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Posts Tagged ‘Heating’

Energy Efficiency,Energy Efficient Buildings,Heating,Non-Residential Buildings

We are all donkeys

On average, we are all 18 per cent wealthier in real terms than we were at the start of the century. On average, we are achieving this increase in affluence while using 14 per cent less energy than in 2000.

One way this turnaround has been achieved is by treating us all like donkeys.

There are three ways to get donkeys to do things. You wave a carrot in front of their noses. You bash them on the rump with a stick. And most importantly, around their ears, you rattle away on a tambourine. All to get the donkey’s attention.

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Domestic Energy Consumption,Energy Saving,Heating

“Dragon-breath and snow-melt”: New article on know-how for keeping warm

What skills and know-how do people use to keep warm at home?  Where does this knowledge come from?  These questions are addressed in a new article by ACE researcher Sarah Royston, published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science.

Keeping warm at home means managing heat flows – making sure that heat is where it is needed, when it is needed.  In doing this, we interact with a wide range of objects, appliances and building features, from long-johns to loft insulation, and from hair-dryers to heat pumps.

Managing heat flows is something we do almost all the time, often without thinking much about it (by opening a window, or putting on a jumper, for example).  But many of the things we do to keep warm involve some kind of practical knowledge or know-how.  For example, we might know how to adjust the settings on a storage heater, programme the central heating,  or light a fire.  Equally we might know how to find and block draughts, or fashion an improvised bed-warmer from an old sock filled with rice.

This article explores the many kinds of know-how involved in keeping homes warm, and how these are learned through experience.  The senses are important here – for example, we might use visible “dragon breath” as an indicator of cold.  The article also looks at how changes such as moving house or having children can affect know-how, and reflects on what these ideas might mean for research, policy and practice on sustainable energy use.

You can read the full article (currently free) here.

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DECC,Heating,Renewable Heat Incentive

DECC: Consultations on the Renewable Heat Incentive

ACE has submitted written responses to two Department for Energy and Climate Change consultations on the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

The consultation on proposals for a domestic scheme sets out DECC’s proposals for longer term support to householders who install renewable heating kit such as biomass boilers, heat pumps and solar thermal into homes. The RHI for householders is aimed at any householder looking to replace their current heating with renewable heating kit or householders who have installed any such technology since 15 July 2009. It is intended that householders will get paid for each kWh of heat they would be expected produce under the current proposals.

The consultation on Renewable Heat Incentive: expanding the non-domestic scheme sets out DECC’s broad proposals to expand the existing scheme.

Read ACE’s consultation responses here:

Domestic RHI: ACE consultation response

Non-Domestic RHI: ACE consultation response

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Buildings,Heating,Housing

CLG Inquiry: Beyond Decent Homes

ACE have submitted a written response to the “Communities and Local Government Committee Inquiry “Beyond Decent Homes: decent housing standards post-2010”

In Summary

While the Decent Homes Programme has delivered significant improvements in social housing, the thermal comfort element of the current standard is woefully inadequate to provide affordable warmth. ACE therefore believes that, post-2010, a ‘Decent Homes Plus’ target should be set using a much more ambitious thermal comfort criterion. We endorse the recommendation of both the EFRA Select Committee and the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group that the Government should assess the cost and feasibility of introducing a SAP 81 standard as the basis of an improved thermal comfort level for all social housing.

It is anticipated that 95% of the social housing stock will be ‘decent’ by 2010. However, the remaining 5% should be tackled as a matter of priority – and Government should ensure sufficient levels of funding to enable this to happen.

Following the abolition by CLG of the national targets for private sector homes occupied by vulnerable households, we are concerned that there is now no means of enforcing the Decent Homes Standard in the private sector. Government should give urgent consideration to regulating the private rented sector to prevent landlords from renting out F- or G-rated properties. In the short term, we make a number of suggestions below of ways in which local authorities can bring about better energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector through more effective use of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System.

Click here for the full response

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Heating,Warmer Houses Healthier Homes

Review of Energy Efficiency and Health Initiatives

Review of Energy Efficiency and Health Initiatives

(funded by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes’ Health Sub-group)

This review detailed the results of a study into best practice amongst existing energy efficiency and health initiatives. From a broad ranging review of publicly available information, and with advice from the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes’ Health Sub-group, 29 practical schemes were identified which were likely to yield useful information for the project. These ranged from small scale local pilots to large schemes operating in several different areas of the UK. The vast majority were led by local authorities. Schemes were found in all four nations of the UK, the majority concentrated around conurbations.

A methodology for review of the schemes was developed, based on a working hypothesis of best practice. The methodology included detailed telephone interviews with scheme managers, referrers and key health sector workers. Although the response from the health sector was less comprehensive than from within the energy efficiency community, the number of health sector representatives who agreed to participate was sufficiently high to gain a good insight into the key success factors from the health point of view.

research report was published electronically, which was followed by a best practice website called Warmer Houses, Healthier Homes. The website is a best practice guide based on the research, and additionally includes a number of short scheme case studies.

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Fuel Poverty,health,Heating

HECAction Health Challenge Evaluation

(funded by the Energy Saving Trust)

The HECAction Programme provided funding to local authorities to implement schemes linked to the Home Energy Conservation Act. ACE’s Research Team were involved in the ongoing development of the programme; selection of schemes to receive funding; monitoring the implementation of schemes; provision of advice to local authorities on how to bid for money from the programme, and assessment and dissemination of lessons learned from the schemes implemented.

Evaluating the EST’s HECAction Health Challenge Scheme 2001/2002

The final round of HECAction funding awarded grants to schemes in the field of “Health and Energy Efficiency”. The aim was to fund projects that proposed partnerships with the health sector to help improve the energy efficiency in homes where the health of householders was being adversely affected by cold and damp conditions. ACE was contracted to evaluate the 22 health schemes, running until March 2003. The aim of the evaluation was to pick out the best practice and lessons learned at each stage of setting up a scheme of this nature.

The stages covered were:

  • Engaging Health Professionals
  • Setting up the referral network
  • Reaching the target client group
  • Installing measures
  • Maintaining the partnership
  • Monitoring results

full evaluation report has been produced. It brings together all the lessons learned from these schemes and proposes best practice guidelines for other local authorities and health sector participants to follow.

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Hard-to-Treat Homes,Heating,Housing

RSLs implementing HECA

Registered Social Landlords Implementing the Home Energy Conservation Act

(funded by Housing Corporation.)
Although obligations under HECA fall on local authorities, Registered Social Landlords can also play a significant role in implementation of HECA. In doing so RSLs can also increase the comfort and health of some of their most vulnerable tenants. This work was based partly on the experience of the Research Team in implementing the Energy Saving Trust’s HECAction programme, with ten case studies of schemes implemented under HECAction.

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