…or rather, historic houses: between 2009 and 2014 we embarked on a complete eco-renovation of our house – a Regency-era listed steading in Highland Perthshire. We took it back to the stonework, insulated it throughout and installed a ground-source heat pump (GSHP), biomass stove and solar thermal panels. It wasn’t cheap (our initial budget rapidly became a rounding error) but we now have a 270m2 (floor area of heated spaces), 200-year-old farmhouse that is both warm and comfortable – winning UK Renovation of the Year in 2014 was just a nice piece of validation for our hard work.
So, with now nearly a decade’s hindsight, what difference did it make?
Continue reading Heat Pumps and History
The UK government’s announcement that it will be funding heat pump installations is counterproductive and will likely prove toxic to our transition to a carbon-neutral economy.
If we take the government’s fund at face value, the promised £490M is sufficient to provide grants of £5,000 to 98,000 homes: a drop in the ocean compared to the 27.8M or so households in the UK (the actual number of discrete properties will of course be lower, as 14.8% of the population live in flats). But to offer to even partially fund heat pump installations without first tackling the issues of effective insulation and the cost of resizing of domestic heating systems needed to make effective use of heat pumps, is a recipe for disaster, huge ongoing costs and ineffective outcomes.
Continue reading Hot Air versus Heat Pumps
For all the publicity that the ‘sexy’ side of climate change mitigation gets – wind, wave and solar power or the shift to electric vehicles – all of which are necessary and laudable, the biggest difference that we can make is to reduce our demand for energy in the first place. Continue reading Easy Gains: Removing VAT on Retrofit Energy-Saving