Oct/ Nov 2023 Windows and doors: your questions answered
Oct/ Nov 2023 Retrofitting the normal family home: a case study
Cavity wall insulation
Retrofit in Herefordshire: what’s going on?
Boiler upgrade scheme: all you need to know
We’ll add links to book on Eventbrite as soon as dates are finalised or you can sign-up to our newsletter from the footer to make sure you find out about our news and events.
In the community
Building Sense co-organised a number of events in the community during Autumn 2022. More details about 2023 community events to follow.
Thinking of making your home more energy efficient? See what your neighbours have done!
It had been a long while since there’d been a ‘green open homes’ event in Herefordshire, but Green Doors this year was hugely ambitious. It covered Herefordshire, along with Shropshire and Powys. It saw numerous properties opening their doors; a few of them gorgeous new builds, but many were homes just like yours, but with some clever green technology, draught proofing, and lot and lots of insulation. Click the links below to view the homes.
Green Doors will be running again in October 2023 so if you think you might like to open your own green home to inspire others to retrofit, or coordinate a group of open homes in your area, please email Gemma Monk-Hartley to find out more at firstname.lastname@example.org
BUILDING SENSE YouTube channel
You can find all our past on-line BUILDING SENSE events, and subscribe to our YouTube channel by clicking here. Or you can click on the individual links below.
BUILDING SENSE: creating comfort + cutting carbon
March 2021: We tackle the issue of how, with countless homes hard to keep warm, bills hard to pay, and a zero carbon target, we upgrade (retrofit) homes and buildings across Herefordshire to meet current and future needs. Speakers include: Gervase Mangwana, Waxwing Energy; Rosemary Coyne, Connexus; Andy Simmonds, Association for Environment Conscious Building; Greg Jones, Keep Herefordshire Warm/Severn Wye; Cllr Ellie Chowns Herefordshire Council (Cabinet Member – Environment, Economy and Skills); Gordon Coppock, HGN and KLEEN; Kaye Welfare, Evolve
Thinking of switching to a heat pump?
April 2021: Switching from the familiarity of a conventional heating boiler to a heat pump as your source of heating is a big step. Heat pump consultant John Cantor talks us through some of these key questions, and also hear briefly from Dominic McCann about how he prepared his home for a heat pump by turning down the gas boiler – and was comfortably surprised!
Wood heating- getting it right
December 2021: Heating with wood is part of rural life – but is it OK in terms of climate and indoor air quality? Mike Harvey from HETAS and Woodsure goes through the pros and cons of heating with wood. What are the different wood fuel options? What do efficient stoves and boilers offer? How do you optimise them to get the most out of your precious fuel, to minimize emissions of carbon, NOx and particulates, and to maximize indoor air quality? Whether you’ve been heating with wood for years and want to cut your carbon, are just starting out with a wood stove, or are pretty sure you’ve been getting it right but want to check, find out more.
Gas boiler driving lessons – less gas, less carbon, lower bills
January 2022: One day, you’ll probably switch away from a gas boiler (mains or LPG). Meanwhile, the boiler just hangs on the wall and does its thing. Yet ‘driving’ it more efficiently could cut your gas consumption by about 15%. Your bills too. And it might make your house more comfortable, with more even temperatures. Experts Jo Alsop and Caroline Williams from the Heating Hub explain how to get the best from your boiler now, and how to plan a pathway to heating in the future.
Where’s the heat going? Where’s the money going?
March 2022: Retrofit Co-ordinator Greg Collier-Jones from Severn Wye Energy Agency talks us through where, and how, buildings typically lose heat, and what you can do now to plan and make improvements for next winter. With heating bills on the rise, and carbon reduction an imperative, Greg’s talk is an excellent and detailed look at this subject.
Simple and low-cost DIY routes to lowering your energy bills
March 2022: A review and discussion with Q&A of easily available, low-cost solutions and how to use them to make your heating systems more efficient and your homes less leaky. Phil Newcombe from Marches Energy Agency discusses the practicalities with energy specialist Gordon Coppock from HGN.
The case for Solar
March 2022: You might have considered solar at home or for your business, but thought the economics didn’t quite work for you. Well, soaring energy prices are changing those economics – and if you’re looking at an electric car, then solar PV can make even more sense. HGN’s solar specialist Gordon Coppock – Member of the Institute of Physics – presents his independent review of solar PV and solar thermal (hot water/heat) in our changing energy landscape.
Future Ready Homes: your questions answered August 2022: The Future Ready Homes scheme provides a two-year action plan to encourage and support home energy retrofit across the Marches area. It offers (a limited number of) fully funded home energy assessments, whole house retrofit plans, support through the installation process and access to an invaluable expert panel to provide technical expertise — particularly on the harder to treat properties such as those with solid wall construction. HGN Building Sense and Severn Wye Energy Agency tell explain the programme and answer homeowner questions.
One year on — living with an air source heat pump
October 2022: Home energy professional Dave Green had an air source heat pump installed in his 1930’s semi in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in May 2021 as part of a staged home retrofit project. He’s been monitoring his home’s energy performance since its installation and shares his findings.
Getting ready for a heat pump
November 2022: Giving a house an energy workout before a heat pump goes in will help ensure you get the comfort you want without bills skyrocketing. Gervase Mangwana of Herefordshire’s Waxwing Energy brings us up to speed on the latest thinking including; why heat pumps are often the most cost-effective way to cut carbon at home, what affects heat pump performance, the heating pattern culture shift, heat loss calculations and how they differ, the minimum requirements to make heat pumps viable (The AECB level one heat pump standard.), the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) and MCS (grants and finding a good installer), energy modelling in general and sensitivity to airtightness and airtightness/ventilation explained.
A natural choice – why ‘greener’ materials could help your retrofit project January 2023: Retrofit involves a lot of choices – particularly of materials. Juggling price, performance and carbon isn’t easy. Whether insulating internally or externally, using natural materials can have many advantages for your retrofit, particularly in older buildings – Simon Ayres from Shropshire based Lime Green explained why, and how in this talk.
The case for solar – cost v benefit evaluation February 2023: For many householders or businesses, the big question about getting solar is the economics. And with current energy prices a lot of people are taking a fresh look at solar energy. In this talk by HGN’s solar specialist Gordon Coppock – Member of the Institute of Physics – we evaluate the costs v benefits of solar PV and solar thermal.
Retrofit in heritage buildings
March 2023: Historic buildings present a retrofit challenge. But they can be made both low impact and high performing while respecting heritage. Herefordshire based Arbor Architects showed us how they work to improve energy efficiency in historic buildings by adopting a whole house approach to energy efficiency measures — without causing harm to the building fabric or the well-being of occupants in this talk. They compared two case studies; a curtilage listed barn conversion retrofitted to the EnerPHit (passive house equivalent) standard, and the retrofit of a Grade II listed farmhouse.
Healthy Homes, Healthy Householders June 2023: Marches Energy Agency project managers Claire and Phil outlined the link between health and cold homes, and explored how we can stay warm and well at home.
Wood burners: a hot topic
July 2023: Just how sustainable is burning wood for heat? Mathematician Jeremy Brignell-Thorp’s Welsh home is mainly heated with wood, but he has been taking a critical view about whether this is the best long-term solution.
Herefordshire Green Network is an alliance of local green, environmental and Transition Town groups, organisations and businesses.