River Cole

The River Cole was one of my favourite places growing up in East Birmingham.  We used to get on our bikes and ride along the River Cole around Stechford, Yardley and Small Heath, catching sticklebacks and invertebrates, whose names I tried to learn.  

So it was natural for me to join the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country as an adult, and I was invited to become a Trustee in 2018.  Being a Trustee is an opportunity to use my strategic planning skills and so it’s hard work sometimes, but ultimately rewarding when I see the work of the Trust in Birmingham and the Black Country to help nature’s recovery and to protect biodiversity in places such as Moseley Bog and the Cole Valley that are precious to me.

1-5 November 2021 is #TrusteesWeek so here’s to the work of the staff, volunteers and trustees of Wildlife Trusts across the country!

(River Cole image by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country). 

 

 

house losing heat

 

One of the weaknesses of the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy is that the grants available for heat pumps are most likely to be taken up by better-off households, and that fuel poor households are at risk of missing out.  Suddenly, fuel poverty is in the news, and the internet is full of self-proclaimed experts who claim that heat pumps are no good for the fuel poor.

Let us never forget that our reliance on gas for heating homes is one of the main reasons why fuel poverty is on the increase.  Even the most efficient gas boilers are only 95% efficient, whereas heat pumps are at least 300% efficient.  Gas boilers are frequently over-sized, and incorrectly designed to run at high temperatures, which means they operate at much less than 95% efficiency.  Gas is part of the problem.

Fuel poverty is a complex social issue.  It is caused by poor efficiency of buildings and appliances; lack of understanding of how to use appliances efficiently; low income; all compounded by the fact that the fuel poor are most likely to be on the worst tariffs and use the worst payment methods.   People with cold and damp related medical conditions are at greater risk of fuel poverty.

There is no magic bullet to solve fuel poverty.

Effective fuel poverty interventions include some or all of the following:

  • Improving the thermal efficiency of a home;
  • More efficient heating appliances;
  • Income maximisation;
  • Supporting fuel poor households to find the cheapest payment methods and tariffs, which is difficult in a time of price volatility.

Successive governments have failed to implement strategies that achieve a holistic approach to solving fuel poverty.  Heat pumps are right for some homes and not right for others.  What fuel poor households need is a whole-house plan to make their homes more efficient, starting with improving the building fabric.  

Proper design is key to the successful installation of a heat pump in any home.  The UK is short on heating engineers who understand how to design and install heat pumps.  This needs to be addressed urgently.

Read a report I wrote about a project in Birmingham to help vulnerable fuel poor households.

Here is a video of the successful use of heat pumps to help fuel poor households.

Featured image by Amy Purdie for Saltley Community Association.

 

 

 

working in bar

The Heat and Buildings Strategy is a plan from the government to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by heating buildings.  It has strengths, but also limitations.  

There is financial support in the Strategy for homeowners, landlords and the public sector to decarbonise homes and public buildings.  Heat pump grants for householders are likely to be predominantly taken up by more affluent households with higher carbon footprints.

There is no financial support for small businesses in the Heat and Buildings Strategy.  All is not lost, however, because there are many things that your small business can do to save the earth, without costing the earth. 

Here are my top tips for what you can do now:

  • Review the way you use your heating controls.  In every single building that I have ever helped, I have advised on better use of existing heating controls.  More strategic use of existing heating controls needs no capital investment.  Upgrading to smart heating controls is a cost-effective way of saving carbon.
  • Switch to LED lighting throughout the business and don’t forget lighting controls – for example, passive infra-red controls in areas of intermittent occupancy such as bathrooms and corridors.
  • Consider the impact of home working and flexible working on your business.  Just because there are fewer people in your building, it doesn’t always follow that your building is using less energy.  Now is a good time to undertake an energy audit. 
  • Improve the airtightness of your building.  Look for gaps where the floors meet the walls and where the roof meets the walls.  They can be sealed quite cheaply and will effectively stop heat escaping from your building.  This is particularly useful in older buildings where it is difficult and expensive to insulate the walls and floors.  But if you can insulate, then walls, roofs, floors, and window reveals.  Thermal imaging is great for identifying priority areas.
  • Move desks and equipment to make use of natural light.
  • Use laptops instead of desktops as they use less energy.

 

Tell me what makes your business great, and we will work together to make it greener and more profitable.

If you’re a business that needs expert help with energy saving then please check out my energy advice packages.

If you’re a homeowner please click here.  I specialise in advising homeowners on whether a heat pump is suitable for their home. 

If you’re a charity, public sector body or housing provider please click here.

Consumers want to buy off businesses that are ethical and sustainable.  Now is the time to act on the climate emergency.

 

 

 

 

COP26 is approaching and many you’re probably thinking about the environmental performance of your business.

But what environmental goals and targets should you set?  Zero carbon? Net zero? What do these phrases mean for your small business anyway?

If you are responsible for improving the environmental performance of your business, then you are an environmental leader.  

With time running out to limit the devastating effects of climate change, every business leader needs to be an environmental leader too.

I specialise in coaching environmental leaders like you to set environmental goals that are realistic and achievable for your business, whatever its scale or scope.  Every business can make a difference, as long as we aren’t thrown off course by buzzwords from giant multinationals and political leaders.

Goal-setting is my coaching superpower.  I particularly enjoy helping other environmental leaders to set and achieve goals.  Setting goals helps you to reframe something from a problem into a triumph for your business and for the planet.

What will it mean to you if you can:

  • transform the reputation and profitability of your business through being recognised for environmental leadership?
  • turn your good idea into a profitable and successful environmental business?
  • put your environmental and ethical values into practice?

I will coach you to take ownership of your environmental problems in order to solve them, and achieve your goals.

 

learn more

 

“Coaching is the universal language of change and learning.”  author unknown


 

Coaching with
PHIL BEARDMORE 
ENVIRONMENTAL LEADER
  • Decades of experience of environmental leadership
  • Voted as one of the West Midlands top Green Leaders by my peers
  • Mentor on the Uprising Birmingham environmental leadership programme
  • Mentor on the Business Innovation at Staffordshire University Programme

 

Proof House

COACHING

FOR ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS LIKE YOU

WHAT GOALS WILL YOU ACHIEVE?

Join my one-to-one coaching programme for environmental leaders.  Use my knowledge and expertise as an environmental leader to help you turn your environmental goals into achievable actions.

You should join my one-to-one coaching programme if you are:

  • a leader in an environmental business
  • aiming to set up an environmental business, charity or cooperative
  • a leader in any business and you are responsible for improving its environmental performance.

What will it mean to you if you can:

  • transform the reputation and profitability of your business through being recognised for environmental leadership?
  • turn your good idea into a profitable and successful environmental business?
  • put your environmental and ethical values into practice?
  • set, monitor and achieve realistic goals?

book a discovery call view pricing

 

 

The price of solar panels is falling and the price of electricity is rising.  This is good news for solar electricity in homes, businesses, caravans, canal boats.  Here are a few things you should think about before you invest in solar electricity in your home or business.

 

  1. How much electricity do you use?  An average household uses 3,600 kWh a year, or 36 kWh per square metre a year.  If you are using less than this then solar electricity is less likely to be a viable investment (at the time of writing – August 2021).
  2. What time of the day or night does your building use electricity?  If there is daytime electricity use then solar might work for you.  If your electricity use is mostly at night, then it might not be worth it.  You can store solar electricity in a battery for use at night, but only if you use electricity at night.
  3. Remember that common household appliances such as fridges, washing machines, TVs, computers, kettles are becoming more and more efficient and need less electricity.  The appliances in use in a typical household might not use enough electricity to make solar electricity worthwhile.  There is no public subsidy for solar electricity and so correct design of your solar system is key to making it financially viable.  The days when people put solar panels on roofs willy-nilly are over.
  4. There are certain appliances that you might have in your home or business that will take your electricity consumption well above the average household use of 3,600 kWh a year.   An immersion heater can use several thousand kWh a year; a heat pump will use at least 5,000; air conditioning will use several thousand; an electric vehicle will use at least 2,000 kWh a year.  If you have any of these appliances, then solar electricity becomes more viable.  You can make the most of the sunniest times of the day to store water in an immersion heater or heat pump; in an electric vehicle battery, plus of course air conditioning uses most electricity when the sun is shining.
  5. If you use a gas or oil boiler, or immersion heater, for hot water, then solar thermal is an alternative to solar electricity.  If you use a lot of hot water, for catering, washing, showers, or manufacturing processes, then solar thermal could work for you.
  6. You will need a south-facing pitched roof ideally; solar can also work on flat roofs or south-facing walls.  With solar electricity you will usually need a modern electricity meter and consumer unit; and space for a battery if necessary.  If you are having solar thermal you will need an airing cupboard sized space for a hot water cylinder.  

Solar energy in the right building gives you cost-effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  In some circumstances it will also be cheaper than fossil fuels.  You should consider solar energy as part of a whole-building approach to energy saving.  Even if solar doesn’t work in your building, there is always something you can do.  

 

learn more

 

If you need expert advice on energy saving in your home or business, check out my energy advice packages.  If you are within 50 miles of Birmingham, you will get a site visit, a thermal imaging survey and a comprehensive written report that includes a costed assessment of the suitability of solar electricity for your building.  I will also show you what to look for when you are choosing solar products and installers, and help you to interpret quotes you receive from installers.  

Energy confidence

 

Are you giving your home a green makeover?  Would you like the work you have done to be certified?  Would you like to tell the world about what you have done to save the planet?

I am accredited by the Association of Environment Conscious Building (AECB) to certify housing retrofit projects as having achieved the AECB Retrofit Standard, and to list them as a case study on the Low Carbon Buildings database.   Both privately-owned and rented homes (including social landlords) can be certified.  Non-domestic buildings, including businesses, charities, coops, and places of worship can also be certified on the Low Carbon Buildings database.

Please contact me for a no-obligation discussion about helping you to get your green home makeover certified.  There is a discount for people who have previously bought energy advice packages from me.

 

Are you looking to take over a neglected building or asset into community ownership?  Is it leaking heat and wasting energy and money like the building in the picture?

The government’s Community Ownership Fund was announced in July 2021.   It has been set up to help communities take ownership of assets and amenities at risk of closure, and will run for four years.

Interestingly on the subject of Environmental Sustainability, the fund’s prospectus says that “We welcome projects that can support the journey to net zero and incorporate low or zero carbon approaches. We also welcome projects which consider their impact on the natural environment and appropriate mitigations.”

This means the Fund could potentially support:

  • energy saving measures in buildings
  • renewable energy installations such as solar, heat pumps, wind turbines.

If you’re bidding to the Community Ownership Fund and are interested in making your community ownership project low carbon, then please contact me to see how I can help you.  I have lots of experience of working with community-owned buildings on energy saving, renewable energy and water saving.

Energy confidence

Energy confidence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Is working from home good or bad for the environmental impact of your business?

 

The short answer is … it depends.  It depends on factors such as:

  • the comparative energy efficiency of your business building, and the homes of your staff;
  • the way in which heating controls are used in your business building, and in the homes of your staff;
  • what mode of transport employees use to commute to work, and how far they travel.

 

Some businesses could actually find that their environmental impact increases because of remote working.  Even if their employees are travelling less … even if they aren’t using heat and power in their office … the greenhouse gas emissions from their staff’s homes could cause a net increase in the environmental impact of your business.

I am now using a piece of software that means I can do a bespoke calculation for your business.

 

 

learn more

  •  

This means that I can help you to work out a meaningful answer to this dilemma for your business, and most importantly, give you expert advice on what to do to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, whether your employees are working from your premises, remotely, or a mixture of both.

The good news is that this service is included in my business energy advice packages, so you don’t have to pay the earth, to save the earth.

 

Tell me what makes your business great, and we will work together to make it greener and more profitable.

 

 

 

About me

Grinning at Moor Street Station

 

I am the West Midlands’ leading expert in:

  • energy saving
  • renewable energy
  • procurement of energy saving products
  • water saving.

My customers include householders, landlords, public bodies, small businesses, charities and coops.

I am independent and impartial.

Phil Beardmore, FRSA AIEMA.

CONTACT ME NOW

TESTIMONIALS

Nathalie Rush

Nathalie Rush

Phil is truly an expert in his field. I can understand why most people around the West Midlands choose to go to Phil for energy-saving consultancy. Phil has a thorough understanding of energy conservation and sustainable living. Would highly recommend.  Nathalie Rush, MD, Six Star Insulation.

Claire Spencer

Claire Spencer

His knowledge of community-led sustainability is second to none, and his perspective on local and national issues is invaluable to us. He adds value, and is everything a good consultant should be, and I would recommend him to anyone in our field  Claire Spencer, Sustainable Moseley.

Rosemary Coyne

Rosemary Coyne

It has been hugely inspiring to work with Phil.  While others talk, Phil gets on and does it.  Rosemary Coyne, Coordinator, Sustainable Housing Action Partnership

Ray Walker

Ray Walker

In working with Phil I have been impressed by his level of knowledge and enthusiasm. He has a vast array of contacts and has brought us into contact with other stakeholder in the energy business that would have been much more difficult to achieve without him. I am also struck by his commitment to supporting communities and the most vulnerable client groups.

Ray Walker, Disability Resource Centre

Karen McCarthy

Cllr Karen McCarthy

 

 

 

Phil Beardmore has a long association with Localise West Midlands and is a valued associate on environmental, housing and fuel poverty projects. 

He works with us both as an individual practitioner and leading multi-disciplinary teams on larger projects, delivering high quality results on time and on budget.

 Cllr Karen McCarthy, Localise West Midlands

learn more

AECB

Membership of the AECB – Association of Environmentally Conscious Buildings – enables me to keep my skills up to date

making birmingham green

I won a Making Birmingham Greener Award for Outstanding Personal Achievement.

green leader

I was nominated twice by my peers as one of the top Green Leaders in the West Midlands

 

school desk

Energy confidence

 

  • Are you a school, academy, NHS trust, university, college, nursery or other public body?
  • Do you have a fossil-fuel based heating system that is coming to the end of its useful life?

If so, then you may be eligible to apply for grant funding to reduce your energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.  Eligible costs under the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme include a contribution towards capital works, enabling works, and some consultancy costs.

A typical project might include installing a heat pump in a public sector building, with associated works such as insulation, heating controls, LED lighting and lighting controls, mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.  

What I can do to help you

I can help you with:

  • deciding which are the most cost-effective energy saving measures for your public sector building
  • writing your application to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme
  • choosing suppliers of energy saving measures and suppliers
  • demonstrating the greenhouse gas emissions savings to the funder.

The Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme is open for applications from 7th April 2021 and is expected to be quickly over-subscribed.  If you would like me to help you with your energy saving project then contact me now for a conversation about what you need from me.

 

 

learn more

 

 

 

 

About me

Grinning at Moor Street Station

 

I am the West Midlands’ leading expert in:

  • energy saving
  • renewable energy
  • procurement of energy saving products
  • water saving.

My customers include householders, landlords, public bodies, small businesses, charities and coops.

I am independent and impartial.

Phil Beardmore, FRSA AIEMA.

CONTACT ME NOW

TESTIMONIALS

Nathalie Rush

Nathalie Rush

Phil is truly an expert in his field. I can understand why most people around the West Midlands choose to go to Phil for energy-saving consultancy. Phil has a thorough understanding of energy conservation and sustainable living. Would highly recommend.  Nathalie Rush, MD, Six Star Insulation.

Claire Spencer

Claire Spencer

His knowledge of community-led sustainability is second to none, and his perspective on local and national issues is invaluable to us. He adds value, and is everything a good consultant should be, and I would recommend him to anyone in our field  Claire Spencer, Sustainable Moseley.

Rosemary Coyne

Rosemary Coyne

It has been hugely inspiring to work with Phil.  While others talk, Phil gets on and does it.  Rosemary Coyne, Coordinator, Sustainable Housing Action Partnership

Ray Walker

Ray Walker

In working with Phil I have been impressed by his level of knowledge and enthusiasm. He has a vast array of contacts and has brought us into contact with other stakeholder in the energy business that would have been much more difficult to achieve without him. I am also struck by his commitment to supporting communities and the most vulnerable client groups.

Ray Walker, Disability Resource Centre

Karen McCarthy

Cllr Karen McCarthy

 

 

 

Phil Beardmore has a long association with Localise West Midlands and is a valued associate on environmental, housing and fuel poverty projects. 

He works with us both as an individual practitioner and leading multi-disciplinary teams on larger projects, delivering high quality results on time and on budget.

 Cllr Karen McCarthy, Localise West Midlands

learn more

heat pump

 

 

Rhoda and Connor were thinking about replacing their existing oil boiler, which was 15 years old.  They were spending more time at home now and wanted to manage their fuel bills in their large 4 bedroomed detached home.  They were interested in air source heat pumps, because they wanted to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.  

Rhoda researched whether a heat pump would work for their home, what to look for in a heat pump, and whether they would be better off.  She attended a webinar put on by Energy Confidence with Phil Beardmore on home energy saving, where she learned that she needed to consider a whole-house approach to energy saving.

Expert advice 

Rhoda and Connor felt that they needed expert advice, so they signed up to an Energy Confidence advice package.  Phil advised them on the suitability of a heat pump with smart heating controls,  understand the quotes they got, to choose the right installer, and used spreadsheets to understand the economics of a heat pump.  

Phil also did a thermal imaging survey to identify where Rhoda and Connor needed to improve insulation for greater efficiency and thermal comfort.  

Leap of faith

Rhoda said, “Overall he gave us the confidence to make this leap of faith – and we have no regrets!! Our house is warm, our water is hot, and we look forward to £££ savings. We’ve also made a big reduction in our carbon footprint!! We have already recommended Phil to our friends.”

Connor is keeping records of how their fuel consumption has changed since the heat pump was installed in December 2020 and the oil boiler and tank were removed.  Watch this space – when the heat pump has been in for 12 months, I will write another blog on their fuel savings and carbon dioxide savings.

Green homes grant

Phil also advised Rhoda and Connor on the Green Homes Grant and the Renewable Heat Incentive.  Rhoda and Connor successfully applied for funding towards the cost of their heat pump.  

 

Are you ready to make your fuel bills steady?

If you’d like to work with me on energy saving in your home or business, please check out my energy saving advice packages.  

 

Energy confidence