News Alert

Wondering how to further reduce your energy bills? Have a look at the HOBBS report for a few ideas.

Monday, January 30, 2012

An invitation from Groundwork....

This event will showcase a number of projects in the region, including our very own "Eco Houses under Construction". Maybe see you there....!

Groundwork Derby &; Derbyshire
on behalf of Groundwork East Midlands and Climate East Midlands
invites you to:

Saturday 17 March 2012
10.00 a.m. – 1.00 p.m. followed by networking buffet
Groundwork Derby and Derbyshire
The Bridge Centre, 43 Cromford Road
Langley Mill, Derbyshire, NG16 4EF

Climate East Midlands’ Skills programme is building essential climate skills amongst our councils, schools and communities in support of the UK’s journey towards a low carbon and resilient economy.  
Power to the People 
showcases projects that have developed skills within communities to address the causes and consequences of climate change and features support that is available at the local level. 

Keynote speaker: Graham Truscott, Transition Network
Please RSVP by 7 March 2012 by emailing or by post to: Groundwork East Midlands, Denman Street East, Nottingham NG7 3GX 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Exhibition presentations

During the recent exhibition of low energy homes, experts gave presentations on 5 very different homes.

A sixth presentation was given by Tim Saunders of the Energy Savings Trust, on grants and financial incentives (the FIT, the RHI and an introduction to the Green Deal).

If you missed the presentations or would like to see them again, here they are:

Architect Michael Siebert described a timber frame new build (to Level 5 of the Code for Sustainable Homes)

Dr Tina Holt talked about progress to date on her 1950's solid wall house (which is aiming for EnerPHit or somewhere close.)

(more to follow)

Janet's water-saving information

One member of the Eco House Group has sent me some practical information about her experiences of fitting water-saving devices in her home.

An alternative to getting a new low flush loo, or using the simple brick or hippo in the cistern is to fit a variable flush device to the existing toilet.

Janet says 

"The variable flush device is called Interflush. It has a website:  
I also found the following:

It says a competent DIY person should be able to fit it, though I had a builder do it.  So far, there have been no problems with it, though I think the builder said it needed some careful adjustment. 

It appears to come in 2 versions: £14.95, with installation tools, and £12.95 without the tools (for the 2nd toilet you can use the same tools again).  We still have the box with the tools - If anyone wants to borrow the tools, they’d be welcome.  There is a screw driver, 2 other things that look like tools, plus what appear to be some parts that weren’t needed and the instructions.

We now also have a ‘grey water’ system for that toilet, which uses mainly rainwater water collected from our roof and drive.  (The plumber calls it grey water, as it could be contaminated, and has labelled all the pipes accordingly).  We have mains backup using a tank with 2 ball valves.  The plumber advised having the mains valve on a trickle to avoid things seizing up during long periods when not using it.  So far (since late Autumn) the stored rainwater has held out but I suspect we’ll need mains sometimes in the summer."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Low energy homes exhibition a success

On 21st January 2012, the exhibition of low energy homes attracted about 130 people interested in seeing the homes on show and listening to the talks. With stall-holders displaying a range of technologies from Rushcliffe Borough Council's light-bulb library to full scale home refurbishments and renewable technologies, there was a lot to see. To read about the stalls, talks and afternoon house tours in more detail, read the full write-up here.

A very big thank you must go to the exhibitors and a super team of Transition West Bridgford / Eco House Group volunteers who worked hard on the day to make it happen and to provide a warm welcome to the visitors.

This exhibition marks the final event in our "Eco Houses under Construction" series, but don't worry - there will be opportunities to see these homes and others in the future.

Thanks to our recent successful LEAF funding bid, there will be further house visits and a set of workshops due in March, so look out for our "Homes Behaving Badly" events. The idea is to make sure that these workshops are as relevant as possible to those who come along. Knowing that West Bridgford has more than its fair share of solid wall homes and large areas of cavity wall housing, different workshops will focus on different types of homes and the associated low, medium and high cost solutions to cut energy use.

As well as looking at all the feedback from the exhibition, we would like to know if you live in a cavity wall home or a solid wall home, and what issues and options you need to know about in more detail. A questionnaire is coming soon!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More about the exhibition

There are just days to go to West Bridgford’s free exhibition of low energy homes on 21st January 2012 (see previous post), so here is a bit more information about the displays and presentations.

Seven low energy homes will be represented in detail, each with their own display of photos, information and in some cases, samples of energy saving products. 

(Two homes will be open to visitors during the afternoon - the timber frame new build and the 1950's refurbishment. Just sign up at the stand for either house or email to visit at 2pm or 3pm.)

Energy efficiency advice will be available from Sheila Hood, Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Energy Officer. 

Independent information about renewable technologies will be displayed on the Energy Saving Trust stand where Tim Saunders will be able to answer your questions.

In a separate room, between 10am and 1pm there will be a series of short 20 minute presentations in the following order:

10.15   Creating a zero carbon barn conversion
      David Hill, Managing Director of Carbon Legacy
10.40   Latest news on the Feed in Tariff, Renewable Heat Incentive and Green Deal
            Tim Saunders, Energy Saving Trust
11.10   Ultra low energy refurbishment – externally insulated 1950’s brick house
            Gil Schalom, Architect and Tina Holt, organiser of the exhibition
11.30   Ultra low energy refurbishment – internally insulated stone Coach House
            Gil Schalom, Architect
12.00   Building low energy homes in the Meadows and Sneinton
            John Long, project leader for Igloo and Blueprint Regeneration
12.30   Timber frame new build – a very low energy home in West Bridgford
            Mike Siebert, Architect

If you would like any further information about the exhibition, email

Radiators for Heat Pump

11 Jan 2012: DNC writes: People often ask me how they could use a Heat Pump without tearing the floor up and laying an expensive underfloor heating system. Some people just like something warm to hug or to stand with one's back to on a cold day, or put a damp coat onto after being caught in the rain.  Underfloor heating just doesn't have this comfort (except for cats who love it!) Underfloor heating is invisible, and sometimes, if you can't see it, you don't feel it! If you have thick carpets, then expect even more delay before warmth comes through. For Retrofit, Underfloor heating is just about too challenging for anybody to take up.

I happened across this company, JAGA, who claim to have a whole range of suitable low temperature radiators, some for surface mounting, some recessed or flush with the floor.
Jaga have a number of products, but their 'Performers' range of radiators are suitable for the lower heating temperature from a heat pump. They even include one that can be a cooler if you have a reverse cycle HP.
    These are the first ones I have found that I would quite like! Jaga use the expression 'DBE' (dynamic boost effect) which is very quietly running fan assistance, but I would expect these to be virtually inaudible compared to MVHR. They would all need a power supply, but this can be provided in the same skirting duct or alongside whatever the pipes run through.

So, take heart. If you are planning to try a heat pump, then these radiators are the ideal way to avoid the disruption or the impossibility of installing Underfloor heating, and which could use your existing pipework for your previous central heating layout.