22nd June 2009

Subgroup on energy and buildings, including water

Starter notes by Edward Hill, Draft 2

Please email corrections and suggestions: edhill @

‘Experts agree that in order to stop Climaticide we are going to need an effort on the scale of World War 2 and not just for five years but probably for several decades’.
Pascala & Socolow have proposed that it will require 14 of their so-called ‘Stabilisation Wedges’ to stabilise CO2 at acceptable levels in the world by 2050. Examples of these reference units are the installation of 2 million 1 MW wind turbines, tripling the existing nuclear capacity or the halting of deforestation and planting of 300 million hectares with trees. Derived from The Complete Guide to Climate Change by Brian Dawson and Matt Spannagle.
Contraction & Convergence. The Contraction part of Contraction & Convergence concentrates on the total amount of Carbon being put into the world atmosphere. This lays down an annual fall of global emissions - how great that fall would be would depend on the final level of atmospheric carbon considered safe. The Convergence part lays down how the entitlements to emit carbon are distributed between the countries of the world…. Initial entitlements will converge towards equal per capita emissions across the planet. The year when entitlements reach equality would be subject to negotiation. …Once convergence had reached then all countries entitlements would continue to fall, that is to say contract.The per capita element risks giving an incentive to countries to increase their population to "earn" more entitlements. Hence there it's desirable to set maximum populations beyond which no further entitlements would be gained and indeed Global Commons Institute advocates this. WIK
46% of all U.K. energy is consumed in building energy use. Of this energy use 63% is domestic and 37% non-domestic. Of domestic energy use 63% is for space heating, 23% for heating water, 13% for lighting and 3% for cooking. ZC
There are some 25 million dwellings in Britain. Their condition varies, but there is widely thought to be a large backlog of outstanding repairs, with replacement of large sections of the stock being overdue. ZC
Most existing domestic buildings were constructed with little regard for energy conservation. There is consequently a large potential for improvement, but not at the current rate of replacement and renovation. At present, only 20,000 dwellings are being demolished and replaced per annum (0.08% of the stock), with a further 180,000 being built. ZC
Discussions of energy use often focus on embodied energy. Despite considerable debate, no clear conclusions have emerged. According to Constructing Excellence, refurbishment to high-efficiency standards has around one tenth of the carbon impact of new build. It is generally agreed however that the impact of embodied energy in demolition and replacement is greatly outweighed by the energy saved in use for efficient buildings. Whatever the conclusion, both refurbishment and new build must achieve a significantly higher standard than at present. There are substantial challenges for both. ZC
In non-domestic buildings energy use makes up a very low percentage of a company’s total expenditure. This is particularly true in commercial buildings, where the financial bottom line is of primary concern. The demand for more appliances and better cooling means that energy use in the commercial sector is growing faster than in any other. Air conditioning has become the norm for offices, and it is increasingly difficult to let
office space without it. Similar factors apply in the retail sector. In supermarkets, the competing demands of keeping chilled and frozen goods cold yet accessible, while
keeping customers comfortably warm, has led to high levels of energy consumption. ZC
C1. Personal Use of Energy at Home (With especial thanks to TK)
No Cost
1. Turn it off when not in use – lights, the TV, all appliances. Any equipment showing a red light is still on standby and using power. Standby power is also a significant consumer of energy. The Market Transformation Programme estimates that appliance standby power lies in the range of 5 to 30W, accounting for some 6 to 10% of annual household electricity demand. ZC
Get a mechanical door bell – thus avoiding the electricity that is used for the transformer in an electric one (which must have one of the worst standby to usage ratios of any electrical appliance found in the home) TTS
2. Turn down the central heating slightly - try just 1 to 2 degrees C 3. Fill your dish washer and washing machine with a full load and ‘run them overnight : the carbon intensity of electricity is lower then (and it is cheaper if you are Economy 7)’ TTS 4. Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need 5. Defrost your fridge/freezer regularly 6. Hang out the washing to dry rather than tumble drying it 7. Reduce heat loss- close doors and curtains
8. Heat just one room, and do not heat at night.
Spend to save
9. Draught proofing is of particular importance for older existing properties such as those in Westcombe Park. It has been shown ('The New Autonomous House' by Brenda and Robert Vale) that ventilation heat loss in poorly insulated houses can be 1/3 of their total heat loss, at one air change per hour. In many older properties the air change rate can be significantly higher than this, and ventilation heat losses can be in the same order of magnitude as fabric heat losses. So, although it is very important to try and insulate as much as possible, it also important, and usually much cheaper, to draughtproof windows, doors, letterboxes, floorboards, skirtings and keyholes, etc.. This can be taken further, by forming 'air locks' with porches, lobbies or unheated conservatories to create buffer spaces.
There is also a potentially significant problem with reducing air change rates in properties containing synthetic materials (eg carpet, furniture and paint etc, where there is a lot of off-gassing of formaldehyde and other unpleasant gasses. Indoor pollution levels in such properties can be significantly higher than outside and ventilation helps to reduce this. The answer is obvious, of course: choose paints and furnishings carefully. CC response
10. Fit energy saving light bulbs. New GU10 directional LED lights in kitchens. See GM 11. Install thermostatic valves on your radiators 12. Fit reflective material behind radiators on outside walls 13. Insulate your hot water tank including all the penetrations (where the pipes go in and out) – you can lose over 100 watts from these alone TTS 14. Improve attic insulation. Use wool-based insulation or the stuff made from plastic bottles, which has lower carbon footprint than the fiberglass stuff. GM 15. Improve wall insulation. Cavity wall insulation can cut annual heating costs by 15%. Check out grants available on 0800 512 012 GM
Most, if not all, Victorian houses have solid walls however. Insulation in these cases needs to be either by external cladding or through internal insulation 16. When replacing or fitting windows buy quality double glazed ones – consider triple glazed units TTS
17. Purchase ‘A’ rated appliances whenever possible
18. Buy non-battery operated torches
19. Buy A++ white goods when replacing them GM
20. Use aerating shower heads which are claimed to cut water and power use of the shower by 40% GM
21. Get an ‘Owl’ meter to monitor energy use all the time. Cost is £35 at Better model is Efergy Elite Wireless Energy Monitor. GM
22. Worn-out sliding sash windows can be replaced with double-glazed, draughtproofed ones GM Consider triple-glazing
23. When replastering external walls use thermal plasterboard. GM
24. Ground source heat pumps require a trench or borehole in the garden, and can repay themselves quite quickly if you are replacing an electric, oil, LPG or coal heating system.
25. Air source heat pumps are worth exploring. ‘ I think air to air (air source) pumps might be worth exploring for people who don’t want the aggravation of digging trenches or boreholes for ground source. There is a good case study in Islington which I think was Dimplex’ LBG
26. When we move house, whilst we might
take some measures to better insulate our new home,
its size, structure and the materials with which it is built
will determine the cost of heating it throughout the time
we live there. ZC
27. Green roofs are probably a small issue because they will not be suitable for retrofitting to many Victorian houses, but they might be viable for back extensions or other flat roofs within the area. They deliver against a number of objectives though - insulation, water conservation (in respect of drainage issues as they slow down or reduce water going into drains) and biodiversity. I think a paragraph or two might be worthwhile. LBG
Go the extra mile
26. Home Heating – consider all options if you are installing a new home heating system. For some homes a wood-burning stove can replace central heating GM
If you have open fires and these do not have chimney dampers (to stop you precious hot air leaving via the chimney when the fire is not in use) consider fitting a woodstove – these will, typically, provide three times as much useful heat from a given amount of fuel as the open fire and they can be shut off when not in use so little heat is lost up the chimney. TTS
26. A new condensing boiler costing £2500 can save a quarter of heating bills. 60% of CO2 emissions from your home are down to your boiler GM 27. Build a green home if you are building. This costs only 5% more. MF
C2 Local Government initiatives to save energy
1. Visit for details of all grants. 0800 512012 GM
2. Loft Insulation pack from the London Mayor. 0845 070 5059 GM
3. Loft Insulation to those over 70 or on benefits: 0800 389 7286 (London) 0800 096 9966 (National) GM
4. London Borough of Greenwich Initiatives
LB Greenwich support and promotes the standard national and regional initiatives, and have pursued some other promotional ideas, as summarised below:
5. London Borough of Greenwich and Private Sector Housing
• Home Improvement Team give grants and interest free loans to vulnerable home owners to bring their homes up to decent homes standard. The type of work, include central heating systems, replacement of old/inefficient boilers, replacing windows etc. Applicants must be in receipt of Income Support, Council Tax Benefit or Guaranteed Pension Credit and someone living in the household must be aged 60 or over or have a disability.
2008/2009 – 100 homes made decent – Total Spend £680,000
2009/10 budget is £800,000
• Coldbuster Grants – South East London Thermal Comfort in Private Sector Housing – funded through the South East London Housing Partnership. Grants available for insulation and heating improvement for people on certain benefits and own their own home or rent it for a private landlord. Grants are available up to £5,000
2008/2009 – 144 Grants – Total Spend £139,952
2009-2011 – budget of £600,000
• Warm Front Grants/Flue Campaign – a Government-funded scheme (not administered by the Council) which provides grants for insulation and heating improvements for people who are on certain benefits and own their own home or rent it from a private landlord. Grants are available up to £3,500.
2007/2008 - 477 Grants – Total Spend £402,410
• The Home Improvement Team are extending the range of grants and loans given to private landlords who will be bringing empty properties back in to use. Landlords will be required to bring the properties up to the decent homes standard, so they will also be carrying works that improve energy efficiency/thermal comfort.
• The Handyperson Service helps older and disabled residents both in the private and public sector with a range of measures which contribute to improving energy efficiency, including adjusting timers and programmers on central heating systems, inspecting boilers that have broken down (referring for replacement if necessary), installing draught excluders etc.
2008/2009 - 2 handypersons - visited 655 residents per year
- 1,000 Energy Efficiency Light bulbs installed
6. LB Greenwich Promotional Activity:
• Eco-house – energy efficiency and carbon reduction information and advice. Over 220 people visited the house since the opening in November 2008 to May 2009
• Attending annual events across the borough e.g. Great Get Togethers, providing advice and information.
• Tenants Handbook contains energy efficiency tips and every new tenant receives two energy efficiency light bulbs.
2008/2009 - 3,700 energy efficiency light bulbs were distributed
• Greenwich Web site - energy efficiency tips and advice
• Thermographic Survey – this is used at events to raise awareness with the public but has also been used to identify poorly insulated properties to bring targeted funding (£50,000) in from the Thames Gateway London Partnership to provide insulation measures to residents in the Thames Gateway area of the borough.
7. L.B. Greenwich and Adaptation.
‘Adaptation to inevitable climate change is going to be of importance too. Localised flooding cause by especially heavy rainfall (which is one of the climate change patterns most likely to affect our area) is something that we need to address. There are various ways of doing this. Green roofs is one, "sustainable urban drainage schemes" (SUDS) is another. On a local level this essentially means not allowing or encouraging people to concrete over their gardens so that rainwater finds ways other than drains and gulleys. Hotter dryer summers (ha ha!) are also expected so there may be issues here ranging from materials used in building, to types of flowers/plants bought to natural ventilation and shading versus air conditioning’. LBG
8. Eastleigh Borough Council initiatives
Eastleigh Borough Council says that even hard-to-reach communities can be persuaded to change their behaviour by door-knocking and personal explanations. LB
C3. National government initiatives to save energy:
Visit for details of all grants. 0800 512012 GM
Home insulation by British Gas 0845 971 7731
Warm Front insulation scheme for certain low-income families 0800 316 2805 GM
‘A national programme to insulate homes would be the quickest win. It would cost £6 billion a year for 5 years to insulate all the houses in the UK’. DH
D1. Personal initiatives to use energy that produces a smaller carbon footprint
1. Choose a ‘green’ energy supplier such as Good Energy or Ecotricity. Signing up to these is the simplest way of encouraging greener energy generation, and it may not cost you anything. Good Energy have some films on their web site about the next step to communicate how important small generation is and how we can make it happen. Through the stories of our Home Generators, the films provide the facts about planning permission, grants and installation that people need to achieve their small generator projects.
‘We have a partnership with Good Energy where we get a small
commission from anyone who signs up via our website’. TM response
‘The green energy supplier unfortunately doesn't make as much of a cut in your carbon emissions as you might expect, because all the companies earn money from selling the certificates they get for using green energy to other companies, which essentially means that, at least for this proportion, they can buy their way out of the need to do it themselves and therefore in an overall system sense, you are not adding significantly to the pot of energy produced renewably rather than through fossil fuels. It is also a complex area and the companies concerned are at each other's throats which hardly helps. It would be nice if green energy was what you expect, which is a promise that every unit of power you use from a supplier is a unit switched from non-renewable to low-carbon sources - but that might then all be too expensive ever to take off... either way, its complex.’ EM
2. Solar. There are two main sorts of solar panels: solar photovoltaic generating electricity, and solar thermal generating direct heating of buildings or water.
3. “Solar photovoltaic panels supply 90% of all the electricity used by my family. A PV system in Germany costs about half the UK price, and the Germans have 300 times as many PV systems as we do. GM
Photovoltaic Solar Panels. These cost around £1000 for 330 watt panels, and a similar amount for fitting. They need batteries (around £600 for gel batteries, but not required if your panels are connected to the electricity grid TTS) and a battery charger, and also a
power inverter (around £900) if you want to convert the low voltage output to mains voltage (250 volt) electricity. They produce minimal electricity in winter. WK
4. Solar Thermal for hot water. Solar thermal competes for space on buildings with BIPV. A hybrid system could potentially reduce this to improve overall efficiency. However, this scenario assumes an efficiency of 5 times that of the BIPV (which is estimated to have a system efficiency of around 12% by 2020 compared with a solar thermal efficiency of around 60%). This means that it’s more productive to heat water with dedicated solar thermal equipment than it is to use PVs for electrical heating (enhanced with heat pumps). In 2027 solar thermal is projected to provide Britain with 28 TWh of heat.
Hot water solar panels. These are easier to install if your system is a conventional one of a hot water cylinder in an airing cupboard, rather than a combination boiler. There are two types: • Flat metal plate with a coper pipe that is connected directly to the hot water cylinder • Evacuated tube needing a heat exchanger - more expensive, but better on a cloudy day - three hours of summer sunshine can give a full hot water cylinder at 60 deg. WK
All solar thermal systems require a hot water storage tank and heat exchange system CC
We are launching The Solar Hot Water Club. Aim is to sign up 100 households to solar hot water panels, we help with grants and planning. We will select one supplier TM
5. Wood burning stoves. Wood burning stoves are also worth considering. They release CO2 when the wood is burnt, but only the same amount as was taken up by the trees when they were growing, so wood-burning stoves are carbon-neutral. WK They can use a lot of wood in the Winter if used for both heating and hot water- perhaps 10 large bags per week .
6. Ground source heat pumps. The process consumes energy (usually electrical) to run the compressor and pump, but far less than is delivered as usable heat. The coefficient of performance (CoP) describes the efficiency of the process. The working figure used for this evaluation is 3.1. That is, for every kWh of electricity consumed, 3.1 kWh of useful heat is delivered. This technology is assessed as having a potential of 160 TWh annually. ZC
CoPs of between 3 & 4 are achievable if you have underfloor heating (which operates at a lower temperature than conventional radiators. If you are retrofitting a conventional radiator system, then it would be prudent to assume a delivered CoP of 2.5. TTS
7. There are also air to air heat pumps and air to water if you happen to have a pond or river available. CC
8 Water aerators. An article in the Guardian identified a source of water restrictors for showers (not electric ones) which is currently free - you don't even have to pay postage. You fit it just before the head. This is the type of restrictor which aerates the water to restrict the flow. Should save water and heating fuel. You can order one on line at: TW TT
D2. Community / Developer initiatives to use energy that produces a smaller carbon footprint
1. The Totnes Renewable Energy Supply Company This innovative cooperative Company will be devoted to the profitable local development of renewable energy for the benefit of Totnes and Environs TT
2. Partnership with Good Energy. For every one in Totnes who changes over Good Energy will make a donation to TT Totnes. TT TT
3. Energy Fairs. TTLewes is holding its second energy Fair this year and its first Open Eco Houses event. I would encourage all TT's to think about setting up similar events. OVESCo ( and Lewes District Council have assisted in making these events happen. TT Brighton & Hove are also thinking of doing their first Energy Fair in October 2009 and OVESCo is helping them with installers and information on how to set up their own events. Beware of cowboy installers, and set up energy companie like OVESCo. TTL
4. Energy Services Companies. The Ouse Valley Energy Services Company was formed in 2007 by a group of Lewes residents to deliver a range of energy saving, renewable energy and related projects to the residents of the Ouse Valley & East Sussex . It has come from the Transition Town process, and has been founded by members of the TTL Energy Group.
We are assisting the residents of the Lewes District Council area to reduce their carbon emissions through a range of different measures. OVESCo has aleady run one round of the renewables grant scheme for Lewes District Council. With the help of the LDC grants over 50 solar thermal panels were fitted November 07 - April 08. A further 50 solar thermal panel/wood stoves were fitted during April 08 - early 09. The project has helped reduce local carbon emissions, reliance on fossil fuels and reduce the effects of local fuel poverty. TTL
‘In Transition Westcombe we should find a way to deliver this complexity to people locally, which is the energy services idea. I wonder if there are existing energy service companies around south east London, because if we could get enough people signed up, then we would build the business case for them to come in an intensive way. Alternatively, we could do some door to door work, offering information or hire a thermal imaging camera to bring it to life for people’. EM
5. Combined Heat and Power for newbuild.
The future UK energy regime envisaged in this scenario will no longer generate electricity thermally without also taking the opportunity to use the waste heat that is produced. In CHP, heat and power generation efficiencies can reach up to 80%.
The fuels used will be a mixture of biomass – for example, woodchip and wood-pellet boilers, along with municipal waste and hydrogen. Where possible (particularly in new developments) this will be installed in district-heating systems due to the greater efficiency of larger plant. In addition, such installations are more. ZC
Most efficient is to generate both heat and power locally in combined heat and power plants. Bedzed in Beddington is example of a small house cluster, Woking of a larger scheme. Wood chip technology possible if Britain were to grow more trees. Wood in chip form rather than logs means that there can be an automated feeding system for the burner. PM
6. “Much of Transition Westcombe consists of Victorian houses which are uneconomic to upgrade to modern standards of carbon neutral efficiency. In the long run it is more sensible to knock them down and rebuild with houses joined together using single CHP units and oriented to the south. They could be made from factory-produced timber frame and insulated timber panels, with triple glazing. But totally sealed houses can suffer from stale air.” PM
“This isn’t going to happen” CC response
7. Retrofitting is more important for UK than newbuild. Strong regulation is required + incentives + lots of education MF
8. Energy Efficiency audits. They have been done in TT Totnes recently WK
D3. Local government initiatives to use energy that produces a smaller carbon footprint.:
Eastleigh Borough Council has erected a 5KW wind turbine in a very prominent place to make people more aware. Again, it has made a big display panel to show the energy saved by a ground source heat pump. LB
Eastleigh Borough Council believes that even hard-to-reach communities can be persuaded to change their behaviour by door-knocking and personal explanations. LB
London Borough of Greenwich will shortly be publicising and consulting on a climate change strategy. This will be a comprehensive document with actions to tackle all aspects of climate change in Greenwich. It will deal with mitigation of future emissions across all sectors and will also deal with adaptation measures for inevitable climate change. LBG
D4. National government initiatives to generate energy in ways which are more carbon neutral:
Visit for details of all grants. 0800 512012
Low Carbon Buildings Programme. Grant of £2500 for solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, ground source and air source heat pumps. 0800 915 0990
D5. National government policy arguments as to how to generate energy in ways which are more carbon neutral:
Buildings account for 46% of the UK energy bill, amounting now to 744TWh ZC
1. Power from nuclear? There is still wide disagreement, so I have quoted at length:
“We are going to need every sort of energy, and nuclear will be part of the solution” RW.
“In the 1950s and 60s, nuclear energy was seen as the natural and inevitable successor to coal and oil. However, in the following decades support gradually waned, both in government and business sectors and among the general public. But as part of the
industrialised nations’ collective concerns about energy security and climate change, nuclear fission technology is back on Britain’s policy agenda. It is accepted that nuclear electricity is a low carbon energy source. It is also a relatively well-understood
class of technologies. In this scenario, existing plants will continue to generate until the end of their designed operational lives. But nuclear capacity has unique political and technological brittleness in the face of potential instabilities in the 21st century. Nuclear power poses many uncertainties, of which the least obvious is energy security.
The conventional case against nuclear power is wellknown.
• There is a finite, if low, risk of very serious accidents:
• Costs of permanent disposal are unknown and might be very high.
• There are doubts about the continued availability of uranium, especially given a worldwide nuclear renaissance
• There has been a long history of massive subsidies and cost-overruns
• Lead-times for planning, construction and commissioning can be very long.
• Water consumption is high per unit of output, a potentially serious matter in a world of uncertain weather
These are serious drawbacks. Nevertheless they could potentially be overcome given the political will, or reluctantly tolerated in a world desperate for energy. There are, however, important further reasons why new nuclear is a questionable option. The twin threats of sophisticated ideological terrorism and recreational malice can no longer be ignored, given the terrorist atrocities of 2001 and 2005 and the widespread targeting by hackers of all categories of systems. There are dozens, perhaps even hundreds or thousands of people who are prepared to spend years plotting a major accident in one way or another, often through inside knowledge. Such risks will become even greater if there is a continued failure to address the issue of global equity, or if international order is not maintained in the transition from high carbon technologies. A specific danger is that, following a serious incident, it may be necessary to shut down a large proportion of the network’s nuclear capacity, leaving a critical gap in supply. ZC
Nuclear Energy poses considerable political risks – ones that could destroy the delicately structured international order required to steer humanity through the climate change crisis. In addition to the possibility of accidents and sabotage, there is a continuing prospect of diversion of radioactive materials for a variety of malign purposes, ranging from actual nuclear weapons, to dirty bombs and radioactive contamination of water supplies. These risks are more or less proportional to the scale of nuclear activity. In many countries controls are already inadequate, with a correspondingly greater likelihood of diversion of fissile material. Further risks of this kind would be incurred if plutonium generating breeder reactors were built in response to a shortage of high grade uranium ores. The principal objection to nuclear energy, then, is its brittle quality. It contains hard to assess but potentially serious risks that should only be taken if there is absolutely no alternative. It is believed that there are viable alternatives. Renewables are, by and large, the opposite of brittle: they are robust and adaptable, decentralised, and easily reversed if required. Britain would make a more positive contribution to World energy security – and thereby, to its own – by taking a lead in the development and export of localscale renewables and expertise, rather than of nuclear engineering”. ZC
“A new nuclear power programme could divert public funding away from more sustainable technologies that will be needed regardless, hampering other long term efforts to move to a low carbon economy with diverse energy sources... there is no justification for bringing forward plans for a new nuclear power programme, at this time... any such proposal would be incompatible with the Government’s own Sustainable Development Strategy.” SDC
Nuclear fission, the splitting of a heavy atom’s nucleus, releases great amounts of energy. For example the energy it releases is 10 million times greater than is released by the burning of an atom of fossil fuel. Besides it would take many hectares of land covered with solar collectors, wind farms or hydro-electric dams to equal this power.
No greenhouse gases are released by nuclear power plants. According to some, even when accounting for the fossil fuel used in mining uranium, processing it, building and decommissioning of the nuclear plant, the picture remains good from this perspective. Less than one-hundredth of carbon dioxide gas is produced by nuclear power plants compared to coal or gas-fired energy plants. This means nuclear energy also emits less greenhouse gas than renewable energy sources such as hydro, wind, solar and biomass. Uranium is obtained from open-cut mines and is not expensive to mine. World reserves are estimated to last anywhere between 6 to 150 years, to even hundreds of centuries, depending on who is the commentator, and depending on the type of reactor they have in mind. AES
‘France has showed it can be done’. PM
2. Wind Power.
Britain has a large resource of both especially of offshore wind – the figures quoted for this are for up to 3,212 TWh/year…. Onshore wind energy in 2027 could provide 24 TWh and offshore 450 TWh. It has a good match to the demand profile, in that wind energy is greater in winter than summer, when demand is 30% higher. Use of the existing National Grid will smooth out variability from wind power sources if they are geographically widespread – increasing its potential for energy market penetration. Wind power is also well suited to distributed generation, since turbines can be sited on- and offshore all around the country. As wind speeds are greater offshore, this is where the majority of turbines will be sited. This also ameliorates some of the objections to on-shore turbine siting.
Wind turbines are now a mature technology, and power outputs are steadily increasing. Denmark in particular relies on a large proportion of its energy coming from wind. The Danish aim is for 35% of their electricity to come from offshore wind by 2015, and 50% by 2030. They also have a thriving industry in building turbines, both for their own needs and for export. ZC
The UK now has more off—shore wind turbines than Denmark. CC
UK Wind Speed Database “Before installing a small wind system it is essential to have a good knowledge of wind speed at the site. The Department of Trade and Industry wind speed database contains estimates of the annual mean wind speed throughout the UK. This may give an indication of average wind speed in different parts of the country. However it is very unlikely to give an accurate idea of wind speed at a proposed site for a small wind system, particularly in
urban or built up areas -if wind speed at the site is not in the range at which the small wind system capacity is rated, then the system may deliver less electricity than expected.” LS
Can be a 40% loss of power while being transported on the electricity grid from coast where wind farms need to be located. PM However this is not a problem unique to windfarms. CC
3. Photovoltaics (PVs) are more efficient in summer when more sunlight is available. This matches the demand profile well, due to the reduced wind and wave resource in summer. ZC
The maximum practicable for PV. This represents the power that could in principle be
generated if every available surface (excluding doors, windows, overhangs, etc.) of all buildings in Britain, of every orientation, were fitted with PV panels. In 2025 it will be 266 TWh
The figures for the technical potential for PV, that is to say the incorporation of BIPV into all newly newly constructed buildings are 7.2 TWh/yr; by 2025 it is 37 TWh/yr.
The figures for the market potential for PV, which combines the technical potential with the figures for the maximum practicable, but with cost constraints is 32.5 GWh/yr by 2010 and 170 GWh/yr by 2025. ZC
There is a need for large investment if PVs are to compete on the build & operating costs. PM
4. Tidal power such as the Severn Barrage? Tidal energy, unlike wind and PV, is very predictable and regular. The 11% of Britain’s electricity that this technology can supply is equivalent to the predictable and continuous base load currently provided by nuclear
power stations. When sites are spread around the coast, the intermittency of generation can be considerably smoothed out. One technology in particular, tidal barrages, poses
considerable impact on the local environment. ZC
5. Wave power.
It is considered that wave power has been somewhat neglected up to now. This is perhaps surprising, as the greater density of water when compared with air should
lead to higher energy density. Although there are signs that interest is growing, there are still significant challenges facing wave power. It can be difficult to convert a slow, oscillating, choppy wave motion into electricity. There are also issues with there being too much energy available during stormy conditions. This and the corrosiveness of salt water make the sea a challenging environment for engineers. However, there is now an experimental Wave Hub planned off Cornwall and a commercial wave farm
using Archimedes Wave Swing technology planned for Scotland, following testing at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC). The seas west of Scotland and Cornwall are the best locations in terms of available power and in order to meet the target this scenario sets for 2027 the as-yet substantially untapped resource will need to be developed rapidly. For the purposes of this report, we have assumed an ambitious provision of 250 TWh out of a technical potential of 600-750 TWh annually. ZC
6. Carbon Capture & Storage technology.
Combined Heat and Power and Coal Power Generation are both areas where carbon capture and storage (CCS) could be considered. CCS could make power generation carbon negative in CHP, meaning that it would remove CO2 from the atmosphere to be sequestered. However, CCS has not yet been carried out on a commercial scale in Britain, and as such more research is needed. ZC
1. Portobello TT : Mass insulation programme
Mass insulation programme: 1000-2000 households would have their houses insulated to reduce their emissions by 20%, saving money and energy.
High spec. insulation pilot: helping to move technology forward: 20 buildings would be insulated using up-to-the-minute technology to reduce their emissions by 70%, with solar thermal heating fitted where possible.
2. West Kirby TT : Solar thermal
Following the example set by TT Totnes, we'll organise several solar installers to quote on three properties that represent the different challenges that a solar installer will face, giving us a representative sample pricing structure. We will then chose the the best value, and negotiate a discount. Individuals in the scheme will get them around to quote and install a system. We'll work with the Energy Savings Trust to help guide you through the grant application process.
Tring TT
With a grant from Tring Town Council we have a box that you can borrow from F W Metcalfe & Sons in the High Street
It contains a complete set of all available low energy bulbs for you to try out, plus two energy meters to measure appliance energy use in your home
3. Berkhamsted TT. We are looking to install microgeneration technologies on some of Berkhamsted's public buildings
4. Chepstow TT
Chepstow will shortly be the UK’s most insulated town saving residents £100’s off their heating bills. Every household in the town is being visited by members of the Transition Chepstow initiative to discuss the benefits of loft and cavity wall insulation and to encourage residents to insulate their homes. In Transition Chepstow’s last phase of promoting insulation the take up rate increased insulation by 92% in the Garden City area. These visits will be replicated throughout Chepstow in the coming months with the aim of making Chepstow the UK’s most insulated town.
Tim Melville, Transition Chepstow’s Energy Group co-ordinator noted that ‘It’s really a question of why we can’t afford not to insulate our homes to counter rising fuel costs and reduce carbon emissions. An average household heating bill could hit £1,200 this year and conserving energy is the easiest way to keep bills down.’
Without sufficient loft insulation the average house you can loose up to £1 in every £4 spent on bills. According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST) there are still up to 1.5 million UK homes with no loft insulation and almost 13 million with too little – that’s 1 in 2 homes with no or too little loft insulation. The EST advises that insulating your loft to the correct thickness of 270mm could actually make a saving of up to 15% off your heating costs, which for the typical household could be as much as £155 (£180 based on £1,200) a year.
To insulate your loft, if you are over 60 or are in receipt of qualifying benefits2 insulation is its free. For all others loft insulation is heavily subsidized and costs £2001 for a typical 3 bed semi - saving the cost of insulation in just over a year and saving energy costs every year. Cavity wall insulation is also free for the over 60’s and those on qualifying benefits2 and costs £2001 with an average saving of £1001 per year.
Qualifying benefits for free installation: Income support; Housing Benefit; Council Tax Benefit; Income Based Jobseekers Allowance; Attendance Allowance; Disabled Living Allowance; Disablement Pension (which must include constant attendance allowance); War Disablement Pension (which must include the mobility supplement or constant attendance allowance); State Pension Credit; Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit (where household income is less than £15,592; all households where one or more members is 70+. CTT
5. Lewes TT
The Ouse Valley Energy Services Company was formed in 2007 by a group of Lewes residents to deliver a range of energy saving, renewable energy and related projects to the residents of the Ouse Valley & East Sussex . It has come from the Transition Town process, and has been founded by members of the TTL Energy Group.
We are assisting the residents of the Lewes District Council area to reduce their carbon emissions through a range of different measures. OVESCo has aleady run one round of the renewables grant scheme for Lewes District Council. With the help of the LDC grants over 50 solar thermal panels were fitted November 07 - April 08. A further 50 solar thermal panel/wood stoves were fitted during April 08 - early 09. The project has helped reduce local carbon emissions, reliance on fossil fuels and reduce the effects of local fuel poverty.
OVESCo is now seeking funding to back future schemes. Please contact OVESCo should you be in a position to fund future projects.
Surrey Hills Wood Fuel (SHWF) is a not for profit organisation established to promote the production and use of wood fuel in and around the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
If you are interested in a great value, sustainable source of energy 'that grows on trees’ in the Surrey area, then this is the website for you. Happy browsing
Big Lottery Fund: Community Sustainable Energy Programme The Community Sustainable Energy Programme will provide £8 million to community-based organisations for the installation of microgeneration technologies, such as solar panels or wind turbines and energy efficiency measures including loft and cavity wall insulation. It will also provide £1 million for project development grants that will help community organisations establish if a microgeneration and energy efficiency installation will work for them. LS
Transition Westcombe overlaps the Westcombe Park Conservation Area and is an area of considerable architectural and environmental value. Predominantly residential in character it contains a rich variety of good quality buildings including a Grade II* listed Georgian mansion, early 19th century cottages, late 19th century and early 20th century speculative housing, as well as inter-war infill housing. There are 91 locally listed buildings within the area as well as 19 tree preservation orders which encompass a substantial number of trees. Although plate glass sashes are the most common window form, window surrounds can be red brick, stucco, dressed limestone or terracotta. The Edwardian terraces and semi-detached houses follow a more typical patter, with architectural detailing generally less diverse than the Victorian predecessors, although in terms of fenestration style there is more variation: sashes or casements with mullions and transomes, with the upper light often subdivided into a tracery of small rectangular
or square panes. WPCA
The following is a suggested list of the principal energy-saving strategies for home-owners and tenants living in pre-cavity-wall houses with sash windows such as those in Westcombe Park:
1. Loft insulation: ‘Number one priority. Cheap and effective. Many different types of insulation available ranging from Rockwool type ones to sheep’s wool or insulation material made entirely of recycled newspaper (called Warmcel, made by Excel,; . The last two are most ecological (and probably more pleasant to use as Rockwool can cause irritation’ LBG
2. Draught-proofing of doors & windows. ‘This can be pretty easy and cost varies according to what method you use. The cheaper options tend to be more intrusive on the
eye. Draught proofing existing sash windows might not be as crazy in cost terms as you think if the claims of Quattro seal (and others no doubt) of 3 year payback are true. LBG
3. Draught-proofing of floor boards & chimneys ‘can be more costly, often messy and time-consuming’ LBG
4. Solar hot water can be plumbed to a twin-coil water cylinder, the second coil plumbed to a condensing boiler. WB
5. Install a condensing boiler when replacing the boiler. Condensing boilers make imminent sense if you are about to replace a boiler. But if your existing one is relatively new then it's an extravagance. LBG
6. Double-glazing of sash windows. My experience is that to replace wooden sash windows with double glazed wood involves replacing the whole window box and sashes in hardwood because of the extra weight. EH
‘Double glazing isn't a very cost effective way of reducing carbon. Usually there will be several reasons for wanting to do it...reducing draughts, reducing noise and improving insulation. Not worth it just for the insulation. As you will know in many of the properties in Westcombe it will be very expensive because off the shelf uPVC types will not be possible’. LBG
With thanks to these sources:
AES Alternate Energy Sources. /
CC Chris Coates, Transition Westcombe
CT The Carbon Trust, a government-funded independent company, helps businesses and the public sector to cut carbon emissions
CTT Chepstow TT website May 2009
DH Dirk Hazell, Chief Executive, Environmental Services Association ‘Thinking outside the Box: Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change’ Conference 30th April 2009
DT Daniel Turner, Carbon Disclosure Project ‘Thinking outside the Box: Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change’ Conference 30th April 2009
EG Electricity Grids TTA website
EH Edward Hill from Transition Westcombe
EM Ed Mayo from Transition Westcombe, response
EP Earthpill Earthpill allows people with energy monitors to upload their readings into a free online database so that people without energy monitors can find out where they are using electricity.
EST: 21 Dartmouth Street London SW1H 9BP Local energy saving advice centres 0800 512 012 Energy Saving Trust 020 7222 0101 “We are a non-profit organisation that provides free impartial advice tailored to suit you. Our advice can help you save money and fight climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions from your home.” Includes info on: generating your own energy, home improvements, reducing carbon footprint, etc. ALSO “Energy saving grants and offers: There is financial help available if you're planning to make energy saving improvements to your home. The Government, energy suppliers and local authorities all provide grants to help you implement energy saving measures in your home.” LS
GM Guardian Money feature section ‘Green your home – when it’s worth it and when it’s not.’ 9th May 2009
LB Cllr Louise Bloom, Eastleigh Borough Council ‘Thinking outside the Box: Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change’ Conference 30th April 2009
LC Low Carbon Buildings Programme “Welcome to the website for the Low Carbon Buildings Programme (LCBP) Phase 1. The programme provides grants for the installation of microgeneration technologies in a range of buildings to include households, community organisations, public, private and the non-profit sectors. Householders can apply for grants of up to £2,500 per property towards the cost of installing a certified product by a certified installer. To find out more about the programme, the technologies that are funded and how to apply, please use the links on the left-hand side. “ LS
LBG Peter Savage, Greener Greenwich Coordinator, London Borough of Greenwich
LS Liverpool South Transition Town, website May 2009: Energy sub-group - Directory of Resources
MF Martin Ferstl, General Manager, Strategy, Shell Shipping ‘Thinking outside the Box: Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change’ Conference 30th April 2009
NS Niclas Svenningsen, Sustainable Buildings and Construction Initiative, UNEP ‘Thinking outside the Box: Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change’ Conference 30th April 2009
PM Peter Marrenson (Transition Westcombe resident) conversation with Dave Sharman and Edward Hill. 15th April 2009
PO Portugal is aiming for 60% energy from renewables by 2020
RW Dr Robert Watson, Chief Scientific Adviser, DEFRA ‘Thinking outside the Box: Borderless Strategies to Combat Climate Change’ Conference 30th April 2009
SDC Sustainable Development Commission
SE Sustainable Energy - without the hot air by David JC McKay Available to read online or download free at "This remarkable book from an expert in the energy field sets out, with enormous clarity and objectivity, the various alternative low-carbon pathways that are open to us. Policy makers, researchers, private sector decision makers, and NGOs, all will benefit from these words of wisdom." Sir David King FRS, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK Government, 2000-08
TK Transition Kinsale. Powerdown Targets. From website, April 2009
TLCT The Low Carbon Partnership: “If you work in the public or non-profit sectors, represent a charity or a community group, you’ve come to the right place. TLCP helps deliver projects supported by 50% funding from the government's Low Carbon Buildings: Phase 2 grant scheme. TLCP offers customers high specification solar PV, wind turbine and solar thermal technologies.”
TM Transition Maidenhead response
TT Transition Totnes Energy Projects. From website, April 2009
TTA Transition Taunton From Website May 2009
TTL Transition Town Lewes
TTS Transition Town Sevenoaks. Ian Smith response
TTW Transition Tunbridge Wells From website May 2009
TW Transition Westcombe
WB Technical Sales at Worcester Bosch
WIK Wikipedia June 2009
WK West Kirby Transition Town, website May 2009
WPCA Westcombe Park Conservation Area Zero Carbon Britain – alternative energy strategy for the UK Full report (PDF)

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