Energy saving and the Conservation officer:
A meeting was held in Little Gransden Village Hall, and at The Nook in Primrose Hill (with thanks to Jane Bourne and Chris Coneley) so that owners of historic houses could meet and discuss energy saving in their houses, with the Conservation Manager at South Cambs District Council, David Bevan. Also participating from SCDC, were Jane Green (Head of New Communities) and Siobhan Mellon (Parish Energy Project Officer).
Whilst the owners of historic buildings recognise that they are "custodians" of their houses, and have a responsibility to maintain the appearance of their houses, it is not reasonable to expect the owners to live in the same conditions at 200 or 300 years ago! There does appear to be a hopeful relaxation of constraints by the Conservation Officers that will allow some improvements in energy efficiency of historic buildings in the near future.
Here is a comparison between taking a hot bath, and heating a house. A well insulated house is similar to sitting in a hot bath for up to an hour. A house with poor insulation in the walls, ceiling, windows and floor, and with draughts around windows and doors, and open chimneys, is like sitting in that bath with the plug removed, and the hot water tap turned on to replace the lost water going down the drain! A well insulated house means that you spend less money on energy to keep it at the same temperature.
The price of heating oil has risen 6 fold in the last 34 years, and should be expected to continue to rise. The dramatic rise in the world population since 1950, and the rising economic standards in China, India, South America and South Africa, has increased the demand for fossil fuels. Coupled with this pressure, is the need to extract oil from more difficult areas of the world, such as the deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, and in the Artic, which costs more to produce. Supplies of crude oil are limited to this planet, and it is claimed that the Peak Oil Output for this world was reached a few years ago!
Examples of the 14 different ways in which the energy efficiency has been improved in the house at 15 Main Road were outlined as examples of what can be done. However, for many historic houses, breathable insulation, and lime render should be installed. The example of Coton Village Hall was on display, as was the recent improvements to the insulation in the Committee Room in Little Gransden Village Hall.
Solar PV output:
The 2.22 kWp solar PV array at 15 Main Road has now been operational without any problem for 2 years. The annual output of electricity was:
1st June 2011 to 31st May 2012 – 2097 kWh during a relatively dry period.
1st June 2012 to 31st May 2013 – 2026 kWh during a relatively wet and cold year.
The difference in annual electricity output is surprising small at 71 kWh (3.4%), considering the much worse weather in the last 12 months or so.
Websites for reference:
www.gov.uk/decc – the Department of Energy and Climate Change website (amended website address).
www.SPEP.net – South Cambs SPEP website (Sustainable Parish Energy Partnership).
Interactive Energy Display