Warm & Cosy

Tackling the energy efficiency of your home

Photo by Hayden Scott on Unsplash

Introduction
As the new decade gets under way the pressing urgency of the climate crisis is becoming more and more apparent and increasing numbers of people are looking for actions that they can take to contribute positively to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Addressing energy use in our homes is a good starting point. It is an uncomfortable fact that buildings are responsible for a sizeable proportion of UK CO2 emissions, both during construction and through their lifetime of occupation. Much of the UK housing stock was built before energy efficiency standards came into existence and as a result falls well below the modern standards of well-insulated homes. Consequently many of our homes are contributing more than we would like to the climate crisis and are costing us money in large energy bills. In the light of this, this year Laura Gerada Architects is introducing a new energy efficiency review as part of the Design Consultation Visit. This review will assist in assessing the current efficiency of the existing house and identifying improvements that could be made to increase the overall energy efficiency. This blog post explains the process in more detail.

Assessing the efficiency of the existing building fabric
Often the best time to implement energy saving measures is when you are considering undertaking building works, be it an extension or internal alterations. This makes the Design Consultation Visit (please see this blog post for further information about the DCV) an ideal forum for assessing the existing building and identifying measures that could be taken to improve the efficiency of the house overall as part of the works. Prior to your Design Consultation Visit (DCV) you will be sent a Whole House Energy Efficiency Checklist. This will enable you to reflect on and consider the existing energy efficiency of the various elements of your home. At the DCV we will discuss the checklist in-situ and look at improvement measures that could be made in tandem with your proposed home improvement works.

Sample from the Whole House Energy Efficiency Checklist, a primer document to be discussed as part of the Design Consultation Visit

Determining a strategy of energy efficiency improvement works
A fundamental aspect of deciding on a programme of energy efficiency works is determining the most cost-effective measures to undertake. For any given home there will be a number of different options for improving the energy efficiency and developing a strategy will require an analysis of the existing situation to determine an overall programme of improvements for your home. In an ideal world all houses would be fully thermally upgraded to achieve the highest energy efficiency standards, however it is unlikely that a whole house upgrade will be practically or economically feasible, instead the target will be to suggest an improvement strategy which will allow the house to be defined as ‘well-insulated’, that is meeting an EPC rating of C or higher[1].

Following the Design Consultation Visit and analysis of your Whole House Energy Efficiency Checklist a tailored strategy will be developed for you to consider along with the brief for your project. This will enable you to select energy efficiency improvement measures to implement alongside your other home improvement works.

Conclusion
Laura Gerada Architects’ new Whole House Energy Efficiency Checklist is to become an integral part of the Design Consultation Visit. The aim of this is to provide relevant information about energy efficiency improvements that can be made to your home alongside extension or alteration projects to ensure that you have the opportunity to upgrade the energy performance of your home, contributing positively to a reduction in carbon emissions, reducing bills and importantly keeping your home warm and cosy.

[1] As defined by Friends of the Earth in their ‘How Climate Friendly is Your Community?’ survey results: online https://friendsoftheearth.uk/climate-friendly-communities [Accessed 13-jan-20]


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