Operation Household Energy Reduction: Part 2 - Some Expertise

There were various intertwined motivations at play in the “efficiency improvement” of our home. We were trying to improve comfort and noise outcomes at the same time as reducing our energy usage. So we started doing a number of obvious things straight away. Alongside this “obvious” action was also keen to get some outside advice about what is worth doing and able to give us useful improvements most sensibly. We were fortunate to have several reputable companies available to us to assist in this regard and equally fortunate to have the financial capacity to engage them (as I alluded to in the caveats of the last post and which I’ll repeat at the end of this and every post).

In the end we chose to use EcoMaster. This is only a “plug” for them (and definitely with no advantage to me) to the extent that they were:

• responsive

• knowledgeable

• were willing to give frank advice (and deliberately not recommend inappropriate things that they might have profited from if they had recommended them)

• able to show general delight and encouragement in the fact that you are doing quality remediation work (even if they were not profiting by doing it for you)

• whilst not always the lowest cost operator, always reasonable priced.

We opted for the premium assessment described by Ecomaster in their promotional pieces as a comprehensive and holistic view of your home. It involves a very thorough inspection (around 4 hours) of your home's energy performance. A fully detailed report outlines the issues and practical solutions on how best to improve your home's energy performance, reduce energy consumption and adjust to climate change. These solutions are costed and sequenced according to maximum benefit for minimum cost.

The report delivered from the above process is in a form that allowed action either by us alone (as the customer), in collaboration with other providers or with EcoMaster themselves.

In the following blog entries I will outline the key steps that flowed from the EcoMaster report (or arose as subsequent actions as we carried out those steps).

As noted I will also restate my caveats in each blog entry:

1) whilst there are technical fixes that can contribute to energy reduction, we wanted to make sure that we didn’t concentrate exclusively on them. My gadget-attracted persona is fascinated with new photo-voltaic cell technology or the latest approach to circulating filtered warm ceiling air into the house. We consider these approaches but also try to make sure that lower cost, high impact corrections are prioritised. What good is an extremely expensive solar ventilation system if the house leaks air like a sieve?

2) Related to this point, we are aware of the relative economic capacity we enjoy that allows us to make some of these changes simply.

3) So we want to avoid seeing this as a way we can “proof” our little home against the rest of the world. 90000 litres of localised water storage might be fine if it makes sense in the context of your local rainfall and reasonable water usage. It doesn’t make much sense if it is to safeguard your lifestyle while the rest of the world runs out of water.

4) And part of the reason for adding these thoughts to this blog is to add to the conversation about what is possible and keep us all thinking about ways we can contribute to this kind of work for ALL dwellings, regardless of personal economic capacity.

5) Our efforts are not necessarily particularly remarkable in the scheme of things, but its fun to tell the story, to be encouraged in what you are doing and to encourage others...

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