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Can domestic energy efficiency make a difference?

Domestic energy efficiency has the potential to play a significant role in reducing energy generation needs in colder countries.

Domestic energy efficiency, particularly with regard to building warmth, has the potential to play a significant role in reducing energy generation needs in colder countries (Downson et al, 2012).

Estimates suggest that domestic heating is responsible for around a quarter of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. New buildings are governed by regulations that ensure they meet a certain level of thermal efficiency. For example, the wall of a new house built in the UK today is expected to be three times as effective at insulating heat loss as a wall in a building from the 1990s. Existing buildings dating from before such regulations were put in place can be ‘retrofitted’ to be more energy-efficient, to reduce bills and improve comfort. The cost of doing this can be reduced if it is done at the same time as other building works.

A case study

We spoke to Sam Williamson about his experiences retrofitting his Victorian home as part of a major refurbishment. Sam has also opened his home to neighbours through the Bristol Green Doors event, which helps raise awareness of energy efficiency retrofit as an option when people are renovating homes.

We caught up with Sam during lockdown, 2021, over five years after he moved in. He told us his family is very happy there: “Our household has expanded, we now have 2 children as well as the 2 cats!”

And, despite the larger family and lockdown increasing consumption, they have still managed to keep it to 75-80% below the average household. But he says the biggest benefit is comfort: “There aren’t cold spots in the winter in rooms or the house as a whole, and in summer we can cool it down by flushing the house out at night.”

Bristol Green Doors offers a practical and inspirational look into homes across the city. Flats and houses open their doors to show how different types of homes can be transformed or retrofitted to become more sustainable, and homeowners share their personal stories and advice with visitors.

Keeping energy use low, efficient and carbon-friendly are key goals of the project. Education events also help to give people the knowledge to make informed sustainable choices.

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Unleash Your Potential: Sustainable Futures

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