In March 2011, I had an air tightness test conducted by Christ Spoorenberg of EcoScan. The results were a slightly disappointing 7.68 Air Changes/Hour @ 50 Pa and a Permeability of 6.17 m3/h.m2. However, as I was less than halfway through the sealing process outlined below at that time, it may not have been too bad and, in addition, the thermal imaging also carried out showed up a number of weak points where I was losing heat such as hall door, hot press, fireplace/stove and attic door. I have subsequently dealt with all of these now apart from the attic door.
The reduction in electricity use has been achieved by means of a detailed audit of all appliances, and their usage, and systematically going about tackling each of them. Whenever I’m replacing an appliance I choose the most energy efficient option available – the most recent example of this being an amazing induction hob in my revamped kitchen. LED technology has advanced rapidly in recent years and I now have an LED option in almost every room which has more than halved my electricity usage for lighting in recent years. A dramatic reduction came in 2008 when I installed SOLARFOCUS solar panels for hot water and in the process did away with both summer electric immersion and electric power shower in one fell swoop – anyone used to a power shower might find my gravity fed shower a little tame but I find it more than adequate!
It may seem counter intuitive to be putting in electric heaters but the heat loss for the house is now so low (less than 3kW) that they are only needed to supplement the solid fuel stove I installed in 2006. In addition, I am now generating my own electricity from my solar photovoltaic (PV) system (see my separate post on this for more detail and latest data) and, as I am exporting almost 80% of output to the grid, my net purchase of electricity is running at just over 500 units in a 12-month period at a net cost of about €200. It seems to me very last century to pipe a fossil fuel halfway across Europe into my home to burn it in a boiler and then pump the hot water all around my house!