Home efficiency FAQs
We are in a cost-of-living crisis and much of the inflation we're experiencing is due to increased energy costs (here in the UK and globally). The reason for this is reliance on global energy markets and imported fossil fuels (especially gas and oil).
The Energy Price Guarantee protects consumers reducing the unit cost of electricity and gas so that a typical dual fuel direct debit bill for January 2023 remains at £2,500 and will be increased from April 2023 to a new level of £3000, with cost-of-living payments of £900 for those on means tested benefits, £300 to pensioners, £150 to those on disability benefits and doubling support for those on LPG or heating oil.
Further information can be found on the BBC website.
Why energy efficiency?
There are two primary reasons you should make your home more efficient:
- Reduce carbon emissions: Shropshire homes were responsible for 493 ktCO2 greenhouse gas emissions in 2019; the second highest emitting sector.
- Reduce your bills: The average UK bill was £1,400 in October 2021, experts have predicted this could hit £3,850 by January 2023 (a £2,450 jump!).
Making your home efficient is not only good for the pocket, but good for the planet too. Easy-win measures make your home more affordable to run; giving you more disposable income for essentials like food and your mortgage or rent.
What are the easy wins?
Please see Shropshire’s Affordable warmth and energy efficiency pages for what you can do to address the cost-of-living crisis. Although longer term measures require some level of capital investment, there are still a lot of things you can do in the short term to save yourself money; Smart Choices , MEA top 10 tips, and the Keep Shropshire Warm guide to the energy crisis. Please also see Energy Saving Trust Quick Tips , Energy Saving Trust and CSE (Centre for Sustainable Energy).
How efficient is my home?
Your energy performance Certificate: EPC (energy performance certificate) is searchable by postcode and provides the carbon performance and running costs for any given property. Its recommendation report lists and prioritises efficiency, next steps, estimated capital cost and expected savings and payback period. An EPC is required to be made available by law for all properties when constructed new, sold and for rented accommodation.
What are the next steps?
Using these two new tools you can find out exactly what efficiency and renewable energy options that are good for the pocket and good for the planet:
The tools help you to create a “wish list” and estimate the capital cost for installing appropriate measures and schedule works in a common-sense and affordable fashion. For further advice please contact Keep Shropshire Warm.
Do I need an assessment?
A Retrofit Assessment (RFA) is a detailed report investigating the current energy efficiency of your home, undertaken by a qualified retrofit professional. It is more in-depth and accurate than an ordinary energy performance certificate (EPC). Results of the survey are used to produce recommendations on the measures that would be suitable for your home so that energy consumption, carbon emissions, and costs, can potentially be reduced. The RFA typically takes up to 2 hours to complete. The assessor will need to take several photos of your home, both inside and outside. A Retrofit Assessor will look at the current energy use of the property, the general conditions of the property (for example highlighting any issues that could affect measures being put in place), and the occupancy of the property to identify patterns of energy usage.
Once you have a retrofit assessment, you can engage a Retrofit Co-ordinator who will work with you to help plan the works required.
For more information and to find an accredited Retrofit Assessor or Co-ordinator – visit: https://www.trustmark.org.uk/
What is renewable energy?
Renewable energy is energy that is effectively limitless in that it is sourced from the sun and wind and in some instances from waterpower. Other sources classed as renewable include bioenergy and energy from waste. Please see this article from Which? For a good description on renewable energy.
Energy security, cost and carbon footprint depend on how we use and source our energy. All three can be addressed by deploying local home-grown renewable energy here in the UK. Making wise long-term investments by generating our own electricity with renewables (solar, wind and hydro) will lower electric bills nationally.
What about solar panels?
You can find support for Solar Panels here: If you are looking to install solar panels, you may wish to consider a smart export guarantee (SEG), a type of specially designed tariff that reimburses you for energy that you export to the National Grid. For more information visit the Energy Saving Trust website or speak to your energy supplier.
If for whatever reason your home isn’t suitable for solar panels, you can still benefit by using a green tariff which ensures any electricity you purchase is generated by renewable energy (please see below: Where can I buy affordable green energy?).
What about energy storage?
Adding battery storage or an electric car allows you to not only to store your own electricity (allowing you to charge up on cheap night rates or solar) but you can also benefit from being more resilient in the case of a power outage. It is around 3x cheaper to use electric at night and 4x cheaper per mile to run an electric car than a diesel or petrol.
Further information from the Centre for Sustainable Energy on battery storage for homes.
Another cost-effective way to store energy using thermal accumulator (an efficient hot water tank); using cheap tariff electric at night or surplus energy from your solar panels.
Further information on hot water and thermal storage. Fact sheet on energy storage.
Is green (zero carbon) energy affordable?
There are now several options to choose from if you wish to have a green (zero carbon tariff). Such as Octopus, OVO, Ecotricity and Good Energy. Look out for their Time of Use (ToU) options that enables you to use cheap electric at night to run your washing machine, dishwasher, and immersion heater (or charge an EV if you have one). For more impartial information on switching please see:-
Where can I purchase efficient products and services?
Sust-it Simply Efficient Shopping
Sust-it - simply efficient shopping Find appliances, white/black electrical goods, services and vehicles that are efficient and affordable to run.
Save Money Cut Carbon
The Save Money Cut Carbon offers practical steps towards sustainable solutions for homes and businesses. This service helps deliver everything required to save money and cut carbon.
How do I finance energy efficiency?
Most measures require some level of capital investment, depending on your circumstances there are several funding options (grants and support for homes).
- Keep Shropshire Warm: Our free and impartial energy advice and support service for homeowners, tenants and landlords. The team can support with a wide range of energy queries and help access grants and additional support. Support is available over the phone, online and face to face through a home visit appointment. Take a look at the KSW webpages, call 0800 112 3743 or email Advice@mea.org.uk
- Boiler Upgrade Scheme: A new government scheme offering up to a £5,000 upfront voucher to help householders replace old heating systems with low carbon heating such as air source or ground source heat pumps. The scheme is installer-led, so speak to your local installer for more information or visit the Gov.UK website
- Cost of living help | Shropshire Council: Tips on where and how to find support across Shropshire
- Energy Company Obligation: A government-backed initiative offering grants for heating and insulation improvements. Funding is delivered by energy companies in partnership with installers. For more information, speak to your local installer or energy company, or contact Keep Shropshire Warm
- Welfare Support Team - are you struggling to meet some of your essential living costs? You may be able to apply for some help from our Welfare Support Team - local welfare provision | Shropshire Council
Please see our funding opportunities page for any updates.
What are green loans or mortgages?
Your bank or mortgage provider may provide a favourable rate to borrow money (based on affordability) to pay for efficiency measures. For example: Preferential Green Loans.
Where can I go for advice?
Keep Shropshire Warm
The average household wastes £250 a year. Poor insulation, inefficient appliances and bad habits are costing you money. To counter this, Keep Shropshire Warm offers free and impartial advice on:
- Grants and discounts to help finance affordable warmth measures
- Energy efficiency...and lots more!
Find out more from our Newsroom.
The government energy regulator
Find out more about consumer protection and government regulation on household and business energy from the OFGEM website.
Impartial expert advice
- Centre for Sustainable Energy – Resources
- Centre for Alternative Technology (cat.org.uk). - Resources
- Energy Saving Trust: Find out more about energy for your home