Gas and Electricity – Fossil fuels and renewables
The gas, coal or oil, we use to heat most of our homes and to generate most of our electricity are known as primary fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are a ‘finite resource’ - one day they will eventually run out. Hence it is sensible to use them efficiently to ensure they will last us as long as possible.
The overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows accelerated climate change is happening and caused mainly by human activities with significant and serious effects in the decades and centuries ahead. The earth is warming, and emissions of greenhouse gas (with carbon dioxide being the main one) from our homes, industry, cars and planes are the primary cause due largely to the burning of fossil fuels.
Nowadays we are ever more dependent on imported oil/gas from more and more distant locations, with a number of the regions we rely on being in the volatile Middle East. The more the UK can equip itself with a renewable, locally distributed and diverse energy supplies the more secure it will be in the futur
The Bristol Green Doors homes
Bristol Green Doors homes are all demonstrating ways people can overcome the challenges of "powering up" more efficiently, sustainably, cheaply and securely. The householders are using, managing and generating energy in a range of ways to heat spaces and water and run appliances. They are achieving this through a combination of behaviour change and the retrofitting of specific measures.
Their achievements include cost savings and increased comfort levels. We present these on each home’s case study graphically against local energy consumption averages and showing the EPCs of their homes. Remember, buildings don’t use don’t use energy, people do so and usage will vary according to home size, number of occupants, whether they work from home, their age and life style. However, what is clear is that physically making changes to the building considerably improves the energy efficiency of the home. Carlton one of our householders produced the illustration on the left below showing where heat is lost in the typical Bristol home.
The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC - above right) is a good and easy place to get an idea of what your own house is capable of. The national average Energy Efficiency Rating is 46, band E, and most houses can be refurbished to get over 70, into band C. Many can get well beyond this into the 80s or 90s.
EPCs look at the hardware of your house – what it’s built from, how much it’s insulated, how efficiently it is heated and so on. How you use the hardware is up to you, but the right hardware can make it much easier to make savings. EPCs don’t look at how you use the hardware, that’s up to you. And they certainly don’t judge people.
Whether your interest is carbon reduction, fuel cost savings or energy efficiency overall, an EPC can tell you where a home is now. If you’re selling or renting your own house, you are legally obliged to have one to show buyers and tenants.
The EPCs displayed by homes opening for Bristol Green Doors for the first time in 2015 were carried out by Energy Apprise.