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Taking action to improve energy refurbishment of flats

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    Laurence Budge

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    There is another type of flat that is very inefficient and problematic for tenants. Built sometime in the 1990s, they have no gas supply and storage heaters as main heating. Frequently single glazed, with internal bathrooms and kitchens open to the living area and without clothes drying facilities, they are often under-heated and have mold. They are often occupied by individuals and families on benefit who have no understanding of how storage heaters should be used because they have never been instructed. They are also often on an E7 tariff but using mostly over -priced day time electricity resulting in fuel debt. Alternatively, the storage heaters have been removed but E7 plus prepayment tariff is still being used.

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      David Weatherall

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      Yes I fully agree with the concerns you raise, and your comments point at the solutions we need, which are easy to state but hard to deliver in practice: new, cheaper heating solutions for currently expensively electrically heated flats – gas boilers or (preferably) district heating; more modern fan-assisted storage heaters where electric heating is the only option; better advice to householders on how to use electric heating systems. In terms of the first of these options, the freehold/leasehold issues may be a barrier to installing necessary heating infrastructure in the communal areas of flats and is another reason why we need to get to grips with the legal issue.

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    James Semple

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    I live in a 1980s block such as Laurence describes, and they are a real pain to live in sustainably. I managed to arrange an ECO grant for cavity insulation which was a bureaucratic nightmare, but have not yet found a grant for insulating an exposed ground floor over the car park.. The freeholder agreed as long as it cost nothing and two thirds of residents approved. Poor air quality is a hidden danger, as I discuss in my blog.

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    David Weatherall

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    James – it would be very useful to discuss your experiences. Could you let me know how to contact you – perhaps via the contact page at http://futureclimate.org.uk/contact-2/

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