How solid wall insulation cut my energy bills to a fraction of the UK average
Posted by Eric Blakeley on 27 February 2013 at 9:10 am
My house is mid-terrace with three bedrooms and is south facing. It was built in 1920. Our solid walls were exterior insulated under a government grant scheme for the over 70s three years ago. The insulation is 50mm Phenolic foam, rendered then painted.
Electricity consumed from 9/11/2012 to 3/1/2013: 195kWh. Gas consumed during the same period: 47kWh. My energy bill has not been reduced to Passivhaus standards but is somewhere in between.The main difference is the noticeable retention of heat, especially on a sunny day because I'm south facing.
The point I'm trying to make is that we should not just be talking about the production of energy but also its conservation; they are both equally important. The Energy Saving Trust says you could save up to £490 per annum with solid wall insulation; insulation requires little or no maintenance, it's a no-brainer long-term investment.
British houses are notoriously wasteful with reference to energy use. A glance I took at house letting ads showed most had an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C, D or E. Construction methods have changed marginally over the last 150 years: the building industry gives scant priority to energy conservation - a view reflected by the political establishment. It is not difficult - or prohibitively expensive - to construct 'zero' energy buildings. See the Guardian's recent article on Passivhaus building.
The majority of houses in the UK are of solid wall construction: highly inefficient in relation to energy use. Cavity wall is marginally better. The potential for energy saving both individually and nationally is enormous but inexplicably there seems little political or industrial will to address the issue.
Solid wall insulation does not qualify for the Green Deal, but the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which runs alongside the Green Deal, exists to help with more costly measures such as solid wall insulation.
About the author: Eric is a retired engineer with a strong interest in making his home energy efficient.
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