Prepared by:
Mattia Donadel; Eliana Caramelli;
Cristian Carraretto; Alessandro De Pol;
Alessandra Vivona; Valentina Zanfini;
Daniele Bandoni; Francesco Grazzi;
Marco Bianchi; Francesca Sandonà.
With contributions from:
Ros Bedlow; Cristine Binnie
Clive Streatfield; Elliot Bushay
December 2007
The sole responsibility for the content of this document lies with the authors. It does not
necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not
responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.
What are our Aims?
The aims of ECHO ACTION are at bringing about direct involvement on a European scale of
2000 households in an active process of turning lifestyles and energy consumption patterns towards
a model of sustainability.
This primary focus will encompass wide-ranging areas of relevance and equal importance; they will
include a focus on lifestyle and behavior with regards to rational use of energy, energy efficient
technologies which primarily seek to reduce demand and subsequent consumption of energy, an
increased share or opportunity to participate in the purchase and use of renewable energy
technologies; thereby contributing to reduced demand on energy from finite sources and increased
supply of energy from low or zero carbon technologies.
Within these three broad secondary areas of focus a wealth of opportunities exist in which
households can explore sources of alternative solutions for reducing the environmental impact of
lifestyles in the home and personal mobility.
In order to achieve significant short, medium and long term progress towards the levels of
consumption that will contribute to a shift towards sustainable consumption, households involved
will need support of various kinds from various sources. To this end, ECHO Action aims at bringing
about new and re-enforced relationships between households through the formation of working
groups, where networking, information and idea sharing can be of benefit to all participants, and
through new and re-enforced relationships between technology suppliers, financial institutes and
local authorities.
Here the aim is to develop improved understanding of the interests, needs and capabilities of the
parties involved, thereby creating opportunities for new or improved products, services and working
relationships for all parties involved.
What will be done?
Echo Action is organized on three levels: The first seeks to involve citizens and families, the end
consumers in an attempt to increase the demand for energy efficient products and services. The
second involves producers, distributors and suppliers of energy related products, services and
technologies in this process, whilst finally we explore the involvement of financial product suppliers
who can support the demand for rational use of energy efficiency and saving products and services
through the supply of specific financial schemes.
During the development of the project real solutions will be sought through the involvement of
families. Such solutions will concern both technical systems available on local market and financial
schemes aimed at energy saving and energy generation and will be specific for private use of energy
(heating and electricity) and personal mobility.
Local groups will be formed of those families living in the same apartment building, district or village,
but groups can also be formed from co-workers, church or community groups etc.
Each individual group will be supported by a facilitator who will act as their main point of contact,
the facilitator’s role will be to organise and bring families together to form strong working groups
through encouraging involvement and cohesion into the project. The secondary role of the facilitator
will be to provide information useful to participating households in achieving their desired goals,
identifying relevant market actors and supporting communication between local authority
departments in support of local/ specific interests and needs of the group in relation to the wider
borough wide, national or European objectives.
Throughout this path of change, the ECHO Action project foresees 3 levels of actions:
Level 1: critical review of behaviours and re-orientation of consumption patterns
Level 2: implementation of low cost improvements easy to realize
Level 3: Substantial improvements to the home or modes of personal mobility or
the realization of common interest actions (i.e. forming purchasing groups).
What do we hope to achieve?
Through taking part in ECHO Action, we plan for households to achieve the following:
Carrying out 1st and 2nd level actions (re-orientation of behaviours and low cost
The realization of substantial retrofit installations, by at least 10% of the families involved in
the project, in each partner city, obtaining a measurable total energy saving of electricity
and gas and fuel used for transport during the project year attributing to a comparable
reduction on CO2 emissions.
The creation of a network of specialised market actors in the field of rational use of energy
and renewable energy technology suppliers (RUE & RES), distributors and installers easily
accessible to the participating households via a “yellow pages” tool.
The creation of at least 10 purchasing groups to negotiate better market prices for specific
technologies or services.
The development of a consistent network of at least 40 cities as project “observer partners”.
European partners
Italy, AGIRE (Project Co-ordinator)
Germany, Berliner Energieagentur GmbH
Italy, Magvenecia
Lituania, KREA – Kaunas Regional Energy Agency
Italy, BPE – Banca Popolare Etica Scpa
Portogallo, Municipal Energy Agency of Sintra
Italy, ALERR – Agenzia
Sweden, City of Karlstad
Italia, City of Bologna
England, Energy Solutions NW London
Italia, City of Capannori
England, SEA-Renue Sustainable Energy Action
Italia, City of Venice
Bulgaria, Bourgas - Regional Agency for Energy
How to use the ECHO Action handbook
The ECHO Action handbook is divided into subject areas forming eight sections with a supporting
glossary; Introduction, Energy Use & CO2, The fabric of your home, Heating, Summer cooling &
Ventilation, Home Appliances, Sustainable & Renewable Energy Technologies and Sustainable
Mobility. Each section can be used as an individual reference point for a specific inquiry, but subject
areas are closely linked. So you might want to consider UK energy policy along with cavity wall insulation and U-values just before you do some background reading on heating appliance control for
The handbook is not intended to provide a comprehensive account of all the topics and issues
covered, as this would involve producing an equivalent sized handbook for each section covered.
Instead the handbook acts as a guide, introducing and expanding on some of the more common
and emerging energy related issues relevant to householder. Some areas are covered in more
details than others, but this does not reflect the relative importance of one over the other, but seeks
to offer guidance on some of the more common and immediate issues whilst providing food for
thought for longer-term actions.
Where groups or individuals require deeper information on subjects covered in the handbook
(or broader but equally relevant topics not included, such as food, water, materials and recycling),
supplementary information will be made available and can be requested from the group facilitator.
Unsustainable developments over the past 100 years
The planet we inhabit is sustained by a delicate balance of finite resources and a multiplicity of
ecosystems. This natural environment allows all life forms to exist and survive in relative harmony,
through the provision of resources, climates and cycles etc. essential to everyday life. However
resources can also be and are manipulated in different ways for the purpose of satisfying essential
and alternative needs and desires, mostly through the use of technology.
This use of technology to transform materials and resources into other forms inevitably has an impact
on the natural environment and society, which has increasingly become recognized as having a
negative effect or being unsustainable.
Individual technological choices and social values play a large part as does the role of government
and industry. Today and for over 100 years since the industrial revolution, the environmental impacts
can be seen in different forms of environmental destruction and pollution including land degradation
due to mining or the felling of forests or through atmospheric pollution due to the burning of fossil
fuels and dwindling resources.
There are many more examples of this type which can be seen as signs of the effects of lifestyles,
culture and a vision of the future if globally we are to carry on in this vein. As a result there has been
much debate surrounding global environmental issues as to what the causes are and how best to
address the problems.
Solutions for sustainable development
The solutions to achieving sustainable development are contained in the need to achieve sufficient
amounts of technological innovation coupled with education and social change. Technology has an
important role to play but in both cases we will find that less (technology/ consumption) is more.
Ultimately the level and rate of consumption will dictate the level of environmental sustainability
accomplished and the rate at which it is achieved.
Much is dependant on the level of environmental education, moral guidance and values that can be
encouraged in order to influence positive behaviour, possibly through grass roots initiatives such as
ECHO Action or the Findhorn Eco Village in Scotland (a bottom up approach), supported by
government policies and legislation (a top down approach). Included in this will be a matter of how
we physically achieve our personal, social and economic needs through the use of sustainable
technology and innovation.
The Situation in the UK
One of the fist collective responses to climate change in particular was seen in 1992 when the UK
amongst other leading world nations agreed to adopt the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change.
The convention highlighted amongst other things that; current climate change is a common concern
for all mankind; human activities have been substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations
of greenhouse gases which enhance the greenhouse effect; the largest share of historic and current
global emissions have originated in developed countries.
The next major agreement that followed was the Kyoto Protocol which came into force in February
2005. Here the UK was given the target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 12.5% of the levels
in 1990 by 2010. This was the contribution to the collective target of the European Union of an 8%
Since then, the UK the government has set a far more ambitious target to achieve a 60% reduction in
carbon emissions by the year 2050 as originally suggested by the Royal Commission on
Environmental Pollution.
UK Energy Policy
The main focus of UK policy is the energy white paper where all existing policies converge, providing
a framework for carbon reductions, affordable warmth, security of energy supply, and promotion of
competitive markets.
The most recent development in UK legislation is contained in the Climate Change Bill, introduced in
parliament in 2007 and shortly to be introduced to the House of Commons for consideration, having
successfully passed through the House of Lords.
The proposed bill provides a longer-term framework for the UK for achieving existing and newly
developed goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions and include amongst other targets; making a
60% reduction in Carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 legally binding; legally binding carbon budgets
to support medium and long-term reductions; new powers to enable government to implement
policies to cut emissions; regular reporting on current predicted impact of climate change and
proposals and policies for adaptations.
The aim of Parliament aim is to receive Royal assent for the bill in the summer of 2008, however some
areas of government and non governmental organisations are asking for the bill to be strengthened
even further.
Sustainable Communities
Sustainable communities are slowly emerging in pockets across the UK, and consist of energy and
environmentally conscious citizens who have chosen to take the initiative and responsibility for their
personal contribution to the proliferation of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and related
Through collaboration within the community, with local government bodies and economic actors,
growing networks of responsible and conscientious individuals, groups and organisations emerge in
support of each other and in an attempt to reduce their environmental impact. Groups can range
from large communities with economic and infrastructure support from government and may
encompass towns or villages, to smaller emerging community initiates such as ECHO Action which
are linked-in with the wider networks of sustainable communities.
This approach gives rise to opportunities for a decentralised energy service, an increase in the uptake
of renewable energy technologies, and the application of energy efficiency measures.
Communities and groups of this kind also act as a catalyst and indicator for the possible direction for
wider social change, which will be needed over the longer and medium term if the desired reductions
in resource and energy use are to be achieved.
Purchasing Groups
Purchasing groups or consumer co-operatives represent a long-standing and well-established model
of member participation in the form of basic organisational units. Han groups present a prime
example; established by the Japanese consumer Co-op in 1956, they have served as a model for
modern day co-operatives.
The basic principle of a purchasing group is a group of people that decide to collaborate to buy
products (usually food, but can be expanded to a range of products or services), on the basis of
ethical ideas such as the importance of relations between people, solidarity and respect for different
cultures and the environment.
The organisation of a purchasing
group is quite simple; the group
identify and choose
together a
product, producer and a person
responsible for collection of orders
and buy the goods that will be distributed among the members of the
group. Everyone pays his own share
according to the terms chosen by the
group (cash or special credit etc).
The criteria used to choose products
and producers are rigorous; together,
the group choose what and where to
buy on the basis of environmental
and ethical principles, respect for
nature and workers (organic products
and fair trade or guaranteed goods)
and use of local
production where possible, so the impact on environment due to transport is kept to a minimum.
The relationship between members of the co-op and producers is also important to ensure as much
as possible the products are produced in as sustainable manner as possible.
In the context of ECHO Action a purchasing group might mean households co-operating to obtain
better prices or conditions for goods and services; or creating physical or organisational structures
(biomass heating plants, photovoltaic or solar systems, car sharing, etc) to be shared among the
families which can serve as model or example for others.
Energy use and CO2
Energy supply and use probably have the largest environmental impact from human activities when
we take into account the process of fuel extraction, processing, right through to the emissions from
power stations and cars.
There are two fundamentally different sources of energy available to mankind – renewable and
non-renewable energy.
Renewable energy sources can be summarised as naturally occurring and naturally replenished flows
of energy. They include sunlight, wind, waves and tide. Of these, tidal energy is directed by the
gravitational pull of the moon, whereas wind and wave energy are indirect forms of solar energy.
Non-renewable forms of energy are those, which derive from fossil fuels, commonly known as coal,
gas or oil (depending location, duration, temperature and pressures), derivatives from dead plants
and animals buried under geological strata over millennia.
These fossil fuels are essentially stored solar energy, energy stored in the form of carbon, and energy
that is released again in the form of CO2 when burnt. The reason these forms of energy are non
renewable is that the rate at which we use them (specifically over the last 150 years) far outstrips the
rate at which new material can be laid down (millions of years).
Biomass such as wood grown in sustainable forest’s can be thought of as renewable, finally nuclear
energy released when atomic nuclei of certain materials such as uranium are disrupted cannot be
seen as renewable as reserves of this material are limited.
Carbon and CO2
Carbon is abundant in the earths crust and biosphere, existing in the forms of coal or diamonds, and
also happens to be the basis of over 20 million chemical compounds and thus the basis of life, as we
know it.
Born in dying stars, scattering when they explode, our solar system is formed from remnants of
carbon; the only element capable of forming robust single bonds with other atoms at ambient
temperatures making it the chemical backbone and building block of the living world. We find it
contained in proteins, carbohydrates, DNA, footballs, plastics, feathers and as mentioned it’s also
natural gases, coal and oil, most of which was formed in the carboniferous period 354 to 290 million
years ago.
So how did carbon get such a bad reputation?
CO2 is formed through the combustion of carbon in fossil fuels, trees and dung, it is the burning of
fossil fuels, which contributes to the problems we are experiencing today with climate change in
particular. Prior to the advent of the steam engine, fossil fuels were
largely buried and sequestered under the earth and sea until demand for
fuel to power the steam engine and economies allowed it to be unlocked,
releasing CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate of 27 million metric tones per
year attributing 36% more carbon in the atmosphere today than before
the industrial revolution.
Carbon dioxides heat trapping qualities mean that whilst the atmospheric
concentration of 280 parts per million (ppm) at the time just before the
industrial revolution around 1850 was conducive to long term climatic
sustainability, the 36% increase to 338 ppm which is expected to continue
to rise, suggests a major shift in the relative balance of our ecosystem.
Thus, contributing to long-term major environmental disturbances if
actions are not taken and solutions found to curb the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
The role of the householder
Even when energy efficiency of buildings and appliances have been achieved and low or zero carbon
technologies have been installed, there is still a great deal of responsibility on the people occupying
those premises to ensure that the technologies installed are in use and are being used in a way that
maximises their energy efficiency and minimises their environmental impact through the adoption of
low carbon lifestyles.
This can prove a greater challenge than insulating the home or installing energy efficient or
renewable energy technologies, as the task is to make changes to long established every day routines
and habits in the wake of a growing consumer culture and social pressure.
But it is people who are best positioned to adopt, adapt, and invent in order to facilitate and support
a shift in the social and cultural needs of the time.
The individual and collective involvement of citizens is crucial not just because our energy use
accounts for approximately 30% of carbon emissions in the UK, but also because citizens can support
or reject policy and strategies, choose to switch off or not, leave windows open, exercise rights to
choose appliance A over appliance B, ultimately having the opportunity to influence the route to and
success of strategies and schemes designed to reduce our overall impact on the environment.
Energy use and CO2
Energy in the home
We use energy in our homes to provide many essential things like heating, hot water and lighting.
Many homes have a variety of different kitchen appliances for doing laundry, washing dishes, cooking
and refrigeration. Home entertainment systems, computers and the internet fill our living space with
an array of electrical equipment.
The energy we use in the home is responsible for around 30% of all CO2 emissions in the UK.
The way we use energy and how much we use for each activity is shown in the chart below. Generally
the majority of energy is used to provide heating and hot water and can represent as much as 83% of
total energy use depending on the age of your home and the efficiency standards it was built to.
Lighting and appliances is the second largest consumer of energy followed by cooking.
The efficient use of energy in the home is important if we are to reduce our overall CO2 emissions and
tackle the problems of climate change. There are many ways that we can save energy in the home.
Equipment and appliances can be replaced with the most up to date and efficient models. We can
change our behavior by thinking more carefully about the energy we are using and turning off lights
and equipment that is usually left on stand-by.
Energy use and CO2
High and low use depends on the size of household and energy use behavior.
Yearly CO2 emissions
Medium size building, well insulated
2500 kg
Same building not insulated
4200 kg
6 hours on water heater
1000 kg
Always on water heater
2100 kg
Heating system 18°C
2900 kg
Heating system 22°C
3600 kg
A CLF bulb
210 kg
Standard bulb
360 kg
Energy saving washing machine at 30°:
250 kg
Standard washing machine at 90°C
360 kg
Average Free and low cost measures to save energy
Free Actions
Use natural light where possible, it is better and free. Keep windows clean and free from
Only use the lights you really need – switch lights off when you leave a room.
In the morning open the curtains ones rather than to switch on the light.
Clean periodically the light bulbs from the dirt.
Low cost actions
Change bulbs to an energy saving type with consumption. Depending on how long your
lights are in use every day, just one energy saving light bulb could save you up to £7 and
26 kilograms of CO2 a year. And because it will last up to 10 times longer than a standard
bulb, it could save you around £60 before it needs replacing. Make sure lights are
positioned correctly to maximise the light on the working area.
Install occupancy or motion sensors which switch lighting on and off.
Energy use and CO2
TV, computer and other battery appliances
Free actions
Avoid leaving TVs, hi fi’s or videos on standby. Turning off your TV, video and hi-fi
instead of leaving them on standby could save the equivalent of 60% of the electricity
you use playing music or watching your favourite soap. The money saved could be put
towards some brand new CD's.
Set up the option "energy saving" on the PC.
Switch off the PC monitor when not in use for longer than 15 minutes.
Switch off the computer when it is not in use for at least an hour, the idea that frequent
switching on and off of the system can damage the machine is false.
Switch off mobile phone and other battery chargers when charging is complete. Leaving
them plugged in and switched on still uses electricity even when not connected to the
phone or device. This is normally true for all block transformer type chargers and plugs.
Low cost actions
Purchase a power saver device
that switches off all computer
peripherals and entertainment
equipment in one action rather
than being left using power on
stand by.
KWh per
Cost per
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Low usage
High Usage
Washing machine
Tumble dryer
Energy use and CO2
Low cost actions Cont.
When purchasing new appliances, always purchase ‘A’ rated products which
display the energy efficiency logo. They may cosy slightly more but use less energy.
For washing machines, it is better to buy one that uses the least water; less energy will be
used to heat the water.
Buy a refrigerator that is the right size for your family and home.
Free actions
When cooking choose the right pan size for the food and the cooker, cut food into smaller
pieces and put lids on pans as the food will then cook a lot quicker.
If you are defrosting food, or just warming things up, then microwave ovens are ideal as
they use much less electricity than conventional ovens.
Attainable savings and costs of some simple interventions
Example 1 - Substitution of regular bulbs with low energy bulbs
Osram and Greenpeace data.
The cost of an energy saving light bulb is repaid in approximately 1 year
Example 2 - Application of reflecting panels behind the heaters
A pack of 10 radiator panels (4-5 radiators) costs around £32.00. Independent testing through the Energy Saving Trust established that fitting radiator panels can yield fuel savings of up to 12%.
Generally for each square meter of panel that is installed approximately 134 KWh of gas per annum
can be saved.
Energy use and CO2
Heating system
Free Actions
Set heating timer appropriately.
Use your heating to reach the temperature you need and make sure you know how to
use the controls properly. If your house is too hot, don't open the windows - turn the
thermostat down instead.
Setting the thermostat your domestic water heated to 60°C/140°F is quite adequate.
Keep furniture away from radiators, and if possible avoid covering radiators,
The sun is the most readily available source of heat there is - and the cheapest! So
make the most of it by opening internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than
others and let the warm air travel through your home.
Low cost Actions
Install radiator reflector panels behind radiators on external walls.
Install thermostatic valves on the radiators
Fit a programmer, timer and thermostats that allow you to zone different areas of the
Free actions
Regularly defrost your freezer and try to keep it packed full, even if this is with
scrunched up paper to avoid wasting energy.
Check the seals on your fridge/freezer to ensure no warm air is getting in - the seals
should be tight enough to hold a piece of paper securely when closed.
Try to have full loads when using the washing machine and use the lower 30°C wash.
With today's washing powders this temperature is more than adequate to clean clothes
and will save you up to three quarters of the cost of the hottest cycle.
Only use the dishwasher for full loads and use an ECO setting.
Avoid using tumble driers and radiators to dry your clothes; on nice sunny days clothes
can be dried outside.
Energy use and CO2
The fabric of your home
Heat loss from houses
Heat is constantly on the move, flowing from hotter areas to cooler ones. As a result, on colder days,
depending on how well insulated our homes are, we need to replace the heat that is continually
escaping to ensure a constant and comfortable temperature is maintained.
The most common parts of the home where heat can escape are through: walls, windows, roofs, and
will find its way out through two main ways:
Fabric heat loss is when heat is lost or transferred through the actual fabric of the building and
includes all the elements mentioned above which come into contact with outside air or are adjacent
to an unheated space such as a stairwell or garage. Just as a flask of hot tea will eventually lose its
heat when tightly sealed, so the heat in a well insulated house will eventually flow through its
external elements.
Ventilation heat loss occurs as a result of airflow in and out of the home through controlled fittings
such as windows and vents and air infiltration through gaps in window and doorframes, floors,
electrical and plumbing outlets. The warm air that escapes is automatically replaced by cold air from
outside which requires heating up and so we have a continual cycle. However, some forms of
ventilation are needed in the home - see the section on ventilation for more details on how to
manage and control airflow in the home.
Fabric heat loss
The amount of heat loss through the fabric of your home is dependent on three main factors:
The type of building materials
The external area of the house or element
The difference between internal and external air temperature
Here we will focus on building materials as this is the most relevant subject of the three but
further information on any subject can be provided on request.
Building Materials
Building materials are important for two reasons, firstly, because some materials are simply better at
conducting or resisting the flow of heat, and secondly because the thickness of the material will
determine to a large extent the rate at which heat travels through a given material.
Heat loss through different building materials
The external parts of a home are made up of different materials, wood, glass, bricks or concrete etc.
Each of these elements will allow heat to flow from the inside out at different rates, meaning some
parts of the structure will be better at keeping the heat in than others.
Metal is a good conductor of heat, so window frames made of metals, which tend to be relatively thin
will generally lose a lot of heat. Bricks are much thicker and are poor conductors due to the type and
construction of the material.
Insulation materials such as mineral wool and or expanded polystyrene are extremely poor
conductors of heat and can provide significant barriers to heat flow in fairly small thickness, however
for the greatest effect and to achieve significant reductions in heat loss, these materials need to be
used in a thickness of at least 50 mm on walls and 200 mm in roof areas.
There is a standard measure in Europe, which is used to indicate the different rates at which heat
flows through various types of material in different parts of the home, this is known as the U-value;
the lower the U-value, the lower the rate at which heat will escape.
The U-value is a measure of the rate in watts at which heat will flow through one square metre of any
given material of a particular thickness with a 1 degree Celsius difference between the inside and outside.
The U-value is the scientific symbol for expressing conductance, the calculation for which is usually
‑expressed as Wm²K (watts per metre squared Kelvin, where Kelvin is a basic unit of thermodynamic
temperature). The table below lists some typical U-values for different parts of the home; they represent the values taken into account when carrying out a home energy audit or audit of other types of
Table of typical and improved U-values for different element types in the home
Single glazed metal frame window
Single glazed wooden framed window
Solid brick wall (250mm thickness)
Uninsulated pitched roof
Unfilled cavity wall
Suspended timber floor
Flat roofs
Typical U-value
Improvement measure
Double glazed (16mm gap)
Double glazed (16mm gap)
50mm internal insulation
250mm mineral wool
Filled cavity wall
100mm insulation
Insulated flat roof
The Fabric of your Home
Improved U-value
Heat loss through specific areas and possible solutions
Windows are made up of relatively thin materials when compared with other external parts of the
home and as a result lose a lot of heat. This is through both fabric and ventilation heat loss if frames
are not well sealed.
Solutions for insulating windows
Where existing windows and frames are in need of replacement, the whole window frame and glazed
area need to be considered in order to achieve an effective
U-value. Double-glazing is the most effective way of
achieving low U-values, however basic double glazing is no
longer sufficient in terms of achieving the levels of
reductions in energy use required today, and more
advanced standards have been set which accommodate
improvements in glazing technology.
The British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) has developed a system for comparing the overall energy performance of windows that can be used as a guide when specifying replacement windows.
The rating is based on a calculation for the total energy
flow through a window taking into account the frame and
glazing over the course of a year.
Typically the majority of windows will experience a
negative rating, indicating that over the course of a year
there will be a net loss of heat through the window.
This is expected for typical single and standard double
glazed windows.
Very high performance windows will achieve a positive
rating (A-B) indicating a net inflow of heat over the course of a year.
This new rating system represents a more consumer friendly approach to identifying the energy
performance of windows and links in with ratings for energy performance of appliances and homes.
The Fabric of your Home
Glazing technologies
Low emissivity coatings (Low-e)
Low-e coatings are applied to a pane of glass in the form of microscopic layer of metal or metal oxide, preventing long-wave
thermal radiation from passing out through the window whilst
allowing shot-wave solar radiation to pass through into the
Gas filled units
The gap between the inner and outer pane of a double glazed
unit can be filled with a gas (usually Argon). Argon is a slow
moving gas, which reduces the overall transfer of heat through
minimising the convection current between panes.
Some residential areas are classified as conservation areas
meaning that properties or the surrounding landscape possess
some historic or cultural value, which is desirable and needs to be
preserved. Properties in such areas might need to seek special
permission from local authorities if distinguishing features of a property such as external windows
and doors were to be significantly altered, by installing double glazing for example.
Secondary glazing
Secondary double-glazing is the next best alternative to installing sealed double glazed units. They
can be a cost effective and solution if the existing windows are sound and in good condition and
there is a desire to improve the overall thermal efficiency of the window. Unlike double-glazing, a
wide variety of options exist in type and price, which can be installed DIY, or by professional glazers.
This is also a suitable alternative for insulating windows in listed buildings or buildings located in
conservation areas.
External doors are subject to the same types of heat loss as windows; again they are made of relatively thin sections of wood, are usually not well insulated and can have letterboxes that allow significant drafts. If a door has large amounts of glazing, greater fabric heat loss will be experience than
through solid doors.
Solutions for insulating doors
External doors can be replaced with insulated doors if/ when they need replacing and can be done at
little or no extra cost. Insulated solid doors are usually provided as a fixed unit, and if glazed can
achieve U-values similar or better than those achieved by windows. However the highest priority for
external doors is usually draft proofing. See our draft proofing section below.
The Fabric of your Home
External walls are generally quite thick and are made of materials that are relatively poor conductors
of heat; however they do make up the majority of the external exposed surface area of a home, as a
result accounting for a significant proportion of the heat loss from a dwelling.
Heat is lost again through both ventilation and the fabric of the walls as they contain thousands of
small gaps and flaws where air is constantly moving.
Housing in the UK is typically constricted in one of two ways, cavity or solid wall. Solid walls are as
they sound usually a brick and a half thick and can also be made from stone or concrete slabs.
Cavity walls on the other hand again are as they sound, consisting of two separate walls with usually a
75 mm gap in between. Cavity walls were introduced in the 1930’s due to dampness problems
experienced with solid walls, particularly brick as its porous material absorbed rainwater in highly
exposed areas. At present approximately half the homes in the UK are built with cavity walls.
Cavity wall insulation
Cavity wall insulation is simple and cost effective. It can be applied to most houses with cavity walls
and generally involves drilling a series of holes in the outer wall of your house and blowing the
insulation material into the cavity.
Cavity wall insulation is the most cost-effective measure after loft insulation. It is a simple solution,
which can reduce heat loss through the wall by up to 60%.
On average 33% of heat in a home is lost through the walls, so for a non-insulated house that’s £1 of
heat escaping for every £3 spent heating it.
Cavity insulation represents an annual heating bill saving between £70 and £100, year on year for the
lifetime of the house. The average cost of cavity wall insulation is around £300 before grants or discounts, an investment recovered in approximately 3 years after your installation. To cover the cost of
installation, there are grants and offers from both local authorities and energy suppliers.
Most cavity wall insulation is guaranteed for at least 25 years, so it represents sound financial
judgement. It also makes your home more comfortable, reaching your desired temperature more
quickly as well as more efficiently. It can also prevent excessive heat building up inside your home
during hot spells in summer.
The Fabric of your Home
Solid Wall insulation
External solid wall insulation is more complicated and costly than cavity wall insulation. It involves
insulation and weatherproofing for external walls. Usually, a layer of render or cladding is fixed to the
outside surface of the wall, onto which a decorative finish is applied, providing the
weatherproofing. It is particularly cost effective when outside walls need repairing or re-rendering.
The other alternative and more common method of solid wall insulation is to insulation of the
interior side of the external walls. Commonly known as dry lining, this method is best done when
any significant work is required to be done on the interior side of external walls. If work is to be done
such as re-plastering, this represents an ideal opportunity to carry out this type of work as the only
significant additional cost is that of the insulating material as little extra labour is involved.
It is still a major piece of work, as skirting, fittings, piping, doors and window surrounds will have to
be removed and re-fitted but as mentioned if planned works are scheduled it is well worth factoring
in insulation in order to take advantage of the opportunity.
Improving wall insulation is an excellent route to reducing energy use and costs for heating and
cooling by reducing unwanted thermal heat losses and gains.
Typical annual savings from insulation of solid walls:
Annual saving
from £30/m2
£160 - £200
Advantages and disadvantages of the internal wall insulation:
Much less expensive than external insulation.
Can be installed DIY or by non-professional installer.
No changes in the external shape of the building.
Easy mounting (no need of frames and ladders)
The internal temperature of walls is more readily maintained
Thermal bridges remain.
Difficult to attach heavy items to the walls.
The surface floor area of the room is reduced.
Doors, window frames, sinks electrical sockets and plugs must be removed and replaced,
adding significantly higher cost if replacement or refurbishment is not needed or planned.
The Fabric of your Home
Roof insulation
Insulation of a poorly insulated roof can result in heating cost reduction of as much as 20% or more.
Most UK houses have some level of loft insulation, but many achieve 150 mm or less upon inspection
and where practical should be topped up to at least 250 mm depending on the insulating material;
Glass wool, Rock wool or Mineral fibre.
A depth of 270 mm is the current standard required for new homes in the UK, it is not often
necessary to go above this in the current climate but developments wanting to achieve zero carbon
status would typically install a minimum of 250 – 300 mm of insulation depending on the building
Typically a high standard is achieved by insulating in-between the ceiling joists and then across the
top of the ceiling joists, this technique helps to avoid cold-bridging. Secondly the loft hatch should
also be draft proofed and insulated on the top side. Pipes and tanks should also be insulated to
avoid freezing during particularly cold times of year.
Existing insulation
Annual saving
Payback time
0 mm
£ 120-150
£ 180
less than 2 years
50 mm
£ 40-60
£ 210
4-5 years
Typical savings summary for loft insulation measures
Flat roofs
Where flat roofs are present, there are two main techniques available for insulation. Warm deck flat
roof Insulation is installed on a roof deck above the joists and covered by a waterproof membrane.
This method involves laying rigid insulation board on top of the roof deck with a vapour check
between the roof deck and insulation to avoid any risk of condensation. A weatherproof finish
bonded at the edges to the vapour check is then added. Checks need to be done to ensure that the
roof joists are able to take the extra weight of any ballast materials.
Cold deck flat roof insulation is added below the roof deck in the hollow space just above the
internal ceiling. The insulation involves removing the original ceiling, pushing mineral fibre (usually
100 mm thick) up between the joists, and then fitting a vapour check before adding a new
plasterboard ceiling. A gap of 50 mm in depth must be left between the top surface of the insulation
and the underside of the roof deck to allow for ventilation through the roof structure.
Cold deck construction is not generally recommended because of the difficulty of ensuring effective
ventilation of the void between the top of the insulation and the underside of the deck.
Both methods of flat roof insulation will provide the same effective amount of heat loss reduction,
but both require a considerable amount of structural work and can be quite expensive and have
lengthy payback times depending on the size of the roof but if the roof is in need of repair or
replacement then it will cost very little to add insulation at the same time.
The Fabric of your Home
Suspended timber floors
The first area to tackle when considering insulating floors are the gaps around the skirting boards
and in-between the floor boards if you have suspended timber floor. These are common sources of
draughts which can be easily remedied using regular silicone, draught proofing sealants, or a wood
glue and sawdust combination for smaller gaps in need of minor attention.
If access is available suspended timber floors can be insulated from below, the joists should be completely filled with insulation sealing all gaps and voids and pushed up snug (but not compressed) to
the under surface of the floor. The insulation can be held in place with springy metal rods, wood
lathes, plastic mesh or webbing.
Metal rods or spring rods are preferred as they provide rigid support and are less likely to sag under
the weight of the insulation leading to gaps which will compromise the integrity of the insulation.
If work is to be done and floorboards are to be taken up, an opportunity arises to insulate from above
the floor. If access from below is restricted this opportunity should be taken as the only extra cost will
be that of the insulation and the extra work involved will be marginal.
Solid floors
Insulating solid floors represent a very different proposition; usually a floating floor will be installed.
The floating floor technique is similar to that of dry lining or internal solid wall insulation. A rigid
polystyrene insulation board is laid on top of the solid floor with the layers separated by batons. A
vapour check is laid on top followed by a plywood or chipboard floating floor.
Both systems are as effective as each other, but any costs savings are likely to be minimal unless
floors are particularly draughty and exposed.
The drawback of insulating solid floors in this way include higher floor heights, so doors, skirting
boards and fittings will need to be adjusted to accommodate for the new height.
The Fabric of your Home
Most heating systems are made up of three main parts: the boiler that generates the heat that warms
the radiators (fans or coils) and the heating control system.
Often taking for granted until it decides to stop working, the heating system is the engine room of
the home. In pre-industrial times this would have been the coal or log fire providing an obviously
physical and visual point of reference, highlighting its importance in the home. Today heating
systems are much more discrete and subtle but no less important. Not just because of the service it
provides but the energy required in order for the needs of the householder to be met.
Each of the above-mentioned components of a typical heating system has an important role to play if
heating demands are to be met in a cost effective and energy efficient way. If one component stops
working or is not working to its potential, the effect may be felt by the other components and
subsequently by the home, the householder, and the environment.
There are five main types of fixed heating systems found in use in the UK
Wet central heating systems using boilers and heat emitters (usually radiators).
Warm air – again running off a boiler
Electric storage heaters
Under floor heating
Individual room heaters.
An overriding factor which influences running costs and CO2 emissions is the type of fuel used to
generate heat in the home. Other important factors that influence the running costs and CO2
emissions include:
The efficiency of the specific heating system.
The amount of heat that the system needs to supply to maintain comfortable living
temperatures (which will be higher in larger, poorly insulated dwellings).
The presence of heating controls.
The occupants’ heating requirements and practices.
Central heating boiler systems
There are three main types of central heating boiler:
Regular boilers (which provide hot water via a separate storage tank).
Combination or ‘comb boilers’ (which provide ‘instant’ hot water at mains pressure
Thermal stores (including separate stores and combined primary storage units – ‘CPSUs’)
Regular boilers or CPSUs are normally used in larger houses; combi boilers are generally used in
small houses or large flats as there is no need for a hot water storage tank which can take up vital
space. Boilers are predominantly run on mains gas, or occasionally oil or liquefied petroleum gas
(LPG). Some direct-acting electric boilers and solid fuel boilers are available, but these can be more
expensive to run and cannot be recommended where other fuel sources are available.
Boilers on the market include:
Condensing boilers
From 1 April 2005 new building regulations in England stipulated that any new boiler installed in a
new or existing dwelling should meet a minimum efficiency rating of 86%, n efficiency only achievable with condensing boilers.
There are exceptions to this in special circumstances, for example; where the installation would prove
significantly costly as condensing boilers have special installation requirements different to normal
boilers; the floor space of the property does not exceed 50m2; the boiler being replaced is a back
So what’s so special about a condensing boiler?
The condensing boiler is another technological innovation designed to make significant savings in
energy use cost and emissions due to its high efficiency in use, when converting natural resources
(gas, oil) into useful heat, significantly greater than standard boilers. Typically 86% – 92% compared
with 60% - 70%.
Condensing boilers have similar features as non condensing boilers, but they have a larger heat
exchanger which extracts more heat from the hot flue gases which would normally evaporate into
the outside air.
In a conventional boiler, the hot flue gases are normally at a temperature of 120 - 200 0C, a condensing boiler will extract heat from these hot flue gases and use it as useful heat energy to produce heat
inside the home. As the water vapour in the flue gas condenses, the resulting liquid is drained away
through a white plastic condensate pipe to the outside of the building.
Good savings are achieved when upgrading almost all boilers which are over 15 years old. A new
boiler plus the right heating controls can cut fuel bills by 20-25 per cent. If the old boiler is located on
an external wall, the change should be relatively straightforward – as the new flue and condensate
pipes can be easily located.
Dwellings with an centrally located boiler (such as a room heater with back boiler) will need a suitable
external wall to have a condensing boiler fitted.
Condensing Boilers have the best performance if they work in a range of temperature between 25°C
and 40°C; at these temperatures they are actually operating in condensing mode, however condensing boilers are often more efficient even when not operating in condensing mode due to their larger
and more efficient heat exchanger.
Choosing an energy efficient boiler
The SEDBUK - Seasonal efficiency of domestic boilers in the UK provides simple energy efficiency
values divided into rating bands of A to G for all boilers sold in the UK. The method was developed
under the governments best practise program with the cooperation of boiler manufactures in-order
to achieve a fair comparison between different boilers. The rating is based on information sent by
boiler manufacturers about their products, which are checked against industry test results. Factors
considered include; average annual efficiency achieved in a typical domestic setting, climate, control,
patterns of usage and other influences. Finally the boiler is given a SEDBUK rating as a guide to help
consumers when choosing a new boiler.
SEDBUK range
90% and above
86% - 90%
82% - 86%
78% - 82%
74% - 78%
70% - 74%
below 70%
Other forms of heating
Condensing boilers are the most efficient approach to providing heating to the majority homes
through the use of fossil fuels, but there will always be circumstances where alternatives will be used
for various reasons.
If there is no gas supply too the building
If the existing boiler does not need replacing
If finances can not stretch to install a central heating system in an existing home etc
Popular alternatives include:
Room heaters:
Often used to provide additional background heat, supplementing the main heating system. To help
control the level of heating in different areas (i.e. living room/bedroom) room heaters must be fitted
with time and temperature controls.
Radiant convector heaters
Provide radiant and convective heat.
Decorative fuel-effect fires are typically 20-25 per cent efficient and are totally inset
within the fireplace opening. Very little heat is produced and their use is mainly
Inset live fuel effect fires are partially inset within the fireplace and flames are usually
open. Typically 40 to 70 per cent efficient, depending on the design.
Flue less fires are individual heaters without a flue and which must have enough fresh air
brought into the room from outside for their safe operation (typically 90 per cent
Bottled gas portable heaters
High running costs.
High risk of condensation through the production of water vapour (about 1kg of water
per kg of liquid gas).
Electric heaters
Are 100 per cent efficient, but the most expensive when run on full price tariff.
Fan heaters and bar fires should be used for supplementary heating only.
Oil-filled radiators should be run on cheap rate electricity tariffs, where possible.
Panel heaters are often used to supplement storage heaters as part of an electric central
heating system; they should have time and thermostatic control.
Storage heaters are expensive to run and often do not provide the required heat from
electricity generated from an economy 7 tariff, resulting in heat being generated on an
expensive on-peak electricity tariff.
Solid fuel room heaters and stoves
Require a storage area for the fuel.
Dampeners are included which control the combustion air supply.
Multi-fuel appliances can be run on anthracite, house coal, wood or manufactured coal
(e.g. coalite)
Burning wood from a sustainable source has lower CO2 emissions.
Open fires combined with a high output back boiler are around 70 per cent efficient.
Stoves can include back boilers to provide heating and hot water.
Open fires without back boilers require the installation of throat restrictors to control the amount
of over-fire air being withdrawn from the room and therefore will improve efficiency
(least efficient).
The correct positioning of the radiators in a room is fundamental for having a good thermal yield of
the heating system and consequently to reduce energy use.
It is good practice to place the heaters under the windows or along the external walls in order to
contrast the effect of the cold currents and in order to reduce the temperature difference between
ceiling and floor.
For aesthetic reasons, the radiators are often covered with furniture or placed in niches carved in the
wall, equipped with a panel of frontal closing; these practices diminish the heating power of the
radiator due to the limitation of the air circulation, an important feature for room heating. If the
radiator is placed on the external wall (as an example under a window) it can be useful to insert,
between the wall and the radiator, an insulating panel usually radiator reflector foil, particularly useful
where the wall is not insulated.
Typical heating costs for an average sized house
Heating system type
Solid fuel
Condensing boiler
Conventional boiler
Condensing boiler
Conventional boiler
Solid fuel room heater using anthracite
Economy 7 - storage heaters in living rooms & panel heaters
in bedrooms + immersion heater for hot water (assuming 90%
night rate and 10% day rate tariff).
On peak electricity for electric heaters and immersion heater
Annual Cost £
Typical heating cost for heating a room
Cost £
Type of room heater
Decorative effect open fire
Solid fuel
Open fire using Housecoal
Electric fire - on peak
Bottled gas heater
Typical hourly cost of different heating types
Heater type
Cost pence/hr
Solid fuel
Closed room heater using anthracite
Radiant/convector fire
Decorative effect open fire
Convector heater / oil filled heater/ electric bar fire
Solid fuel
Open fire using Housecoal
Solid fuel
Open fire using Homefire Ovals
Portable bottled gas heater (Butane)
Using the most efficient system that is practical at the time or for planning the installation of a more
efficient system when the opportunity arises is recommended. However any heating system needs to
be considered in the context of the property it will be use in and a well-insulated property is usually
the precursor to an energy efficient system, which can be relatively smaller due to the reduced heating requirements through the improved efficiency of insulation measures.
Hot water
Hot water consumption can account for a large percentage of total energy use, especially in a
modern, well-insulated dwelling.
There are several ways in which hot water can be supplied, the most common forms are:
Hot water cylinders which are indirectly heated by a boiler or room heater with a back-boiler.
A combination boiler which directly heats the water.
Hot water storage cylinders incorporating electric immersion heaters (using on-peak or offpeak electricity).
Dwellings also often contain a variety of other appliances that supply hot water, the most common
being electric instantaneous showers and over-sink heaters.
If hot water is provided via a combination boiler, CPSU or a storage combination boiler then it is only
generally possible to upgrade the water heating when replacing the boiler.
Hot water cylinder jacket
Hot water cylinders lose heat over time and require the boiler to fire to maintain a suitable
temperature – this uses energy and costs money.
Annual saving
Approx £18
Installed cost
from £9
Installed payback
around 6 months
Please note that:
• Insulating an un-insulated or poorly insulates hot water cylinder is a priority measure.
• Hot water cylinders can be insulated at any time.
• Adding a cylinder jacket is very cost-effective. A jacket fitted to an un-insulated hot water
cylinder can save twice its own cost in the first year.
• Any hot water jacket less than 80mm thick should be upgraded.
A variety of differently sized cylinder jackets is available. Jackets should be fitted with belts to fasten
snugly around the cylinder, which will reduce heat losses even further.
Like with the fabric of the home, insulating the cylinder to a good standard also serves a secondary
purpose of reducing the possibility of overheating in the summer.
Replacing hot water cylinders
Replacing a defective component such as a leaking hot water cylinder is a good opportunity to
specify a high performance hot water cylinder. A high-performance hot water store (either vented or
un-vented) will:
Have 50-80 mm of factory-applied insulation.
Incorporate a high recovery coil which provides quicker heating of the hot water.
Improve the overall seasonal efficiency of the heating system.
Allow for a smaller cylinder to be specified.
Hot water pipe work
Insulation of primary pipe work between the hot water cylinder is advisable especially when there are
large distances between the tank and taps, helping to reduce heat lost when water is pumped between services.
This can apply to combination boilers where especially long distances exist between the boiler and
taps. Pipes are not usually easily accessible but when opportunities arise due to building, decorating
or renovation work they should be taken.
Tanks and pipe work in the loft should always be insulated, to prevent freezing and the risk of burst
pipes during winter months.
Heating control
The regulation of a heating system represents the total operations needed to obtain and to maintain
the desired ambient temperature and comfort in the home, in relation to the external temperature.
Through a regulated system it is possible to control all the operations of the heating system
automatically. In some cases, controls are present for regulating the operation of the boiler
according to the external temperature.
Advanced systems are those dividing the home in zones, for example two thermostats for example
separate thermostats for separate parts of the home (controlled zones) or thermostatic radiator
valves (TRV’s) on radiators.
Timing and temperature controls are an important part of any heating system to ensure the heating
system is working only when it is needed. They can be easy to over ride in special circumstances, but
if used correctly will help achieve the required comfort and temperature all year round cost
effectively and efficiently as the more control you have over your heating the more control you have
over your energy use, emissions and fuel bills.
Heating controls may be upgraded at any time but the most cost-effective time is when the boiler is
being replaced or when carrying out other work on the heating system. The table below provides a
summary of the costs for a full heating control package
Installed cost
Annual saving
Installed payback
around £200
around 3 years
A good control package for a boiler system should include:
A programmer capable of timing the space heating and hot water separately.
Room thermostats.
Thermostatic radiator valves
Hot water cylinder thermostat.
To achieve the maximum potential from a system, additional advanced controls include:
Intelligent heating controls
Boiler energy manager
Load and weather compensator
Full zone control
Programmer or timer
The Programmer is used to tell the boiler what time of day to start the heating and when it should be
shut off. Ideally a good programmer will allow separate timing for heating and hot water periods although this is necessary only where a hot water storage cylinder is present.
If separate patterns are needed for weekdays and weekends, a digital programmer is preferable as
they normally allow 7-day timing for both space and hot water.
As a general rule timers should be set to come on ½ an hour before the first person gets up in the
morning and to go off ½ an hour before the last person leaves the home. This applies to coming
home in the evening and before going to bed at night. In both cases the home will be warm when it
needs to be, and as the ½ hour periods account for the time it takes the home to warm up and cool
As properties and routines are different these times will vary, but are a good starting point for managing heating demand.
Room thermostat
A Room thermostat tells the boiler when the desired room temperature has been reached, in return
the boiler stops firing turning the boiler and eventually the heating pump off. Room thermostats are
usually best located in the main living area about 1.5m up from floor level as this is the area where
the temperature is likely to be most stable and the desired temperature should be reached.
If located in a hallway or close to a radiator, the room thermostat may be prone to give inaccurate
messages to the boiler. For example if in a draughty hallway it will send a signal telling the boiler to
fire even if the living room area has reached its desired temperature. Or if located above a radiator, it
will signal the boiler to switch off before the desired room temperature has been reached.
A room thermostat and programmer can be combined into a single device called a ‘programmable
room thermostat’.
Thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s)
Thermostatic radiator valves are fitted to individual radiators in place of hand valves and have a
range of temperature settings, signalling the valve to open or close automatically according to the
desired setting. The opening and closing of the valve reduces the flow of water to the radiator as the
thermostat reaches its set temperature, thus controlling the amount of heat the radiator gives out.
TRV’s are installed so different rooms can be kept at individual temperatures (a form of zone
control), they should not be fitted to a radiator in the same room as a room thermostat as conflict
may arise between the two sensors.
Cylinder thermostat
The cylinder thermostat signals the boiler when the required temperature inside the hot water
cylinder has been reached (recommended temperature is 60ºC). Without the cylinder thermostat, the
boiler will continuously heat the water in the cylinder to temperatures high above what is needed by
the user.
It is also important that the hot water can be controlled separately from
the central heating system to prevent the boiler unnecessarily heating
water in the cylinder if hot water is not needed.
Summer Cooling and Ventilation
Summer Cooling
During the summer the home can become overheated and require cooling down. The worst possible
method and most energy intensive is to use any form of air conditioning.
Try to get natural cross ventilation by opening windows and doors throughout the home.
Close the curtains or blinds in rooms that get lots of sunshine.
All dwellings require ventilation for a number of reasons:
For the health and comfort of occupants.
To ensure safe and efficient operation of combustion appliances (e.g. gas boilers) which
draw combustion air from within the dwelling.
To control condensation by the removal of moisture vapour.
To remove other pollutants and odours.
Condensation problems?
Common causes of condensation include:
Human activities, such as cooking and showering, washing and drying of clothes, which
release large amounts of water vapour.
The absence of purpose-provided ventilation, such as extract fans or occupants not
opening windows during activities such as showering, or cooking, to remove the excess
water vapour.
Inadequate heating and insulation – if indoor temperatures and surfaces are not maintained
above the ‘dew point’ temperature, water will condense out of the air and form surface
condensation and damp, which can lead to mould growth.
The main types of purpose-provided ventilation system are local extraction based on trickle vents
and extract fans, or Whole house ducted systems based on either passive stack ventilation or
mechanical ventilation with heat recovery.
Local extraction
Trickle vents and air bricks allow air flow through the windows and walls and are the simplest
method of providing background ventilation.
Extract fans
Extract fans move air out of the building, allowing a proper control and regulation of the air change
rate. They are usually fitted in rooms in which there is a consistent production of water vapour such
as the kitchen and bathroom. If they are installed with humidistats a control switches the fan on
automatically when air reaches a set humidity. 36
The main characteristics of extract fans:
Relatively cheap and easy to maintain.
Most effective when installed at high level away from the source of fresh air (internal doors
and trickle ventilators).
In the kitchen, ideally combined with a cooker hood.
The latest low-wattage fans incorporate DC motors and are very energy efficient.
Single room heat recovery ventilators are supply and extract fans combined, which recover heat from
the extracted, warm air and use it to warm up the incoming air. Thus, they provide rapid ventilation
without the associated heat loss.
Providing controllable ventilation, via ventilation systems such as extract fans, is essential to maintain
healthy living conditions. But in a typical two-storey semi-detached house approximately 15 to 20 per
cent of total heat loss is through uncontrolled ventilation. Any uncontrolled ventilation can be dealt
with by carrying out draught-proofing, sealing unwanted gaps and cracks around services, therefore
reducing any unwanted air leakage.
Please note: extract fans and other purpose-provided ventilation systems must NEVER be disabled.
Typical cost and savings:
Annual saving
from £5 - £30
Installed cost
from £65
Installed payback
around 4 years
Badly fitting doors, windows and loft hatches are all major sources of heat loss. Draught-stripping is
inexpensive and simple to install and can greatly improve comfort as well as reducing fuel costs.
An accurate estimate of potential fuel savings due to the fitting of draught-proofing is difficult, but
the benefits are quickly realised – mostly in terms of comfort.
Draught-proofing is inexpensive.
Easy DIY job.
Improved savings can be made by also sealing unwanted gaps and cracks in the building fabric, in
addition to draught-proofing doors, windows and loft hatches. However, these should only be tackled
after carrying out a pressure test.
Helpful tips
• Doors are a major source of draughts and should be draught-proofed as a priority.
• Letter boxes should be fitted with a letter box cover to reduce draughts.
• Use of lined curtains, blinds and shutters can help keep in the heat and prevent draughts.
• Loft hatches should be sealed to prevent warm moist air entering the roof space, resulting in
possible condensation and rot.
Cooling & Ventilation
Home Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances use less electricity and therefore cost less to run. There is ample evidence
that energy-efficient appliances are often no more expensive to buy than equivalent appliances that
are much less efficient. When buying an appliance, look for the following energy labels.
Energy labelling
In 1995 the European Union introduced a compulsory energy labelling scheme for household
appliances, covering refrigerators, freezers and fridge-freezers. This scheme has since been extended
to include washing machines, tumble dryers, washer-dryers, dishwashers, electric ovens and lamps.
Energy labels are displayed on these products in shops and showrooms, in order to allow potential
purchasers to compare their efficiencies.
The energy labels show estimated fuel consumption (based on standard test results) and an energy
grading from A to G, where A is the most efficient (for cold appliances, A++ is the most efficient). An
A-rated appliance will use approximately half as much electricity as a G-rated appliance.
However, the actual amount of electricity used will depend on how the appliance is used and where it
is located. For example, a cold appliance (such as a fridge) that is placed next to a heater or oven will
use more energy than one that is sited in a cooler place, so kitchen layout is important to energy
Some labels now also provide information on other aspects of the performance of the appliance, e.g.
washing performance, water usage per cycle, spin (for washing machines), etc.
A/A+ rated appliances
Typical annual saving (/yr)*
Fridge freezer (A+)
Chest freezer (A+)
Upright freezer (A+)
Refrigerator (A+)
Washing machine (A)
Dishwasher (A)
up to £45
Refrigerators and freezers
Refrigerators and freezers consume about one-sixth of all the electricity used in households, much
more than any other household appliance.
Purchasing considerations:
Select an A class model.
Select a refrigerator of the appropriate size for the household’s needs. Larger models use
more energy, as do refrigerators that are under-utilized or overly full.
Chest freezers are usually more efficient than upright freezers. They are better insulated, and
the cold air does not spill out when the door is opened. Automatic defrost freezers can
consume 40 to 50 percent more electricity than manual defrost models.
Maintenance recommendations:
Regular cleaning of the condenser coils every six to twelve months can improve the
efficiency by as much as 30 percent. Use extra caution to avoid damaging the coils.
Door seals should be airtight. To test them, close the door on a single sheet of paper and try
to pull it out. If it slides out easily, the gasket needs to be replaced to prevent cold air from
leaking out, or consider buying a new unit.
Place the refrigerator or freezer away from a potential heat source.
Keep the temperature inside the refrigerator between 3°C and 4°C. The freezer temperature
should be set between -18°C and -15°C for long-term storage or between -12°C and -10°C if
frozen foods are usually eaten quickly.
Unplug refrigerators and freezers that are not being used to prevent unnecessary energy
Energy efficiency of refrigerators that are 10 to 20 years old can be as much as 60% of that
of a current model.
Home Appliances
Ovens and ranges
An Energy rating is not currently given to ovens and ranges. However, there are items to consider in
purchasing and operating a stove that can lead to lower energy bills.
Purchasing considerations
Select a gas oven and range if possible. The major drawback to gas is the potential health
risks from the combustion by products. A proper ventilation system will minimize this risk.
Self-cleaning ovens are better insulated than other models, so they are more energyefficient when used appropriately.
Electric ranges containing ceramic, halogen, or induction range elements are more efficient
than the type containing electric coils. They are also easier to clean and allow for greater
temperature control.
Consider cooker hoods with a low-zone rating to eliminate noise and provide proper
ventilation. Select a model that exhausts fumes and moisture outside rather than
recalculating the air within the home. If a range hood is not possible, consider a
direct-vented stove if selecting a gas unit.
Maintenance recommendations:
The self-cleaning feature uses high amounts of energy and reduces the overall energy
savings of the model. Operate this feature only when necessary, no more than once a
month, and directly after using the oven to minimize energy consumption.
Many gas ranges offer pilot less ignition systems with a sealed burner. It is important to
keep the igniters clean to provide flawless ignition.
Overall, dishwashers are a better and more efficient way to clean dishes than hand washing. Efficient
models can use an average of 22 litres of water per load compared with hand washing, which can
use up to 26 litres of water for the same load. However, heating water accounts for more than 80
percent of the energy used by dishwashers to clean dishes. Newer, more efficient models save water
and energy and also tend to wash better.
Purchasing considerations:
Choose a model with a booster heater that has the ability to raise water temperatures to 60°C
to 63°C; this will allow additional energy to be saved by setting the water heater to 40°C.
Look for a dishwasher that provides enough cycles to handle loads of varying food soil. This
will minimize overuse of water and energy.
Select a dishwasher that has an air-dry or overnight-dry feature. Heat drying quickly dries the
dishes but at the expense of increased energy use.
Home Appliances
Clothes washers and dryers
Invest wisely in these and other large appliances since they often have a life-time greater than 15
years. The energy and resource savings potential of an efficient model can provide an early payback
and cost saving throughout its life.
Clothes washers
A typical washer is really energy expensive over its lifetime. Ninety percent of the energy used in
operating a washing machine goes toward heating the water that will wash and rinse the clothes. The
motor uses only 10 percent of the total energy consumed. Most conventional washing machines use
60 - 120 litres of water per complete cycle. Water-saving versions can cut water and energy usage by
more than 40 percent.
Purchasing considerations:
Select an A class model.
The most energy-efficient washing machines are horizontal axis (typically front-loading)
machines. They use about one third the water of a conventional machine to wash the same
amount of clothes. These models also do not have agitators, which mean they are gentler
on clothes. They also spin clothes faster, which results in less drying time and costs.
Maintenance recommendations:
Use the cold water settings as much as possible. Modern detergents are designed for cold
water washing. This reduces the energy used to heat water.
Periodically check hose fittings and screen, water-intake lines, and drain lines for metal or
sediment deposits.
Clothes dryers
Are very high energy consumption appliances. Consider using air or sun drying, which is free
and uses renewable energy resources.
Home Appliances
Phantom loads
When an appliance is turned off, you may think it is saving energy, but many appliances continue to
draw power even after they have been turned off. This is called a phantom load. Features such as
remote controls, clocks, timers, memories, microprocessors, and instant-on features are indicators
that an appliance will continue to use power even when it has been turned off. Televisions and VCRs
are big contributors to phantom loads. The electricity is used to maintain the remote control and
instant-on features, and to keep the filaments in the picture tube warm 24 hours a day.
Working around phantom loads
If possible, choose an appliance without a built-in clock or timer. While the displays only
consume about 0.5 Watt, the power supply in the appliance is converting 220 Volt of
alternating current to low-voltage direct current for the clock or timer. This is very inefficient
and consumes 100 to 200 Wh per day. This is enough energy to run a compact fluorescent
light bulb continuously for 10 hours.
Avoid leaving appliances with small transformers plugged in while not in use. Also, consider
purchasing all-in-one appliances, such as a phone with built-in answering machine and caller
id display. This will reduce the number of small transformers plugged in. Small transformers
are power supplies in plastic boxes that plug into a standard wall outlet.
Unplugging the appliance when it is not in use is one way of avoiding phantom loads, or use
a power strip and switch it off when the appliance is not in use.
Home lighting
Lighting accounts for 5-10% of total energy use in the average home and costs £35 to £110 per year
in electricity. That might not sound like a huge amount, but more and more people today are
discovering the wide range of benefits that arise from using high-efficiency lighting.
The main difference between an incandescent bulb and a fluorescent lamp is how light is generated:
In the incandescent bulbs light is generated because of the heating of a tungsten filament at
the temperature of 2500°C.
The fluorescent lamp, instead exploits interactions among electrons and particular gas that
are inside the tube, with emission of photons converted in visible light by causing a
phosphor coating in the inside of glass tube to glow. This technology provides the most
efficiency light generation up to 70lm/Watt, whilst conventional incandescent bulbs only
Home Appliances
Light bulbs: types and characteristics
Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL)
Fluorescent tubes
Incandescent bulbs
CFLs give off the same amount of light as a traditional incandescent light
bulb, but use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer (over 10.000
hours, or roughly five years).
• They can directly replace incandescent or halogen lamps in many fixtures.
Although they are more costly than incandescent light bulbs, the energy
savings can pay off the additional cost in less than two years when used in
light fixtures that are on for more than three hours per day.
• Modern CFLs provide the characteristic warm glow of incandescent light
bulbs, making them suitable for any application in the house.
Fluorescent tubes are very efficient, but are sometimes not suitable for specific
applications because of their length.
• They are often used in light fixtures that are part of architectural or design
features, for example, above or below a cabinet or in valances, soffits or
• Fluorescent tube lamps are best suited for areas where bright light is
needed, such as kitchens, laundry areas and workshops.
• T-8 (1” in diameter) or T-5 (5/8” in diameter) fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts are more efficient than older T-12 (1-1/2” in diameter) lamps.
Modern fluorescent lamps such as CFLs also have a warmer colour than
older models.
• You should consider fluorescent tubes when undertaking home renovations. They are easily installed by an electrician as part of a lighting retrofit.
Halogens are a type of incandescent light bulb, but chemicals called
“halogens” are introduced inside the lamp to minimize filament wear. This
has the effect of increasing the lamp’s life to 3000 hours, or roughly two
• Halogen lamps come in a wide array of shapes and sizes and are best
suited for uses where focused light is needed in a small area, such as task,
track or accent lighting.
• Halogens operate at high temperatures, so they should be installed away
from drapes or other flammable materials.
Incandescents are the traditional light bulbs we have been using for years.
• They are inexpensive but very inefficient. (Only 4–6 percent of the electrical energy used by an incandescent light bulb is converted into visible light.
The remaining energy is lost as heat.)
• They have a very short life (750–1000 hours, or roughly half a year of normal
• Some incandescent light bulbs are marketed as long-life or as energy savers, but these light bulbs achieve this by producing less lumens (light output). They aren’t nearly as efficient as compact fluorescent lamps.
Home Appliances
Tips for saving energy and money with lighting
Make Use of Natural Day lighting
rearrange furniture to maximize daylight useful for reading, cooking, or other work.
paint your walls a lighter colour
Reduce Background Light Levels and Rely More on Task Lighting
Concentrate light just where it's needed by keeping ceiling lights turned off and by using
smaller track lights and table or floor lamps.
Switch to Compact Fluorescent Lamps
Use Incandescent Lights Wisely:
In a fixture that holds several bulbs, use a single higher-wattage bulb instead of several
smaller bulbs, as long as it's safe for the fixture.
Purchase more efficient "Watt Miser," "Supersaver," or "Econo-Watt" bulbs, which use 5-13%
less energy.
Home Appliances
Sustainable & Renewable Energy Technologies
Solar water heating
Solar water heating is an extremely reputable and reliable renewable energy technology, which has
been applied to many domestic and non-domestic developments in the UK.
The most common form of solar water heating systems use heat collectors, generally mounted on the
roof, in which a fluid is heated by the Sun. This fluid is passed through a twin coil hot water cylinder
inside the building, thereby transmitting heat from the fluid to the water in the storage tank. Ideally,
the collectors should be mounted on a south-facing or flat roof, although south east/ south west will
also allow successful functioning. All systems work in diffuse light conditions.
There are two types of solar water heating collectors available. These are flat plate and evacuated
tube collectors. Flat plate collectors are less expensive; however, evacuated tube collectors are
reputed to perform better during winter. The size of a solar water heating system depends on a
building’s hot water demands and usage pattern.
The relative locations of the solar collectors and the hot water storage
tank are key and should be considered at the design stages with the
input of design consultants and the installer. Systems should be installed
in non-shaded locations. Gable roofs, chimneys, trees and other
buildings in the vicinity should be identified as potentially shading the
The optimum elevation and angle for a solar water heating system will
depend on when the hot water is required i.e. midday or early evening.
You need to have a conventional water heating system as well, such as a
gas or oil fired boiler or perhaps a back-boiler or wood stove, to top up
the heat from the panels when necessary and provide hot water and
space heating in the winter. In most cases solar water heating panels will not provide space heating
because there is insufficient sun in the winter, when you need heating most.
You can add solar panels to most existing hot water systems, though you will usually have to add an
additional hot water cylinder or change your existing one to a twin coil cylinder. It can be more
difficult to use solar water heating with a 'combi' boiler because they are designed to take cold mains
pressure water, and solar systems tend to supply hot or warm, low pressure water.
The cost of a flat plate system, including installation, for an 'average' house ranges from about £2,000
to £4,000. Evacuated tube systems usually cost from £3,500 to £5,500; however the price will depend
on the particular situation - whether you need scaffolding, for example. DIY panels can be installed
for anything from around £500 upwards.
Installing solar water heating has considerable environmental benefits and cuts down on the CO2
emissions caused by burning fossil fuels - it is a really good way to make your home more environmentally friendly. It can also save money. To work out if a solar water heating system would be worth
installing from a financial point of view, you would have to have some idea of how much you spend
on hot water throughout the year and when you use it. (In an average UK household, space heating
accounts for around 60 per cent of energy bills.) You can then work out how long it would take to get
back your investment in solar panels
Photovoltaic systems
Photovoltaic systems offer consumers the ability to generate electricity in a clean, quiet and reliable
way. Photovoltaic systems are comprised of photovoltaic cells, devices that convert light energy directly into electricity. Because the source of light is usually the sun, they are often called solar cells.
The word photovoltaic comes from “photo,” meaning light, and “voltaic,” which refers to producing
electricity. Therefore, the photovoltaic process is “producing electricity directly from sunlight.” Photovoltaic systems are often referred to as PV. For some applications where small amounts of electricity
are required, like emergency call boxes, PV systems are often cost justified even when grid electricity
is not very far away. When applications require larger amounts of electricity and are located away
from existing power lines, photovoltaic systems can in many cases offer the least expensive, most viable option.
PV systems probably won’t be economically feasible if you already have a grid connection, there are
situations where it will make a lot of sense.
The cost of a system will depend on your electricity consumption. As a very general guide, the cost of
a small scale renewable energy system can range from £600 to £3000 per kWp (kilowatt peak) depending on the size of the system. Photovoltaic systems will cost in the region of £5000 - £8000 per
The average UK household uses about 3500 kWh per year meaning a 2 kWp system will provide
about half the annual electricity and 37,500 kWh (approximately 16 tonnes of CO2) during its 25 year
life span.
Sustainable & Renewable Energy Technologies
Micro CHP
Essentially, the micro CHP unit replaces the conventional boiler in a central heating system, and comprises a small gas engine which drives an electrical generator. The waste heat from the engine is
used in the primary circuit of the heating system and the electricity generated is networked to be
consumed by the home owner or can be exported to neighbours or the grid.
It has a similar conversion efficiency from gas to useful heat as a conventional high efficiency boiler,
typically around 80%. However, in addition, around 10-15% is converted to electrical energy which
has a significantly higher value than the heat that could be gained from burning it.
Micro CHP is connected to your central heating system in the same way as a gas boiler, but as it is
generating heat for your bath, shower and central heating system, it generates electricity as a
by-product of the heat that is usually lost in an ordinary boiler. This is done by a small engine that
drives a generator connected to your electricity system.
Micro CHP units are approximately the same size as a small domestic fridge, as mentioned advantages include the generation of your own
electricity whilst any excess can be sold back to the
grid depending on arrangements with the
electricity suppliers. However electricity can only be
generated when the CHP unit is generating heat.
Electrical Power Rating: 1kwe
Heat Power Rating: 8kwth
Financial Saving (£/Yr)
C02 Saving (kg/yr)
end terrace mid terrace semi detached
Typical savings from Micro CHP
Generally, properties with the highest heating demands can benefit the most significantly from the
use of a Micro CHP unit as the financial and C02 savings correspond directly with the higher demand
for heat. Financial savings are based on 85% use of generated electricity by the householder and
take into the account the value of electricity generated and sold back to the grid and the value of
avoided import.
Carbon savings appear to be fairly attractive with saving in the region of 12% for the lowest
consumers up to 22% for the highest.
Savings also take into account the increased efficiency of the CHP unit for heating.
Sustainable & Renewable Energy Technologies
Biomass boilers
Energy from biomass is produced from organic matter of recent origin and does not include fossil
fuels, which have taken millions of years to evolve. The CO2 released during generation of energy
from biomass is balanced by the CO2 absorbed during the fuel's production, known as a carbon
neutral process.
People have been producing energy from biomass for centuries, and in many parts of the world it is
still the principle source of heat. However, modern technologies are far more efficient than open fires
and an increasing range of fuels are now being utilised.
For small scale domestic applications of biomass, the fuel usually takes the form of wood pellets,
wood chips and wood logs. Wood pellets are a compact form of wood, which have
a low moisture content and a high energy density. Although they are currently more expensive than
logs and wood chip, they are easier to handle and ideal for automated systems.
There are two main methods of using biomass to heat a domestic property:
Stand-alone stoves providing space heating for a room can be fuelled by logs or pellets but
only pellets are suitable for automatic feed, some models can be fitted with a back boiler to
provide water heating.
Boilers connected to central heating and hot water systems. Suitable for pellets, logs or
Stoves can achieve efficiencies of more than 80 per cent. They are normally used to provide
background heating whilst adding aesthetic value, as they are designed to be located in the living
area of the house itself. Although many wood-burning stoves act as space heaters only, the higher
output versions may be fitted with an integral back boiler to provide domestic hot water and, if
required, central heating via radiators.
Stand alone room heaters generally cost between £1,500 - £3,000 installed. The cost for boilers varies
depending on the fuel choice; a typical 15 kW (average size required for a three bed semi detached
house) pellet boiler would cost from £4,000-£12,000 installed depending on the type of system
chosen, including the cost of the flue and commissioning, a manual log feed system of the same size
would be slightly cheaper.
Sustainable & Renewable Energy Technologies
Heat pumps
A heat pump is a device, which moves heat energy from one place to another and from a lower to a
higher temperature. A domestic refrigerator is a heat pump. Heat is removed from the contents (the
source) and discharged elsewhere (the sink). In heating applications, heat is removed from ambient
air, or water, soil or bedrock) and delivered to where it is needed. In cooling applications, the reverse
happens and heat is removed, to be discharged to the ambient air, water, soil or rock
Heat pumps use a little energy (usually in the form of electricity) to move available energy as heat
from A to B. For every unit of energy purchased as electricity, several units of heat are delivered. So,
relating the energy purchased to the energy delivered, heat pumps can be 300% or 400% efficient.
There are three main parts of any heat pump system:
A heat source and the means of extracting heat,
The circuit of working fluid within the heat pump itself and a power source,
A distribution system to deliver the energy in the required form.
The heat source can be the ambient air, water, soil or rock. The outside heat exchanger (the
collector) transfers energy as heat to the circuit of working fluid within the heat pump itself. It is
preferable, in terms of maximizing efficiency, to have constant temperature differences between (a)
the source and the working fluid and (b) the working fluid and the sink, but this is often not possible
in some heat pump models.
The distribution system takes the heat from the heat pump (often as hot water) and delivers it to the
end-use. Heat can be distributed within a building using under floor pipes, fan coil units, an air
handling system, or wall-mounted radiators.
A heat pump can be used for cooling with the addition of a reversing valve that reverses the direction of the working fluid and so the direction of the heat transfer. The central component of the heat
pump is the compressor.
A heat pump can also be used where there is a low temperature source of heat. For example, heat
can be transferred from a source at 5ºC and delivered as heated water at 45 to 50ºC. Applications
include space heating and cooling, pre-heating domestic hot water, heat recovery and dehumidification in both domestic and industrial sectors.
Typical costs of a Ground Source Heat Pump for an owner-occupier in a small, new (or well insulated)
house in the UK is approximately £4,500 before grants are applied.
Sustainable & Renewable Energy Technologies
Sustainable Mobility
European perspective
The number of cars in the EU increased by nearly 40% between 1990 and 2005, reaching a total of
216 million cars in the 25 EU member states.
The largest increases were in Lithuania (167%) and Latvia (142%), with Portugal the highest of the
longer standing members (135%). The Nordic countries saw the least car growth, with 14% in
Sweden, 20% in Denmark, and 21% in Finland.
The 2004 figure of 472 cars per 1000 inhabitants means there is now nearly one car for every two EU
inhabitants, but this still compares favourably with the USA, where the figure is 759 per 1000.
The countries with the highest number of cars are Luxembourg (659), Italy (581), Portugal (572) and
Germany (546), while Slovakia is the lowest at 222, followed by Hungary (280) and Latvia (297).
London perspective:
38% of London households do not own a car, compared to only 23% of households across
Great Britain as a whole.
In central London, cars and vans are used by only 11% of people as the main mode to work.
This rises to 63% in outer London and 76% in the rest of Great Britain.
Due to the congestion charge road traffic in London in 2006, at 33 billion vehicle kilometres
per year, remained almost unchanged from its 1999 level.
To keep these positive changes happening there are lot of things we can do. Read on!
5 Good reasons to avoid using the car:
1. Accidents : In Europe, every year, there are about 2 million car accidents. The World Health
Organisation (W.H.O.) reports there are about 1 million victims from car accidents worldwide every
2. Health risks:
Traffic has negative effects on health in all kinds of ways. It creates pollution (80% of atmospheric
pollution is due to vehicular traffic), and psychophysical stress due to congestion and noise.
According to the W.H.O. health risks from pollution are higher for children and the elderly. The risk
of children getting leukaemia is three times higher if they live in high traffic density areas than for
children who live in country areas. Car users can suffer from up to three times as much pollution as
pedestrians and cyclists, because in heavy traffic jams the air quality can be poorer inside the car than
out. On short car journeys the engine does not have time to warm up properly in a car and so creates
60% more pollution.
3. Environmental damage:
Emissions from vehicles contain many toxic substances which negatively affect humans as well as
plants and animals. Emissions pollute and accumulate in the air, water and the ground, causing
toxicity in food chains. Fuel used for transport is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide emissions
and air pollution. Road transport produces: 30% of carbon dioxide emissions, 72% of carbon
monoxide, and 52% of nitrogen oxides. The environmental impact of transport also includes
extraction, transportation and refining of oil and the extraction of iron and other raw materials for the
production of cars. Passenger cars account for over 13% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.
4. Car maintenance: The cost of fuel and maintenance for an average car in the UK is about £3,000
per year.
5. Overcrowded roads in urban areas:
bicycle, walking and travel by underground
are faster than a car in a lot of urban areas,
especially in big cities. At 2.8mph the
average speed of a door to door car journey
in central London is slower than that of
equestrian traffic at the turn of the century.
Cyclists travel at an average of 5.5 mph door
to door, including finding a space to park!.
The average speed of public transport is
3.5mph. An average business manager
drives 232 miles in 11 hours and spends 2 of
those stationary in traffic (20%)
Sustainable Mobility
What to do?
Walking and cycling
Walking is the nearest thing to perfect exercise-at least as effective as exercise at a gym.
Walking can halve your risk of coronary heart disease and help prevent some cancers.
109 journeys between Central London tube stations are quicker on foot.
Half of London’s car journeys are under a mile and a half –just 25 minutes walk.
Regular walking improves your wellbeing and helps reduce stress.
Car drivers tend to walk only half the distance and for half the time of adults in non-car
owning households. This equates to a deficit of 56 minutes of walking every week. Over a
decade this could lead to a weight gain of more than 2 stone.
Cycling for half an hour 3-4 times a week can reduce the risk of heart disease and obesity by
Regular UK cyclists typically enjoy a fitness level equivalent to that of an average citizen 10
years younger.
Public transport:
In almost all cities there is a network of public transport comprising of bus, tram and underground
and it is possible to travel at almost any time. London is no exception.
Getting around London - Transport for London’s online journey planner is great for getting around the capital
and you can choose how you want to travel.
Getting around the UK - The Government’s online journey planner helps you plan your
trip from door to door by public transport. You simply enter your start point, your destination and
when you want to travel, and it does the rest.
Plan your trip by train
To plan your journey by train, visit -
Sustainable Mobility
How to get a cheap train ticket
You’ve probably heard people say that a train ticket from X to Y costs hundreds of pounds, while the
equivalent domestic flight costs less than a fraction of the price? No. Just like flights, train tickets vary
massively in price. A trip to Manchester could cost your £109.50 or £8.25. You just need to know a
few tricks of the trade.
Plan ahead: Advance fares are a fraction of the price of walk-on fares
Be flexible: If you can, try different days and times. Travel outside rush hour
Be persistent: never settle for the first price you’re quoted. Find out whether travelling earlier
or later, or to a station slightly further from your destination, will be cheaper.
Try singles: Two single tickets often cost less than a return ticket.
Get a Railcard: Young Persons Railcard… Family Railcard… Senior Railcard… Disabled Persons Railcard… Regular Network Railcard… These cost around £20, and save you at least
one-third off a
full price ticket. If you’re eligible, get one today!
Plan your trip by bus
Traveline helps you to plan your journey by bus or coach. The information line (0871 200 22 33) is
better than the website.
CO2 saving transport measures
Measures taken over the course of one
Average kg of CO2
saved annually
(per person)
Use the channel tunnel instead of flying to France
Car sharing for the school run
Get supermarket shopping delivered
Walk instead of drive for journeys under 3 miles
Give up your car altogether and use public transport
Go for a run instead of driving to the gym
Do one large shopping trip rather than many small
Sustainable Mobility
Car sharing and Car Clubs
What is Car sharing?
Everyday there are ten million empty seats on the road
Car sharing is when two or more people share a car and travel together. One of the people
travelling is usually the owner of the vehicle and the other(s) usually make a contribution
towards fuel costs. It allows people to benefit from the convenience of the car, whilst reducing
congestion and pollution.
Car sharing can be arranged informally among families, friends and colleagues on an ad hoc or a
regular basis, or it can be arranged through a car share scheme which connects drivers and passengers together who may not otherwise have come together to share car journeys.
The benefits of car sharing
The estimated distance currently shared per year is 4,983,752 km or 3,096,760 Miles or 32.1
trips to the moon.
Reduces the number of cars on the roads - resulting in less congestion, less pollution and
fewer parking problems.
Gives employees and employers more transport options
Reduces the need for private car ownership and saves you money on transport costs by up
to around £1000 a year
Gives you the opportunity to meet new people
What are the issues to be aware of?
Security should always be a key part of any car share arrangement: identity checks need to be in
place to ensure that driver and passengers are certain that they are both genuine ridesharers. The
major car share companies take security very seriously, and provide guidelines to members, although they cannot accept any liability for any problems which may arise.
Law: the driver is not permitted to make a profit from providing a lift; however, the contribution
from passengers can include an appropriate amount towards depreciation and wear and tear.
‘Fares’ must be decided in advance, and the driver is not permitted to act as a taxi, picking up
strangers along the route.
Sustainable Mobility
What are Car Clubs?
A car club provides its members with quick and easy access to a car for short term hire. Members can
make use of car club vehicles as and when they need them. All they have to do is:
Book - for as little as half an hour at a time, using telephone or internet. The booking can
be made well ahead of time or with a few minutes notice.
Unlock - cars are located at designated parking bays in the local area and accessed using
the member’s smart card
Drive – Once inside the driver enters a pin and drives away, returning the car at the end of
the journey. It is possible to extend the booking if necessary
Pay - Pay-as-you-go charges include fuel and maintenance costs. A subscription charge is
paid monthly or annually.
Car Share and Car Club
The two can be complementary: car club vehicles could be used for shared trips. A car club member
could also be a member of a car share scheme. Alternatively a car club vehicle used for commuting
could be available for daytime business trips.
Setting up a car share for your journey
Find out whether other people in your group are doing the same journeys as you by filling out the
Echo Action Car Share form or sign up to an existing scheme (see links below).
Sustainable Mobility
Car emissions and buying a new car
The average new car in 2006 (UK) emits 167.2g CO2/km and road transport accounts for 20% of all
CO2 emissions in the UK. Car clubs, car share and public transport offer opportunities to avoid
needing to buy a car. However if you do need a car you can make sure you choose a low emission
vehicle using these helpful tips.
What to consider if you decide to buy a new car
Size In general terms smaller cars tend to be more fuel efficient and emit less CO2, so ask yourself
whether you need six seats for a family of four. Could you make do with a smaller boot if you only
use the car for shopping?
Engine matters Once you've decided on the type of car you would like check out the different
makes, models and engine options. Most models offer a range of engines that vary in fuel efficiency
and CO2 emissions.
Fuel Petrol and diesel engines have different effects on the environment. Engines powered by diesel
generally produce less CO2 but more air quality pollutant emissions than their petrol counterparts.
Sustainable Mobility
Look for the label
Most new cars in a car showroom have a colour-coded fuel
efficiency rating like fridges and
washing machines. More fuel
efficient cars are cheaper to tax
and have lower running costs.
Ask about fuel efficiency
When buying a car ask staff
about fuel efficiency. On some
cars an optional extra called a
DPF (diesel particulate filter)
can be fitted to reduce these
emissions from diesel engines.
As petrol cars produce fewer
particulates, filters are not
generally needed for petrol
Petrol, Diesel or Alternative
Petrol is better on air quality
emissions compared with diesel
– important in towns
Diesel is better than petrol on
CO2 emissions – especially
important if you drive a lot
Alternative Fuels for Cars
There are number of alternative fuels with different characteristics and qualities, some of which may
help to reduce carbon emissions from driving.
Biodiesel is a renewable fuel that can be produced from algae, vegetable oils, animal fats or recycled
restaurant greases. It can be used in most modern diesel engines. 100% Biodiesel can generally be
used in standard diesel engines built after 1990 without large problems. However, most car manufacturers will only honour the warranties of cars using diesel which meets EN590 standards.
Biodiesel typically produces about 60% less net carbon dioxide emissions; however this will vary depending on where and how the biodiesel is produced and the efficiency of the engine.
Sustainable Mobility
Bioethanol is an alcohol based fuel made through the fermentation of crops such as sugar cane,
poplar, wheat and corn. It is a widely used fuel in some countries such as Brazil, where 40% of road
transport fuel is Bioethanol.
Typically Bioethanol is used mixed with conventional petrol. It is possible to power your vehicle using varying concentrations of Bioethanol. Some car manufacturers will only honour
the warranties of vehicles using a mix of no more than 5% Bioethanol with 95% Petrol.
Mixes of higher than 10% generally require engine modifications to avoid damage as Ethanol has a much higher octane rating than conventional petrol.
Flexi-fuel vehicles (FFV’s) can run on up to 85% Ethanol. The Ford Focus (FFV) and the Saab
(FFV) are examples of recently launched Flexi-fuel vehicles.
Currently limited refuelling infrastructure exists
The generous subsidies available to US farmers to produce corn for bioethanol production is a major
factor in driving up the price of corn which is leading to staple food shortages in countries such as
The bioethanol available now is known as “first generation” fuels and is produced by fermentation
converting plant sugars into ethanol, “second generation” bioethanol which is not currently available
is expected to be able to convert woody parts of plants into ethanol (lingo-cellulosic bioethanol) allowing non-food crops to be used to generate fuel thus (in theory) solving the food vs fuel issue. It
should be noted that there will still be competition for land use between food and fuel crops whatever they may be so the issue will not go away completely.
Hybrid vehicles can use two or more fuel sources or energy supplies. The term hybrid has become
synonymous with hybrid-electric Vehicle (HEV). These petrol hybrid cars have the benefits of both a
petrol engine and an electric motor/battery.
A blend of propane and butane, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) is produced either as a by-product of
oil-refining, or from natural gas (methane) fields. LPG gives a 10-15% carbon dioxide reduction in
comparison to petrol and is on a par with diesel.
LPG vehicles cost approximately 30% less to run than their petrol equivalents, and approximately the same as diesels.
Petrol engines can be converted to run on LPG for around £1,200 - £2,700. Alternatively,
you can purchase a new car and have a manufacturer approved conversion.
There are over 1,200 LPG refuelling sites across the UK.
Sustainable Mobility
Electric Cars
Battery operated electric vehicles (EV’s) utilise chemical energy stored in rechargeable battery packs.
Electric vehicles use electric motors and motor controllers instead of internal combustion engines.
Electric vehicles can be run from the mains and are cheap to run. They also produce no fumes at the
point of use. However the potential for electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions depends on how
the electricity is generated.
The G-Wizz – A small city electric car sold by a company called GoinGreen. The car offers 48miles per
charge and is winner of best city car for the last two years (Car Buyers guide 2007)
Efficient driving
Driving efficiently means your car will produce less carbon dioxide (CO2), the main gas contributing
to climate change and could you save over £120 a year on fuel bills.
Eco driving brings the following benefits:
It reduces fuel consumption by 5-10%
Fewer accidents
Less wear and tear on the car
A more relaxed and stress free journey
How to drive fuel efficiently
Work out if you are better off leaving the car at home or sharing the ride with others
Avoid making lots of separate trips from home-think ahead and chain them together to
prevent using extra petrol
Plan journeys: avoid congestion and getting lost (!)
Check tyre pressures regularly – under inflated tyres are dangerous and increase fuel consumption
Remove roof racks when they are not being used and remove unnecessary weight from
your car boot
Keep your engine tuned to reduce your vehicles emissions. Around 90% of cars that are
polluting badly could be fixed in 15minuites
Ensure tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. This lengthens their life and reduces emissions by 5%
Sustainable Mobility
8. Keep your catalytic converter clean and serviced as a clogged one is practically useless
9. Drive away immediately from cold, there is no need to warm the engine and this can causes
rapid engine wear
10. Check your revs - Change up gears by 2000rpm (diesel), 2500rpm (petrol)
11. Drive smoothly avoiding sharp acceleration and braking
12. Use air conditioning sparingly
13. Find your optimum driving speed The most efficient speed depends upon the car in question
but is typically around 55 - 65mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption
14. Switch off engine if you’re stuck in a queue or traffic jam
In general, the same rules apply for motorbike as for cars. Some particular notes have to be added
for scooters:
• at the purchase, it is better to a choose four step engine instead of two step; two step engines are much more polluting;
Look for GPL or electric models when purchasing a scooter.
Holidays without flying
Why not fly?
Flying is one of the most environmentally damaging modes of passenger kilometre, air travel is the
most CO2-intensive form of travel, and trips by air tend to cover the largest distances. Travelling by
overland or by sea can be fun and part of the adventure of travelling and avoid the stress of airports.
Sustainable Mobility
Alternative Fuel - the use of new fuels for road vehicles. New fuels generally refers to anything
other than petrol or diesel, and includes electricity and natural gas.
Bio Fuels - Fuels derived from crop material.
Biomass - generally refers to any living material. In the context of energy production plants
grown for fuel use as with Bio fuels.
Carbon content - the percentage of the element carbon in a fuel. Knowing the carbon content
allows the amount of carbon dioxide released on combustion to be calculated.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)- the chemical compound consisting of carbon and oxygen. A molecule
of cierbon dioxide consists of one atom of carbon and two atoms of oxygen (di means two). CO2
is produced in respiration and combustion reactions and is consumed in photosynthesis. Carbon
dioxide is the most important green house gas released as a result of human activity.
Cavity wall - A wall consisting of two layers of building materials such as brick, with an air gap
or a filling of insulation in between as opposed to a solid wall.
Cold bridge - typically occurring on balcony's or walkways where the external floor to the balcony for example is directly linked to the internal floor allowing for a continuous path for heat
los from a building.
Combined heat and power (CHP) - also known as co-generation. The use of waste heat from
power stations, small scale industrial, or domestic micro CHP to provide heating and hot water.
Combined Primary Storage Unit (CPSU) - This is a special category of storage combi and incorporate a very large store of water (usually more than 80 litres) which creates a high hot water
flow rate to taps and showers and heats up radiators quickly
Condensing boiler - a highly efficient type of gas or oiled fired boiler, which extracts heat from
the flue gas which is usually lost to the atmosphere, and therby condenses water in the flue gas.
Conduction (of heat) - the passage of heat through a material or from one material to another
through physical contact.
Convection - a process whereby a gas or liquid carries heat from one place to another by moving, as from a radiator.
Diesel fuel - relatively crudely refined hydro carbon fuel when used in trucks and cars ids virtually identical to gas oil used for domestic central heating. Diesel fuel for ships and power stations
will be much thicker and tar-like.
Eco-labeling - a voluntary EU labeling scheme to promote consumer products, such as dishwashers or paper towels, that meet certain environmental criteria usually derived by a means of
life cycle analysis ( assessment of environmental impact from cradle to grave) of the product.
Ecosystem - a community of organisms, interacting with one another, plus the environment in
which they live and which they also interact. E.g. pond or forest.
Efficiency - the ratio of useful output of a machine or process to the required input.
Energy - the capacity top do work. Expressed in the forms of Joules, calories or kilowatt– hours.
Fuel cell - a device for turning a fuel, such as a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen directly into
Greenhouse gases - gases which have the effect of warming the global climate. Without them
the earths temperature would be some ten degrees Celsius colder than it is now. The principle
greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, others include methane, nitrous oxide and CFC’s.
Geological strata - layers of naturally formed rock.
Heat pump - a device that extracts heat from a lower temperature source usually outside air,
ground or water) and releases inside buildings with the aid of a heat exchanger.
Industrial revolution - transformation of the British economy from a rural to an urban one during the 18th and 19th centuries. This period was characterized by the development of industrial
processes, factories and the growth of cities.
Kyoto Protocol - an international agreement stemming from the 1997 climate change conference held in the Japanese city of Kyoto. Under this protocol, most industrialized countries agreed
to a legally binding obligation to reduce the emissions of gases (particularly carbon dioxide)
contributing to climate change.
Low-emissivity coating - a special film treatment used inside double glazing units to reflect
back into the building some of the heat that would otherwise be lost.
Photovoltaic cells - solid state devices made from semiconducting materials such as silicon,
which convert solar energy into electricity (PV).
PPM - part per million
Renewable energy - a naturally occurring and naturally replenished source of energy, such as
sunlight, waves, tides or wind.
Sustainable development: Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, taking in to account ecological
and social issues.
Thermal conductivity - the ability of a material to conduct heat. Formally the rate of heat transfer per square metre through a material one meter thick subject to a one degree difference in
temperature between its surfaces.
Tidal energy - energy produced by the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun on the seas.
U-value - a measure of the rate at which heat passes through a building element, component
made from one or more materials of a give thickness (e.g. 220mm thick brick wall), measured at
watt per square metre per degree Celsius. Wm[² C
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