Another offshoot of the LEAF funding was that we were able to use our Home Energy Masterplan tool do some detailed analysis for social housing providers. As our in-house software allos us to model occupant use (as opposed to rdSAP which is used to create Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) for existing dwellings and uses default usage patterns), we could calculate the paybacks on a range of low energy retro-fit measures based on the usage patterns of the current occupants (which tended to be significantly different to those used by rdSAP!).
As well as working on LEAF projects we’ve also done some interesting analysis work for home owners up and down the country. Almost every Home Energy Masterplan we create reinforces our belief that every house really is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to low energy domestic retro-fit. Listed below are a few notable pieces of analysis we’ve done over the last 6 months.
- Since the 1st August changes in the government’s Feed in Tariff (FIT) for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems we’ve been modelling the financial payback of installations using each of the three new generation rates (7.1p / 14p / 16p). While we are seeing an increase in the payback period of installations due to the reduced FIT rates, the drop in installation prices means that for many clients PV is still a viable option.
- We’ve analysed a couple of properties where new programmable range cookers have been installed. Unlike traditional range cookers (which remain on throughout the heating season and therefore constantly burn fuel, and money!) these can be programmed to turn on and off as desired. We have now developed our software to be able to model range cookers with a variety of control devices, including:
- A separate space heating burner and cooker
- Remotely controlled burners
- Burners which can be programmed to follow a heating regime
One of the main challenges with range burners has previously been working out the proportion of energy used for space heating and cooking. We can now do this with a greater level of accuracy and flexibility.
- Many of the properties we’ve analysed have shown the importance of zoning (heating different parts of a property at different times and to different temperatures) and how this can greatly reduce fuel bills. Particular examples where we were able to model significant savings include a derelict hotel which was to be refurbished and used as a community centre, offices and accommodation, a Quaker meeting house which is also used by sports clubs, and even a monastery on the Isle of Wight!
We continually update our Home Energy Masterplan service in order to keep up to date with technology, government policy and fuel prices. Almost every property we analyse throws up new questions and ideas about the way in which we use energy in our homes and these lessons are integrated back into our work to help us improve. We strongly believe that there is no other product on the market which provides the same level of detailed analysis that Home Energy Masterplan can offer, and look forward to helping more people make their homes warmer, greener and cheaper to run as we approach this winter.