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Action in your own Home

Inspired to take action in your own home? Here are some ideas and sources of information to help.

Step one: Work out your priorities and make a plan!

Every home is different, so you need to find out what will work best for you. Start by completing the Energy Saving Trust online survey to get free energy efficiency recommendations for your home. If you’re interested in renewable energy, then check the renewable energy selector, too. To track down the worst electricity guzzlers, borrow an energy monitor free from any Wiltshire library. If you’re ready to take it further, it may be worth investing in a professional Green Deal on-site survey.

Step two: Research and action!

General information

The Energy Saving Trust is the most comprehensive source of information for the general public covering every aspect of energy efficiency and renewable energy. If you’re looking for technical detail, there are some useful resources aimed at housing professionals, too. Its telephone advice line, charged at national call rates, is 0300 123 1234.

The Severn Wye Energy Agency is a local charity, supported by Wiltshire Council, to provide impartial advice on technical questions, grants or installers. It is building up a network of accredited local energy installers, and runs the free Warm and Well energy telephone advice line: 0800 500 3076.

The Green Deal was launched by government in early 2013, to support householders in carrying out energy audits, then implementing and financing recommendations. The Centre for Sustainable Energy has a good independent factsheet on the Green Deal, as well as on the different measures covered.

More technical detail

For more in-depth technical expertise, check out the Green Building Forum. If you can’t find what you want in existing threads, participants are incredibly helpful in sharing their experience.. The forum is hosted by the Green Building Press , which produces the invaluable Green Building Bible and the Green Building magazine.

The Sustainable Building Association or AECB is another good source of technical information. It provides a services directory, which can be helpful in finding an installer or architect, as well as an online forum, events etc.

Older buildings

If you live in an older home, the English Heritage website “Climate Change and your Home” provides a useful series of publications to download, including “Energy Conservation in Traditional Buildings“, which includes information on planning and building regulations as well as recommended approaches. There is also a customisable tool providing tailored information for your home.

Warmer Bath : A guide to improving the energy efficiency of traditional buildings in Bath”, produced by Bath Preservation Trust and the Centre for Sustainable Energy is another good free resource.

See for yourself

The National Self-Build and Renovation Centre in Swindon is worth a trip. It has permanent displays by a wide range of manufacturers, as well as occasional free workshops.

The Low Energy Building database, has over 100 online case studies, while the Superhomes initiative has details of over 150 properties. Some of these hold open days: you can search for them by area.

You can find links to more Open Homes projects, including lots of case studies, at the end of the Energy Saving Trust Open Homes guide.