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.

 

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

I am excited to announce two new features in my energy advice packages, that will help give you the confidence to make the right decisions on energy saving in your home or business.

  • I’m using a new piece of software that will help you decide whether a heat pump is right for your home or business;
  • And I’m using another new piece of software that will help you decide whether solar power, with or without battery storage, is right for your home or business.

A heat pump can be a very efficient way to heat a home or business, but it’s a big decision to make, because the economics of a heat pump are different to the economics of other investments.  Up to now I have been using a spreadsheet to help my clients understand the economics of a heat pump in their home or business, but with this piece of software it will make it a lot easier to do this.  If you’re at home more nowadays, then you may well be using more heat, and I will help you to understand the impact of this on the economics of a heat pump; including whether to use the Green Homes Grant or the Renewable Heat Incentive to part-fund it.

Solar panels and batteries are coming down in price.  It’s still a big decision to make though, as the economics of solar are quite complicated.  Again I have been using a spreadsheet to help my clients understand if solar is right for them, but this new piece of software will enable me to work out whether solar is right for you, more quickly and accurately.

The best piece of news is that I will NOT be raising the prices of my energy saving packages, so you get the benefit of these new features at no extra cost.  So book now, tell me all about your home or business, and let’s get you energy confident.  

  

 

HOW I CAN HELP

co2 icon

 
YOUR HOME

 

  • Green Homes Grant voucher advice
  • Online Energy Confidence coaching  
  • Advice packages with home visit and thermal imaging
  • Tell me about your home and the people who live in it
  • Payment by instalments available for householders

 

LEARN MORE

home office

man making coffee

low energy light bulb icon

 
BUSINESS 

 

  • Win new customers by going green
  • Online Energy Confidence coaching 
  • Advice packages with site visit and thermal imaging
  • Tell me about what your business does
  • Payment by instalments for small businesses and non-profits

LEARN MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

 

learn more

thermal image

You can now get thermal imaging energy advice packages for your home or business, at a reduced price.  These packages are designed for people intending to apply for the Green Homes Grant, and include:

  • Expert coaching
  • Personalised advice
  • Action Planning help
  • Follow-up advice
  • Email support
  • Site visit with thermal imaging report.

 

  • What you’ll get:

    ✔ Site visit:  We work together to develop a  Climate Action Plan for your home or business.   Actions will include both short-term quick wins and longer-term environmental goals; ranging from zero-cost actions, to investments with a longer financial return, that will save you money too, and help you decide how to spend the Green Homes Grant.  This site visit will normally take around two hours.  This is included in your subscription if you are within 50 miles of Birmingham, UK.  If you are further than this, please contact meto discuss a bespoke quote, or go for one of my online coaching packages.

    ✔ Personalised Action Plan.  After this first session, I will provide you with a personalised draft report and Climate Action Plan including my recommendations. Your Climate Action Plan will include personalised tips for you and advice on how to monitor that your actions are making a difference, including an estimate of the percentage reduction in your carbon dioxide emissions.  At this stage I will also advise you of anything that you should not do, or that you should stop doing.  For householders, I will advise you of how you can use any grants, such as the Green Homes Grant, most effectively for your home.  

  • ✔ Thermography report, with thermal images showing where energy is being wasted in your building including walls, roof, windows, doors, floor, pipework.  The thermography report also includes recommendations on what can be done to address the issues highlighted by the thermal images.  Thermal imaging is usually carried out after dusk between November and March.  
  •  
  •  ✔ Email support from me.
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  •  ✔ Session 2.  A follow-up coaching session at a mutually agreed time, usually 3-6 months after the home visit.  In this session we will review your progress, and discuss your next steps.   This session is around 30 minutes and will normally take place by Zoom.✔ Revisions to your Climate Action Plan as agreed at Session 2.If you haven’t used Zoom before then don’t worry, I will send you full instructions and tips.Things I will advise you on include:

    ✔  Energy Efficiency – quick wins that you can do now for zero-cost or low-cost; and long-term investments in your home or business.

    ✔ Is renewable energy right for your building?  Solar panels? Heat pumps? Biomass?

    ✔  Water saving – water waste is the hidden environmental cost that many people forget.  It’s easy to save water and if you are metered then it will save you money too.

    ✔  Green travel planning including electric vehicles.

    ✔   Energy tariffs and buying – are you on the best tariff?

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buy now

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  •  
  • Is there a “free” thermal imaging option?

    I don’t do a free thermal imaging package – this is why.  Some insulation companies do it – you don’t get an advice package with it.   With my advice packages you get the benefit of my time and expertise which you don’t with an insulation company. The insulation companies are funded by multinational energy companies to do thermal imaging, funded by energy bill payers. What you actually get is not simply a free thermal image – it’s a sales call to sell you insulation. I am in favour of people insulating their homes, but what I offer is a whole-house approach to energy saving.  If I recommend measures such as insulation to you as part of my energy advice package, then I will help you to find a reputable contractors for any physical measures such as insulation, heating, solar panels.  If you want a free thermal image then please feel free to book with one of these bill payer funded insulation companies – but please be aware you are not getting a full advice package and you will be getting a sales visit.  

     

    About me

    My goal is give you the confidence to control rising energy and water costs in your home or business.

    I give you the confidence to take action on energy saving that will make a lasting difference – to your financial bottom line, and to do your bit on climate change.  I specialise in energy saving, renewable energy, water saving, energy buying, and monitoring energy savings.

     

    Who am I?

    I founded Energy Confidence to help you feel that you are doing the right thing to save energy and water in your home or business.  I have two decades experience working in energy, and have won awards from Birmingham City Council and Sustainability West Midlands. I am an expert in energy saving, renewable energy, energy buying, water saving, and sustainable transport.  I’m a thought leader as well as an energy expert.  I have set up and delivered a wide range of energy-related projects.

     

    My values

    1. I am one of life’s doers.  I like to work out what to do next, and then get on and do it.
    2. If I see something that needs change, I will say it needs changing, and I will change it if I can.
    3. I deliver on my promises, on time and within budget.
    4. I don’t “chase the money”.
    5. I am not afraid to give bad news.  If I think it isn’t going to work, I will tell you, and suggest alternatives.
    6. I prefer cooperation over competition.  I want everyone to win at life.

    If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can pay by debit or credit card using PayPal.  Click on pay by card or checkout as a guest if invited. All services are subject to availability – I will endeavour to book you in at a mutually convenient date.

    What I will need from you is copies of your bills for gas, electricity, water and any other relevant fuels you use – e.g. heating oil, wood pellets.  Also an idea of your vehicle mileage if you want to include transport in your Climate Action Plan. Ideally I need your last 12 months’ bills.  This enables me to develop a baseline for your carbon dioxide emissions, so I can estimate how much carbon dioxide you will save through your action plan.  Once you have booked I will be in touch to ask you for these things.  Don’t worry if you can’t find them.

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