This post was sent in by a client of Charlie Laing Ltd for use in this blog!
Can I turn the heating on yet?
The big debate we all have once the weather starts to turn. Woman says yes, man says “No, put a jumper on!” Are you recognising any of this?
Listening to the radio this week and hearing the main political parties discussing the price of gas and electricity, I was struck how little was being reported to turn the argument on its head and talk not about how we as a country cut the prices of fuel but about how we might get individuals to think about reducing their energy consumption or generating their own electricity.
Four years ago all of our friends thought we were mad when my husband and I moved with our three young children from a perfectly comfortable modern house into a large, insulation-free 1960s – ok, I’ll say it – dump. It had potential we said, which was true, and the views over the hills are amazing but when in November the temperatures dropped to minus 15 and our ancient oil boiler packed in, it was certainly no picnic!
Thermal vests and electric blankets were a la mode for us that first winter but they just didn’t do the job. There’s no doubt about it, being cold 24/7 certainly focuses the mind. It was then that we knew our development plans had to be focussed around something more than just a couple of great bathrooms and a funky kitchen. Insulating our house to the max, and heating our home efficiently became our new priority – and we spent the next 6 months researching and talking to everyone we could, to get a handle of what we should do. We ended up linking up our architect with our green experts to integrate the designs – and then got Charlie Laing Ltd involved to give cost management and project management support.
Twelve whole months of building works later the house is now unrecognisable (which is a good thing!)
Our home is now often mistaken for a new build – and it certainly feels like one!
We are now very much embracing the 21st century – our previously leaky walls now have a total of 200mm of internal and external insulation, our roof and loft are likewise insulated way beyond building regulations, and we have insulated floors too. Our windows are high performance double glazing and we’ve got an Air Source Heat Pump running the new under-floor heating as well as a couple of wood burning stoves. The unobtrusive photovoltaic array on our roof easily generates enough electricity to pay for almost 50% of our electricity bill.
Since we did all this our fuel bills have been cut by three quarters – which is great, but equally importantly our home is now comfortable – cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Sadly, not everyone is in a position to pull apart their home as we did, but with some modest changes most homes can be made more comfortable and energy efficient – what a shame our politicians don’t focus more of their efforts on investing in changing our nation’s relationship with energy usage and generation, and less on political bickering and point scoring.
We’ve still a long way to go to get the UK’s housing stock up to scratch and so far very little has been done to help home-owners and really start the much-needed green revolution. I for one really hope the fixed-priced energy debate results in a wider discussion of this area.
Have I turned the heating on yet?
No! My husband says not until November and now, that’s fine with me.