Retrofitting / Energy
Saving Upgrades

The energy and cost of living crisis has highlighted structural issues within our housing stock that have for too long gone unaddressed.

Due to Britain’s predominantly old housing stock, households are struggling to heat their homes. Not only does this lead to physical and mental illness through exposure to leaky, damp, cold homes but energy inefficient homes make up 40% of the UK’s CO2 emissions, making them huge contributors to our ecological and climate crisis.  Crucially, research has shown that it is still “more cost and energy-effective to try and energy efficiently retrofit our homes – even the oldest, leakiest ones – than it is to knock them down and build new ones”.

Therefore, addressing our energy inefficient housing stock is clearly a social and environmental justice issue.

However, despite pressure from the public and  industry leaders, government initiative is failing to meet the immensity of the issue, but community-led initiative has the potential to bring the large scale change we wish to see. 

BHESCo are offering the opportunity for one neighbourhood in the city to be part of a demonstration project aiming to show how a street level, community-led energy efficiency and renewable energy installation drive could provide the scale and scope of whole house improvements that is so desperately needed across the UK.

Energy saving surveys

The Carbon Neural Communities programme will support and guide the winning street through a community energy saving and solar power installation programme. 

We will provide free whole house energy plans for a select number of archetypal households and evaluate the potential for solar power for every house in the area.

With the data collected from the energy surveys BHESCo will produce a retrofit plan for the whole neighbourhood, detailing which energy-saving measures will be most cost-effective.

A whole neighbourhood package of energy saving upgrades

When the houses on a street are very similar we can make conclusions about the best energy efficiency measures for all homes based on a survey of just a few archetypal properties.

This means we can then offer homeowners a package of common recommended works, with minor adjustments tailored to individual properties or preferences. The recommendations for each house will be individualised but based upon surveys of a selection of representative archetypal properties on the street.

Managing energy upgrades

Households will select the measures that they would like to install and BHESCo will tender the package of works to local installers. Once we have secured a cost-competitive price, households will make the final decision about the work they require.

BHESCo will then project manage the installation of work on behalf of participating households and review the work for quality insurance.

When it comes to the installation stage, works can be grouped together for efficiency as installers move easily between each home.

We aim for all the work to be completed simultaneously and expect to provide households additional savings through the bulk procurement of materials. This is why the project is a street level package and will be most effective with as many houses participating as possible.

Typical energy saving measures

Hot air rises, which means that in your home, it heads towards the roof. In homes that are not insulated, around 25% of all heat loss occurs through the roof. If you want to keep your home warm in the most cost effective way then loft insulation is one of the most important areas to consider.

The majority of heat loss occurs in buildings that have little or no wall insulation. In the worst instances this can account for 35% of heat loss in a property. The most effective type of wall insulation can depend on the amount of space available both inside and outside the building, as well as the budget of the property owner and the existing thermal efficiency of the property. The most common type of wall insulation is Cavity Wall Insulation (CWI) but Internal Wall Insulation and External Wall Insulation can also offer effective solutions where appropriate. 

Being able to effectively control your heating system can deliver tremendous cost-saving benefits to your home as well as providing adequate levels of warmth when required. The addition of a thermostat means heating can be set to deliver the temperature you require. Many modern thermostats can be pre-programmed to deliver heat at certain times of the day, and can be remotely controlled through a smart device that connects to your phone. Thermostatic Radiator Valves (TRVs) enable control of individual radiators, so heat is not wasted in unoccupied rooms. 

Windows and doors that do not have a tight seal will lose heat to outside of the home and let cold air in. Areas of draught can be quickly remedied through the addition of adhesive draught-proofing. Letter box brushes can be added to doors as well as thick draught-proof curtains.

Single glazed windows provide minimal thermal retention and can lose copious levels of heat to the outside. Replacing old single glazed windows with double or triple glazing alternatives will hold heat in your home and reduce noise pollution from outside, as well as preventing condensation inside the window pane.

Naturally, some measures will have a more significant impact on your home’s energy efficiency improvements than others.

However, these may also incur higher costs and larger levels of disruption. BHESCo’s ‘Pyramid of Energy Upgrades’ below graphically displays the relationship between these elements.

In terms of disruption, BHESCo will strive to minimise disruptions as much as possible as part of our project management.

We aim to achieve this through high-quality planning and by ensuring strong communication between contractors to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

A pyramid to help you understand and the cost, benefits, and potential disruption of different measures.
Average percentage heat loss from a standard uninsulated house