Taking action on energy

‘Building energy assessments need to be turned into action to reduce energy bills and carbon footprints.  Here are some of the key considerations, sequencing and planning issues involved’

Key considerations

David Dodge / Green Energy Futures
  • Have you done an energy assessment?
  • This will help you prioritise what you need to do and what you need to seek funding for.
  • Do you have the right permissions?
  • You need to ensure you are engaging with the building owners and key decision makers and get their permission for the works.
  • Have you done all the “low and zero cost” improvements?
  • There are lots of low or zero cost improvements that relate to behaviours around energy use and small changes. Everyone should be considering these actions before looking to fund bigger improvements.
  • Have you considered maintenance first?
  • Good maintenance of homes/buildings is the main way to increase both comfort and efficiency of the building, as it allows the building to work as effectively as possible.

Do the low and zero cost improvements first

Marcela Gara / Resource Media

These are the kind of improvements that everyone should be doing and relate to the first two steps in the energy hierarchy above.

Retrofitting our buildings to reduce energy use and make them more efficient isn’t just about doing the big high-cost measures. There are a number of low and zero cost measures that you could be done.

  • Insulation and draught proofing – eg: fit heavy curtains, fit draught proofing brushes and seals around windows, doors and between floor boards, fit secondary glazing…
  • Space and water heating – eg: install a central heating programmer and thermostat, learn how to use heating controls, install and adjust Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs), make sure the heating is turned off at night and when building is not occupied, insulate your hot water tank, ensure radiators aren’t covered…
  • Lighting – eg: get energy-saving light bulbs, switch off lights when not in use, maximise natural light, consider motion sensors and dimmer switched…
  • Appliances – eg: Make sure to buy highly rated energy efficient appliances, defrost the freezer regularly, only boil as much water as you need in the kettle, don’t leave appliances on standby – switch them off at the plug…etc…

Planning a project

Ajit Singh, Nishkam Centre

Taking action on the findings of an energy assessment requires careful planning and involving the right people.  

Many projects will involve substantial fund-raising efforts