heat pump

 

Are you thinking about using a heat pump to heat your home or business?

My Pay-As-You-Feel e-book will help to answer the most frequent questions that I get asked:

  • Is it true that heat pumps use less energy than a gas or oil boiler?
  • Do I need to upgrade my electricity supply?
  • Do I need to upgrade my insulation?
  • Are heat pumps noisy?
  • How long does it take a heat pump to warm up?
  • Should a heat pump be run at a low temperature?
  • Do I need secondary heating?
  • Do I need underfloor heating, or larger radiators?
  • What is the carbon footprint of a heat pump?
  • What is the life expectancy of a heat pump?
  • Can a heat pump provide enough hot water for a bath?
  • Should I have solar electricity or solar thermal with a heat pump?
  • Should I install a heat pump now, or wait?
  • What are the lifetime running costs of a heat pump?
  • What should I look for in a heat pump installer?
  • Will a heat pump work with micro-bore pipes?
  • Should I have a ground source heat pump?
  • How heat pumps work

 

Once your order has been completed you will be taken to a download page, where you will be able to download the ebook.

 

Download now

cottage

 

The Green Homes Grant (Local Area Delivery Scheme) – also known as LADS – is here.  It provides grant funding for some measures, but how much you get and what for, varies from one local authority to another. In some local authorities it is means tested, in others it isn’t.  Also because of supply chain issues, in some areas it is behind schedule.  If you have energy saving measures through this scheme, then the scheme manager chooses the installer for you.  Unlike the previous Green Homes Grant scheme, it is operated by the local authority and the charity Act On Energy, which I think is a good move.

Act On Energy are managing the customer journey in most of the West Midlands, and you can see what is on offer in each local authority on their website – https://actonenergy.org.uk/local-authority-delivery-scheme-lads/

If you’re not in the West Midlands, then Google “Local authority delivery scheme [your local authority name]

As part of the quality assurance scheme that includes LADS, you should receive independent advice from a Retrofit Coordinator, free of charge, if you qualify for LADS.  Which means you don’t have to pay me for advice!  If however, you would still like to pay me for independent and impartial advice on saving energy in your home –  or even your business –  then I would be happy to help.  I help you to understand where to start, and how to plan for making your home or business environmentally friendly in the short, medium and long term.  

 

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Energy confidence

 

washing machine

Are you looking for a kitchen appliance?  My post-Brexit advice is now to compare the amount of kiloWatt hours (kWh) of electricity the appliance is predicted to use in a year.  Not the energy rating (A-G), as you might have done previously.

Why is this?

It’s to do with Brexit and the UK’s antiquated electricity distribution system.

The electricity that comes into your house is 240 volts.  But none of the appliances in a modern house need 240 volts.  They typically run at 220 volts.

So that is quite a bit of electricity going to waste.

Since we left the European Union, that waste is now reflected on the energy label of appliances.  So something that used to be A-rated, might now only be E-rated, as I found recently when shopping for a new washing machine.  

So it’s best to compare appliances by predicted kWh use in an average year.  So fridge-freezer A might use 60 kWh, whereas fridge-freezer B might use 70 kWh.  You can compare water use on washing machines and dishwashers too.

If you’re a householder then there’s not much you can do about the fact that your electricity supply is 240 volts.  But there are still a myriad of ways you can save energy in the home.

Whereas if you’re a business, it might be worthwhile fitting a voltage optimiser.  This is a transformer that reduces the voltage from 240 volts to 220.

If you’re a householder, business or public body than needs advice on reducing your greenhouse gas emissions, then check out my expert advice packages.

Energy confidence

 

The Fab 55
 
 
Saving the planet with The Fab 55

Does your home or small business have a combination boiler?  With no hot water cylinder? You could save energy, money and greenhouse gas emissions by turning the boiler temperature down to 55 degrees or below.  

If you have a boiler with a hot water cylinder or heat store?  You could still save – but it’s slightly more complicated with this type of boiler.  So read on …

Making better use of existing heating controls is one thing almost every home or business can do to reduce their Greenhouse Gas emissions NOW … and it’s free.

The government has recently announced that on all new heating systems, the maximum boiler temperature should be set to 55 degrees.  This is long overdue.  But you don’t have to wait until you have a new heating system.  You can be part of The Fab 55 right now.

The Fab 55

If your boiler has been installed in the last 15 years, it is almost certainly a condensing boiler, whether it’s mains gas, heating oil, or LPG.  It is designed to run at lower temperatures than older gas boilers.  In fact it MUST be run at 55 degrees or lower in order to operate in condensing mode.  If you run it at too high a temperature, then the water going back to the boiler from your radiators or under-floor heating will be too hot, and this excess heat will escape through the flue.  This is not how condensing boilers were designed to work.  Condensing boilers have a second heat exchanger, which is what makes them potentially more efficient than older boilers.  But if the boiler temperature is too high, then the boiler will run in non-condensing mode, wasting energy, money and greenhouse gases.  Unfortunately I often see clients, both householders and businesses, where the boiler temperature has been set to 60 or even 70 degrees.  

Will it be cold if I turn the boiler temperature down?

You can get the same amount of heat to keep your home or business warm by running the heating for longer.  A steady background heat during the heating season is more efficient than short bursts of on/off using the timer.  You should also regularly adjust your room thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves.  It’s best not to let temperatures fall below 16 degrees in a home at night, because that can be dangerous for people with cold related medical conditions.  

If you have a combination boiler, you can experiment with turning your boiler temperature below 55 degrees – to 45 degrees.  Do it in stages, not all at once.  

You can also easily adjust the hot water temperature on a combination boiler.  You don’t need the hot water to be 60 degrees for washing hands, washing dishes or showers.  You can turn it down to 45 or whatever you find comfortable.  That way you aren’t wasting energy by heating water to 60 degrees and then diluting it with cold water.

How do I know if I have a combination boiler?

These are the signs:

  • A combination boiler doesn’t have a hot water cylinder or heat store
  • Google the manual for your boiler make and model – it will tell you if it’s a combination boiler.

If your boiler does have a hot water cylinder or heat store, then it’s not a combination boiler.  See below.

How do I know if I have a condensing boiler?
insulated condensate pipe
Insulated condensate pipe

All boilers can be condensing boilers.  This includes combination boilers, and boilers with a hot water cylinder/heat store. 

  • A condensing boiler will have a condensate pipe (see photo) that evacuates condensed flue gases down your drain.  This will usually be an insulated diagonal pipe outside.  If your washing machine is below your boiler then the installer might have done a very clever thing where the condensed flue gases run out of your washing machine outlet pipe, so there won’t be an additional condensing pipe outside your home.
  • Google the manual for your boiler make and model – it will tell you if it’s a condensing boiler.
If you don’t have a combination boiler …

Then you can still have the boiler temperature for the radiators at 55 degrees or lower, but it’s too complicated to explain in a blog as it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.  Google the manual for your boiler make and model.

If you have a hot water cylinder or heat store, then you must ensure that the stored hot water is not at risk of legionella bacteria.  Normally this means making sure the temperature is raised to 60 degrees periodically to kill off the bacteria.  Do not take risks with a hot water cylinder temperature – consult the boiler manual.

Getting your building “heat pump ready”

If you are considering having a heat pump, then it is essential that you run the heat pump at lower temperatures of 55 degrees or lower.  Practising running your existing boiler at lower temperatures is one of the most important thing you can do to make your home or business heat pump ready.

Let’s make you energy confident

If you sign up to one of my energy advice packages, I will help you get energy confident so you know you are doing the right things to reduce the environmental impact of your home, business or non-profit.  

 

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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

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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

 

 

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.

 

 

 

external wall insulation

 

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.  As an introductory offer, this service is currently priced at £299.  

 

 

Featured image credit – Levitt Bernstein, Elementa, Passivhaus Trust and Etude commissioned by West Oxfordshire, Cotswold and Forest of Dean District Councils, funded by the LGA Housing Advisers Programme.

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

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.

 

 

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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

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cottage

Energy confidence

Join me, Phil Beardmore, on 17th December 2020 for the Green Homes Grant – Your Questions Answered webinar, in which you will learn about:

 

  • what is a heat pump and how does it work?
  • will a heat pump save money?
  • which insulation measures you can get through the Green Homes Grant?
  • how is solar thermal different from solar electricity?
  • will insulation increase the risk of condensation and damp?
  • what other energy saving products are available through the Green Homes Grant?
You will also find out:
  • who is eligible for the Green Homes Grant
  • what extra help is available to low-income homeowners
  • how thermal imaging can help spot where your home is wasting energy
  • how to make sure that energy saving measures don’t harm wildlife
  • what questions to ask an installer to make sure you are getting the energy saving products that you need, and not being mis-sold
  • how to work out if you are better off or not.
Including a Q&A session in which I will answer your questions on the Green Homes Grant.  

 

There will also be an Ask Me Anything session, in which you can ask me any energy-related question relating to your home or business.

The cost of attending this webinar is just £5.   All proceeds from this webinar will go to Anawim – Birmingham’s Centre for Women – https://anawim.co.uk/ You will be asked to pay £5 for the webinar. I will then pass on all proceeds to Anawim. (PayPal will deduct a few pence from your £5 – I will make up the difference).

 

 

 

If you are a member of Parity (www.parity.uk), then you can pay in Parity PTY.  The cost is £5 PTY.  Please click here to pay in Parity.

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.

BOOK 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

By registering for this webinar, you agree that I can add your email address to my mailing list.  I will send you occasional emails, and won’t pass your email address on to anyone else.  You can unsubscribe at any time. 

sitting on sofa

 

The Green Homes Grant is a fantastic opportunity to reduce your household running costs and your greenhouse gas emissions.  Homeowners, and landlords, can apply for a voucher for two-thirds of the cost of eligible work, up to a maximum of £5,000.  Some low-income homeowners can get 100% funding up to a maximum of £10,000.

Every home is different, but there are some tips that everyone can follow:

  1. Where is your home wasting energy?  Most energy is usually wasted through the building fabric, mainly the walls and roof.  For this reason, you should start by using the Green Homes Grant for insulation measures such as roof insulation (including room-in-roof), cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, and under-floor heating.  These measures are eligible for the Green Homes Grant.  Thermal imaging is a good way of identifying how much heat is being lost through the building fabric. 
  2. No insulation without ventilation.  Most homes in the UK don’t have adequate ventilation, and this causes problems with air quality, and sometimes condensation and damp.  If you are adding insulation to your home, then it’s essential to add ventilation.  You can’t fund ventilation through the Green Homes Grant, which is a mistake in my view.  Ventilation can include air vents, low-energy extractor fans, or mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR) which re-uses the heat from air passing in and out of your home.   
  3. Once you have insulated the walls and roof, then you could consider a form of renewable energy for heating your home, or hot water.  Heat pumps provide space heating, and some models can also heat your hot water.  Solar thermal is a simple and effective technology that uses the sun’s heat to pre-heat hot water for washing, reducing the amount of gas or electricity you need to use to heat water.   Biomass pellet boilers use wood pellets to provide space heating and hot water. All of these measures are eligible for the Green Homes Grant.
  4. Most homes in the UK are still using heating controls that were designed in the last century.  We are now two decades into the 21st Century and there have been great strides made in heating controls, including smart, remote controls that you can control with a smartphone or with household artificial intelligence gadgets.  Heating controls, along with thermostats, are eligible for the Green Homes Grant.
  5. If you have single glazed windows, then you can use the Green Homes Grant for double or triple glazing, or secondary glazing.  If you live in a conservation area and you aren’t allowed to install double glazing, then secondary glazing is a good way to increase thermal comfort.  This might be an option for people living in the Bournville area of Birmingham, for example, who aren’t allowed to replace their windows.
  6. Don’t make the mistake of having the same energy saving measures as one of your friends or neighbours.  Every home is different, and every household is different.  Putting the wrong energy saving measures in the wrong building can be an expensive mistake.  

If you need help deciding on how to use the Green Homes Grant, then I can give you impartial and personalised advice on what measures will give you the most cost-effective savings on fuel bills and greenhouse gas emissions for your home.  You will get a personalised advice report, and as an option, a thermal imaging report.  

If you’re a homeowner then book an energy advice package now so you can get on with your Green Homes Grant application.

If you’re a landlord or property manager then please contact me for a discussion about how I can work with you to decide what’s best for your property portfolio.  

 

 

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