Easy-fit letter box draught excluder

Month: October 2016

Minimum Energy Performance Standard

What is the Minimum Energy Performance Standard (MEPS)?

Minimum Energy Performance Standard – not only a mouthful but set to be a headache too. MEPS is the aspect of the 2011 Energy Act intended to improve the energy efficiency of buildings in the private rented sector, both residential and non-residential. The minimum standard proposed is band E, as assessed by the Energy Performance Certificate of the property. The act set a deadline of April 2018 for these improvements to be made in England and Wales for new rental agreements, and suddenly that’s right around the corner. At the moment the regulations don’t apply to existing tenancies.

Reaching the Minimum Energy Performance Standard

minimum energy performance standard

Hereford Archives, a passivhaus non-residential building

There are a variety of ways depending on the state of the building and the stage of the building. Retrofit and best practice in maintenance will make a difference, as will a fabric first or even Passivhaus approach to new build. It’s very easy to focus on new build at the expense of retrofit, especially as the standard of new housing in the UK is woeful and it’s simpler to set out a clear standard for new builds, which can factor them in to financial and logistical planning, than it is for retrofit of existing housing stock of massively varying size, age, design and quality.

According to an article from IRT, 3 ways to maximise your portfolio energy performance (now no longer online), in London the new legislation will affect one in three buildings. The article goes on to reveal that most buildings do not, in practice, go on to perform as well as they should on paper, to some extent making a mockery of legislation:

Change of usage, extensions, refurbishments, dilapidations, cowboy buildings, adhoc maintenance, all contribute to a portfolio dataset that is far from perfect. Add in trying to meet legislative compliance on a shoestring budget and the whole thing goes pear-shaped very quickly.

Enforcing MEPS

Interestingly, the IRT article points out that banks can review commercial mortgages every two years, and they would be within their rights to pull the plug on arrangements covering a building that didn’t meet regulations or did so only on paper and could be proven not to meet the standards in reality. We’ve read in several articles that the legislation will be so overwhelming that it’s unlikely to be enforced to the letter and could become in effect voluntary unless strict adherence becomes unavoidable.

Ultimately this is likely to become a very sore point between potential tenants and landlords of existing low energy efficiency stock. Already it can feel that the landlords hold all the cards (if you’ve had any involvement with young adult offspring trying to rent a flat it’s definitely a landlord’s – and an agent’s – market: expensive, demoralising and undermining) and low enforcement risks amplifying that effect hugely as substandard privately-rented property becomes the preserve of those on the lowest incomes, while landlords can charge a premium for freshly retrofitted, MEPS-meeting properties.

Ethical landlords with a genuine interest in running their buildings to optimum energy efficiency may find they already meet MEPS, or can do with relatively minor improvements, and benefit alongside their tenants from a well-maintained portfolio and a happy and healthy tenant-landlord relationship. This a goal for everyone in the sector to aim for.

Monitoring energy is not saving energy

Monitoring energy vs taking real steps

This section has focussed before on monitoring energy and the distinction between knowing (or thinking you know) how much energy you’re using, and taking real, measurable steps to reduce that energy consumption in a range of ways, eg thermostat control, insulation, lowere energy appliances and domestic habits. This article from last Saturday’s Guardian and the letter it generated in response make this point perfectly.

From the article:

studies show they cut energy consumption by 3% or less

From the letter:

This device provides us with a conversation piece and not much else.

Very little change in habits

The article covers all sorts of reasons why smart meters are not nearly as smart as the energy companies and the government would like to think – not least because later models render earlier obsolete, you may be faced with having to start all over again if you switch energy companies and the cost of installation vastly outweighs the cost savings – but mainly because consumers with these meters installed are showing very little change in habits.

Monitoring energy is potentially an extremely useful element in managing the home energy economy. No-one is suggesting we blunder around in ignorance of the costs of our energy or the power required by our various appliances. The problem is that from the consumer’s perspective, installation of a smart meter is interesting and diverting in the short term, strokes the part of the brain that allows people to feel they’re ‘doing their bit’ and being energy aware, but in reality does nothing more than simply monitoring energy which in itself does nothing to to reduce consumptiom.

Old-fashioned energy saving

monitoring energy

This door has a letter box draught excluder and a draughtbusting curtain

Energy companies may well be better off giving their customers old-fashioned energy saving measures such as curtains over the door, letter box and pet door draught excluders, sausages along the bottom of the door and foil behind the radiator.

Some of those measures will be harder to quantify than others, but no-one can argue that they’re effective and less prone to malfunction.

So far, smart meters have done more for the energy companies than the consumer, bringing down meter reading costs and billing errors, all costly issues for the energy companies to deal with. Energy monitoring and energy saving are two different and distinct things, and shouldn’t be conflated.


Draughtproof pet door: The Petflap

Draughtproof pet door

We’ve been asked more times than we can remember whether we do a draughtproof pet door, and we always had to answer ‘not yet’, but now the people who brought you the Ecoflap letter box draught excluder have developed the draught-resistant, rattle-free Petflap pet door. Read more on our Petflap site.

Using the same design principles as the Ecoflap, using any airflow to sit more tightly shut aganst its frame rather than flapping and blowing in the breeze, the Petway is an attractive animal-friendly design that will contribute to your home’s energy economy and comfort.

Simple to fit, easy to clean

Small and quiet enough not to intimidate a kitten, big enough for a terrier, the Petflap is set to be a tremendously popular addition to the homes of the UK’s pet lovers. Affordable, simple to fit (view fitting instructions here) and easy to clean, the Petflap addresses the concerns of most cat- and dog-loving homeowners, but there’s no reason why your house rabbit, rat, chinchilla or micro-pig can’t be trained to use it. We have the facility too to create bespoke size and material pet doors, so please get in touch if your needs are less mainstream than the standard Petflap.

Like an Ecoflap but your pet goes through it, not your post

The Petflap will retail for £69 (inc VAT and delivery) and is delivered next day if you order before 3pm Monday-Friday. Orders placed over the weekend are despatched on Monday for delivery on Tuesday. As always we’ll be on hand to answer questions and advise on any fitting queries. It’s very much like buying an Ecoflap, only your pet goes through it, not your post.

Here’s a first look at the Petflap, the British-designed, UK-made revolutionary pet door. Please note it does have a lock, though this isn’t present in the photographs.

If you haven’t yet bought an Ecoflap, why not buy the two together and draughtproof your home for the winter? And if you really want to treat your front door, fit a draughtproof stainless steel Letterplate, also available through our shop, made in the UK and guaranteed for 10 years.



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