
The Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme was launched in September 2020 and provided grants of up to £5000 for certain types of energy improvements, or up to £10,000 if you are receiving means tested benefits. It ran into trouble, however, due to bottlenecks in finding accredited installers who could navigate the paperwork and do the work done on time. The scheme was withdrawn in March 2021, with the vast majority of the budget unspent.
This article explains more about the Green Homes Grant and what went wrong. We’re all hoping that a better-designed replacement scheme will be announced soon.
Another grant you may be eligible for is the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. This covers a range of renewable heating technologies – heat pumps, solar hot water systems, and biomass boilers – and provides payments over 7 years to offset the initial installation cost. The scheme is due to end in March 2022. You can find out more here.
Where next from here?
If you’re ready to start looking for firms to contact, or need some professional help, here’s some suggestions.