Easy-fit letter box draught excluder

Month: September 2014

SuperHomes September 2014 Open Days

Historic doorSuperHomes 2014 focuses on historic buildings

We’ve just been reading about the 2014 SuperHomes Open Days and were particularly thrilled to note the focus on historic properties this year.

Plenty of savvy householders retrofit energy efficiency measures on their properties, but there is an almost unspoken feeling that that kind of modification will wreck the integrity of an historic building. Can you imagine solar panels on the roof of a Tudor cottage or a wind turbine spinning away atop the Georgian rectory? In many ways why not? These buildings have – in some cases quite miraculously – survived into an age where such features are commonplace and that alone is part of their story and lifecycle, but planning law and considerations of visual appeal mean that energy efficiency can be considered inappropriate to old buildings and undertaken by stealth, where it’s undertaken at all. This is the ultimate irony as the majority of UK housing stock dates from a time when technologies were different, energy sources no cause for concern and cold and draughts a fact of life, so if any houses need work, it’s these ones.

Retrofit in historic buildings

It’s clear though from this SuperHomes article that retrofit energy efficiency work on historic buildings can be tremendously effective while doing nothing to detract from the building’s appeal and charm. The article lists numerous methods of saving and creating energy put in place in properties as special as a 1909 Arts & Crafts house but also as commonplace as a 1920s terraced house. The statistics for the levels of comfort in these houses are impressive as is the hard work and dedication of the homeowners involved. Although energy bill savings are in many cases achieved, this isn’t necessarily the top consideration.

Visit a SuperHome near you

This month there are 60 SuperHomes open to the public. To find one search the map on this page and see for yourself just what’s possible with an older house. Enjoy the character and architectural features of an older home without draughts whistling round your ankles or a five minute wait for hot water, and learn from the householders how to make historic properties sustainable to heat and to power. We have a couple of Ecoflaps to give away in return for a photo of a SuperHome with an Ecoflap in place!

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Zero Waste Week

Zero Waste Week

Have you heard of Zero Waste Week? This Guardian article gives you the background to what started out as a personal challenge on the back of the 2004 Boscastle flooding disaster but has become an annual phenomenon.

One More Thing

It’s an interesting article including some pretty shocking statistics on how we consume (eg “only 1% of the items we buy are still in use six months after they are bought“, the kind of figure that had us reviewing what we’d bought lately), but this bit jumped out at me:

After all, it has much more impact if every household and business reduces their waste by a tenth than one household who go to the nth degree.

This underpins Zero Waste Week’s 2014 challenge: One More Thing. Households and businesses pledge to do one more thing to reduce waste. This is a very important issue and echoes one of our principles which is that doing something rather than everything *is* okay. It’s a massively tall order for the average household or business to eradicate waste and consume only from sustainable sources, and most will be put off doing much at all if the message is put out there that it’s all or nothing. We know there are some amazingly driven and energetic people who do manage to achieve “the nth degree”, but most of us feel inadequate in the face of that and tempted to give up on the whole business.

It’s enormously important that we support households and businesses for what they do, not castigate them for what they don’t do.

Fit and Forget

I read elsewhere today that ‘fit and forget’ is the way forward for energy saving – hear hear. Reducing consumption of all types shouldn’t/doesn’t have to be a hair shirt crusade. It’s quite possible to fit all sorts of measures to your home to reduce energy consumption with no drop in comfort levels, just as it’s possible to reduce your food bill and increase sustainability with a little bit of planning and no deprivation.

Retrofit an EcoFlapYour One More Thing could be fitting an Ecoflap. It will cost you under £30, can be fitted in just a few minutes, and will work 24 hours a day to prevent draughts coming in through your letter box and bringing your hall temperature down. Your home will stay warmer and your thermostat won’t be convinced the house is colder than it really is and prompt the boiler to fire up.

You’ll save money, keep warm and forget all about your Ecoflap.

You’ll also be fulfilling the Zero Waste Week 2014 pledge, and that has to be worth a few minutes of anyone’s time.

Update: This now offline House Association Building and Maintenance article on Bicester’s new eco town makes some very good points about building in such a way that tenants don’t need to change their behaviour or learn how to use new devices, but will still get the benefits and be happy in their new houses.

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