About this good practice
The UK Government are phasing out gas boilers and providing grants for heat pumps. The problem is most homes are not energy efficient enough for a heat pump. The heat loss means larger heat pumps would be required meaning the capitol cost and running costs would be higher than if the homes had adequate insulation.
The cost of energy surveys and finding a trusted installer has made insulating homes a confusing and expensive option.
With a number of project partners, we decided to address this issue. The project plan was devised by Milton Keynes Council and Wolverton Community Energy. Funding came from local network provider Western Power Distribution. Monitors and software was bought in from Build Test Solutions. Project delivery was through three Parish Councils.
The Parish Councils asked for volunteers to have their homes assessed for heat loss. A range of 23 typical MK houses were chosen. For three weeks of February, monitors were placed in volunteers’ homes. Meter readings and monitored temperatures were fed into the software. Each house was provided with a 4 page report on heat loss, risk of mould and options to improve energy efficiency.
The result was an assessment of 23 house types that could be shared with other householders to provide an idea of how to reduce their energy costs through a fabric first approach. Insulation guides are available to assess options and find a reliable local installer.
10,000 GBP (around 12,000 Euros August 2022) ( includes sensors and software purchase)
Project management around 30 hours
Project delivery around 40 hours
Community leaders to deliver local initiative
Householders willing to take part in the project
Evidence of success
We estimate around 500 homes will benefit from the results of this project by saving money on surveys, understanding the heat loss from their homes, insulation options and where to find installers.
Suggested measures will save between 27% (new boiler) heating cost and 27% CO2 emissions and 62% (deep retrofit and ASHP) heating cost and 94% C02/year.
Greatest cost saving would be deep retrofit to excellent thermal performance rating at 64% reduction.
Potential for learning or transfer
This pilot project has proven that homes can be assessed for insulation improvement faster, cheaper and more accurately than by an energy survey.
Collaboration through partnerships is proven to be an effective method of delivery.
Householders energy costs need to be reduced.
Innovative technology makes home energy assessments cost effective to scale.
The outcome shows the power of communities to take local action.
We have not yet had feedback on which homes have taken further action to improve their insulation. This has yet to be researched at a planned ‘one year on’ time scale.
The heat loss data can be used for designing community energy efficiency projects.