Home upgrade resources

How to stop heat escaping?

Reducing your heating bill now is a top priority for a climate-safe future. Join the campaign to make it easier for all of us to stop wasting money on gas.

We urgently need to reduce carbon emissions from space and water heating in our homes – and as the Great Homes Upgrade campaign makes clear we would all benefit from far more support to do so – please join our campaign.

What are the options? What are the difficulties? What resources can we pool together in Redbridge? Here are some pointers that we hope help you save energy, money – and carbon.

Redbridge Go Green grant

Like many other local authorities, Redbridge Council has a home energy efficiency scheme for households with an income less than £30,000 a year and where the property has an EPC rating of D or worse. https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/housing/private-rentals/go-green/ This includes an assessment, and up to £5,000 for work on rented properties, or £10,000 for homeowners, or up to £25,000 in the event the property is off the gas grid, defined as not having gas central heating. (We need to put pressure on central government to support and vastly expand schemes like this.)

Advice, installers and other skilled traders

Even if you don’t have cavity walls, or they have already been ‘done’, you can reduce the average 35% of heat lost through walls, with internal or external wall insulation. See WCA’s list of local contractors who do wall insulation, correct as of June 2022.

These are taken from the longer list (not all doing grant work, but including loft and underfloor insulation) available at
https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/installer-search/Q2

To access the Government’s low-carbon heat/heat pump grants (slightly confusingly called the Boiler Upgrade Scheme), find a registered installer through https://mcscertified.com/find-an-installer/ This scheme also covers solar panel and battery installation.

Advice and planning tools

From London renovator Parity Projects. https://www.ecofurb.com/ Can refer you to accredited suppliers.

Simple Energy Advice (0800 444202) uses your EPC certificate (if available) and other data you supply to calculate potential savings for different work: https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/energy-efficiency/reduce-bills

Warmer Homes Advice Service for people in London who are on low income or vulnerable. Provided in Redbridge by SHINE London (0300 555 0195 9-5, Mon-Fri). Includes advice on energy saving, damp, fuel debt, and how to apply for a Warmer Homes grant of £5-25,000. Unlike Redbridge, the London grant eligibility criteria are based on income minus rent or mortgage. Assessments and advice are then given by Retrofitworks.

The ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme phase 4 for low-income households finally restarted at the end of July 2022. You should be able to contact any big electricity supplier for help. For small jobs, which might include help with energy efficiency, HEET offers a handyperson scheme to Redbridge residents who are disabled or over 60 (at the moment, they don’t offer the larger work available in Waltham Forest).

LETI (formerly London Energy Transformation Initiative) has detailed explanations advocating whole building retrofits.

Waltham Forest eco-home

A refurbished Edwardian terraced house in Greenleaf Road E17. It’s an eye-opener. As of May 2022, general guided tours are sold out. Has details of some of the technologies and contractors used (eg smart air bricks): https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/planning-and-building-control/design-and-conservation/eco-home-47-greenleaf-road. Waltham Forest has also been working with Energiesprong. WCA thinks we need a similar or better inspiration in Redbridge!

Q-bot, underfloor insulation reducing carbon emissions potentially for 12 million households in the UK. Q-Bot allows under-floor insulation to be installed at a much lower cost and without the disruption of existing methods by using a small robot that goes under the floor instead of having to take the floor up. © Andy Aitchison/ Ashden

How one outer London home went zero-carbon

Blog from a climate-conscious science communicator. https://protonsforbreakfast.wordpress.com/my-house/

For homeowners, building societies such as Nationwide and Ecology Building Society may offer mortgages for energy efficiency improvements on favourable terms.

Fuel poverty and bills

Unfortunately we don’t have any expertise to offer to the many people struggling with bills. Fuel Poverty Action is also campaigning for more support for energy efficiency. National Energy Action has general advice and campaigns. Citizens’ Advice has a dedicated team for people having problems with their energy supplier or difficulty paying bills.

LEAP (Local Energy Advice Partnership) might be a good place to start to ‘keep warm and reduce energy bills’, but as of August 2022 has temporarily closed to new enquiries because of overwhelming demand. The advice line (0800 060 7567) and home checks are available to people on benefits or with household income less than £31,000.

Energy saving tips

If you don’t have the resources to improve the efficiency of the fabric of your home, you still may be able to reduce ‘sufficiency’ of energy usage. It’s not all about putting an extra sweater on. Here’s one list of tips: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/energy-saving-tips/
We have our own sets of tips, but also think everyone should be able to upgrade their home. If you agree, please take action here.

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