Alison's insulated home drives down energy costs
WINTER is coming and soon we shall all be grumbling about the cost of heating our houses and flats.
All except Alison Crane who lives in Cheltenham and whose 100-year-old home is snug and cosy after she insulated it a couple of years ago.
Alison moved into her semi-detached house in Naunton Lane, Leckhampton five years ago.
Being an old house it has no cavity in the wall, just one skin of brick between her and the outside elements.
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Alison, who works as an energy efficiency adviser, said: "The house has a big gable wall and that was very cold. All the windows were single-glazed and the kitchen door had a catflap and was very old.
"When the wind blew, standing by the door was just like being outside.
"We have gas central heating here, but the boiler would be on all the time, it would never get up to temperature and all the heat was getting out. So we were paying all this money to run the boiler and still being cold."
The first thing that Alison did was install double-glazing on all the windows. But the really big job was insulating the walls. Without a cavity between two layers of bricks her only option was a technique called solid wall insulation.
Fifty millimetres of a material called Solitex was applied to the outside of the walls of Alison's house, apart from the front, where it went on the internal wall, and then it was all covered in render.
The insulation was put on the inside of the front in order not to change the appearance of the house which was built in the early years of the last century.
Alison said: "That's a lot more complex than simple cavity wall insulation, and is more expensive. It cost about £8,000, but we had a grant of £3,000 and had to pay the rest."
She pointed out that grants of at least £5,000 were now available for the technique and after the work was done Alison kept a record of her gas bill.
She said: "My consumption was cut by 40 per cent, so nearly halved, and I saved nearly £200 pounds on my energy bill the year after it was done.
"It's definitely worth doing and especially for more modern homes with cavity walls, insulating that takes just a few hours. Energy bills are only ever going to go up, so it's a real investment. And if people can get a 50 per cent grant for the work, the other half can be paid for out of the savings on their fuel bill."
More information on grants for insulating your home can be found at a website run by Gloucestershire charity Severn Wye Energy Agency at www.swea.co.uk/warm-and- well.html
For advice on other options for funding insulation or other energy-saving measures under the Government's Green Deal initiative, Alison can be contacted on 01242 577671 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.