Technical

There is a wealth of information available about home energy efficiency measures. This page summarises some of the measures that are likely to be necessary for your home, and points to further more detailed information.

Retrofit

General questions about retrofit and the whole-house approach.

I have an EPC for my property. Can’t I just follow its recommendations?
What is the difference between retrofit and adding insulation?
What if my house is listed or in a conservation area?

Repair and maintain

Simply maintaining your home is the first step to increase both your own comfort and the fuel efficiency of the building, as it allows the building to work as effectively as possible. For instance, rotten windows will be letting draughts in and heat out, whilst cracks in the guttering or render may contribute to damp, which in turn makes a home harder to heat to a comfortable temperature.

Maintenance makes your home ‘retrofit ready’ and should always be done before undertaking larger measures.

Insulate

The inclusion of the correct form of insulation is likely to be the single most important measure in reducing your home’s energy consumption.

Most UK homes now have loft insulation, and cavity wall insulation if the home has cavity walls. Additional insulation needs to be carefully selected for the construction and particular features of your property, and installed with proper consideration for ventilation.

How do I know what are the right insulation products to use for my home?

Ventilate

When insulation is added to roofs, walls and floors, care needs to be taken to ensure that there is adequate ventilation. Poor ventilation is likely to result in condensation, which can lead to damp, mould and failure of the insulation. ‘Interstitial condensation’, ie unseen condensation underneath wall insulation is a particular problem when the wrong insulation is used together with inadequate ventilation. Hence the slogan ‘insulate tight, ventilate right’.

Your Retrofit Plan will avoid these risks by specifying the right insulation and ventilation for your particular home.

What is controlled ventilation? Can’t I just open my window?
Airtightness

Heat

Unless your current heating system is near the end of its life, decisions about installing a new low-carbon heating system should be taken after repairs, insulation and ventilation have been addressed. This is because if these efficiency measures have been taken effectively, much less energy will be needed to keep your property warm.

Your Retrofit Plan will make recommendations about the most suitable low-carbon heating system, which will depend on your property, its size and age, and how much outside space you have.

Ground or air source heat pumps using renewable electricity are currently the most efficient low-carbon option. This is because they can generate over three times as much heat energy as they consume. Installation can be costly: the pumps cost more than a standard gas boiler and existing central heating systems may need adaptation to the lower water temperature of heat pumps. Until 2025 £5,000 of the cost is likely to be covered by the government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme.

Heat pumps are, on their own, rarely suitable for homes that are less well-insulated. Hybrid systems, which use heat from a pump and from another source, such as a biomass boiler or electrical immersion heater, or a standalone biomass system may be more appropriate for these properties.

Generate

Many people are chosing to generate their own electricity, usually with solar panels. In recent years the price of panels has dropped dramatically, and the bulk of the cost of installation is now labour and scaffolding rather than the panels themselves.

A typical 12 panel 4kWp installation can cost as little as £4,000, and depending on orientation of the roof will generate between 3 and 4 MWh per year, some of which can be sold back to the grid.

Bruton and Castle Cary Town Councils have teamed up with installer IDDEA as part of the Solar Streets initiative. £50 will be donated to a community initiative for every installation.