Energy and insulation

Solar glazing
Passive solar glazing combined with
photo voltaic panels
Energy use is the biggest contributor to many of the world's environmental problems, particularly global warming, acid rain and ozone depletion. Over half of the CO2 produced in the UK results from energy used in buildings.

Efficient use of energy can significantly reduce fuel bills and is kinder to the environment.

Permitted rates of heat transfer in new buildings through lofts, walls and floors have been decreasing over the last few years and this trend will probably continue. Good building practice, however, should aim for the lowest values possible.

Energy savings can be achieved by incorporating better insulation into the building, reducing heat losses due to draughts, and installing an efficient central heating system.
Floor cavity
Cellulose insprayed into cavity. Made from
80% recycled newspaper

Loft Insulation: Current building regulations require loft insulation in most new buildings to have a thickness of at least 250mm (10 inches) with the roofspace above ventilated on each side.

Cavity wall insulation: Existing cavity walls can be filled with mineral wool which does not contain harmful gases.

Floor insulation: A 150mm depth of mineral fibre insulation between floor joists will reduce heat loss through timber floors, and 100mm of non-CFC foamed polystyrene - placed between the over-site concrete and floor screed will provide effective insulation for solid floors.

Other methods used to insulate a building include draught proofing windows and doors etc., lagging hot water tanks and pipes, and fitting porches to outside doors. Some means of ventilation will always be required. The installation of trickle ventilators or humidity controlled fans should achieve sufficient ventilation.

Double glazing: Building regulations require all replacement windows (with certain exceptions for historic buildings) to be provided with low-emissivity glass with an air gap of 16mm. Low-emissivity glass reflects heat back into the building whilst allowing solar energy to pass through.

Replacing an old boiler
with an energy
efficient model could save
up to 32% on energy bills

Central heating: Choose the central heating system carefully as this has considerable impact on the total use of energy in a building. Using gas for heating produces less CO2 than burning coal and oil to generate electricity. The installation of an efficient gas boiler could result in significant long term energy and cost savings.

Solar Energy: Solar water heaters are already cost effective in many applications. Photovoltaic panels, that convert sunlight into electricity, are expected to come down in price in the future, and will result in long term savings on heating bills. (Contact the Council's Planning Section before installing such appliances, however, as there may be restrictions on design and location) .

A range of useful leaflets on energy efficiency and fuel saving measures is available from the Energy Advice Centre. (see contact's list) .

Water Conservation:
Water can be conserved by the installation of water efficient taps, WC's, and showers. In addition, rain water can be used for flushing toilets, cleaning vehicles and irrigating gardens.

Appliances: 'A' rated energy efficient domestic appliances including ovens, fridges, freezers, microwaves and lighting can now be purchased that consume significantly lower amounts of energy and reduce energy bills.

Renewable Energy: You can now buy electricity generated from renewable sources (Hydro, Wind, Solar) and in so doing significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of energy use.

Roof Shingles
Photo Voltaic Roof Shingles: Solar Century Ltd

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