The Governments Pay As You Save scheme that offers loans of up to £15,000 which are tied to the property was announced 8 weeks ago but may not become available until 2012. It is part of DECC’s Home Energy Management Strategy that is designed to stimulate uptake of green energy measures and remove the pain of the upfront costs that previously limited them to better off households.
A recent article in the NewScientist outlined the payback times for many popular energy saving measures, based on figures from the Energy Saving Trust on a gas heated, 3 bed English Semi.
Cavity Wall Insulation – Cost £250, annual CO2 saving 610 kg, Payback time – 2 years.
Loft Insulation – Cost £250, annual CO2 saving 800 kg, Payback time – 2 years.
Draughtproofing – Cost £200, annual CO2 saving 130 kg, Payback time – 8 years
Condensing Boiler – Cost £3000, annual CO2 saving 1260 kg, Payback time – 12 years.
Ground Source Heat Pump – Cost £10,000, annual CO2 saving 6000 kg, Payback time – 12 years (Electricity).
Internal Solid Wall Insulation – Cost £7000, annual CO2 saving 2000 kg, Payback time – 18 years.
External Solid Wall Insulation – Cost £13,000, annual CO2 saving 2100 kg, Payback time – 30 years.
Double Glazing – Cost £5000, annual CO2 saving 720 kg, Payback time – 35 years.
Small Mast Mounted Wind Turbine – Cost £15,000, annual CO2 saving 2600 kg, Payback time – 40 years.
Solar Electricity – Cost £11,000, annual CO2 saving 1000 kg, Payback time – 55 years.
Solar Water Heater – Cost £4000, annual CO2 saving 580 kg, Payback time – 50 years (electricity).
As can be seen from this, there are lots of ways to save energy but the costs, payback times and reduction on CO2 output vary enormously. It also highlights the limited impact of ‘Eco-Bling’ such as solar electric, solar thermal and wind turbines when much simpler and less obvious methods, such as insulation, have a far greater impact on our emissions.
The PAYS scheme will also help kick-start the retrofit market which is slowly moving forward. The government anticipate that by 2020 7 million homes will have received an eco-upgrade and this scheme will certainly help the EWI/ETICS (External Wall Insulation/External Thermal Insulation Cladding Systems) manufacturing industry.
Fortunately, at Back to Earth, we have one of the best solid wall insulation systems on the market. Manufactured by Unger, the inventor of wood fibre insulation, UdiRECO is a cladding system with a 40mm rigid wood fibre render carrier that is backed by a flexible wood fibre material that, when fixed to a surface, moulds itself to the profile beneath. This avoids the need to remove external renders prior to installation. We also have an internal version with a unique moisture controlling plaster which does the same.
Wood Fibre Insulation is one of the best materials for retrofitting our existing housing stock, most of which pre-date 1919. It deals better than any other system with moisture, which becomes an ever more important topic as homes, especially older ones, become more and more airtight and better insulated. As Neil May of NBT recently highlighted in an article in the Green Building Magazine, it is one of the few insulation materials which can cope with our temperate, wet climate without causing mould growth and decay to the building beneath.
In spite of all of the focus on new building, retrofitting our existing housing is by far the most important challenge as even by 2050 85% of our current housing stock will still be in use. Schemes like PAYS will always have critics but so long as they move these topics up the agenda and bring such measures within the reach of most people they can be very beneficial.