Making your home energy efficient: support along the way

Making your home energy efficient: support along the way

26 April 2023 Off By Piero Stallo

Creating a warmer and more energy-efficient home offers many benefits but can be a daunting prospect. Practical guidance and learning alongside others make it a more manageable project.

Many of us are concerned about soaring energy prices and what we can do to be ready for the phasing out of gas boilers. Many are also aware of the impact our leaky homes have on carbon emissions and climate change. The benefits of making our homes energy efficient by retrofitting them are clear: our homes are warmer and more comfortable; our energy bills are reduced; and we are one step nearer to Oxfordshire’s target of a 50% reduction in emissions by 2030.

So why aren’t we all getting started on retrofitting our homes?

There is no one answer to this question but factors include not knowing where to start or where to find impartial advice. It is also related to finance, both its availability and knowing how best to spend what can be afforded – these are high-stake decisions. The influence of friends, family and neighbours also has a big impact on what we decide to do with our property and not everyone has a network of people with prior experience of retrofit.

Low Carbon Oxford North (LCON) is a community action group offering practical ideas, information and activities, to help combat the climate crisis. To help overcome these barriers LCON launched its ‘Housewarming’ programme, an initiative providing information and support for homeowners in making their homes more energy efficient.

A set of concise and well-illustrated guides take homeowners through the key aspects of retrofit. Care is taken to explain the jargon that homeowners might come across in dealing with retrofit coordinators and installers. The guides are free to download and include:

– Taking stock
– Insulation
– Windows and Doors
– Draughts and Ventilation
– Heating and Controls
– Whole House Plan

As well as having good written information, LCON has found that bringing homeowners together in a supportive environment helps them to navigate the process, build greater confidence and understanding of the options available, and identify the right steps for each home. The Housewarming programme includes monthly meet-ups and there is also a WhatsApp Group where the conversation is carried on between meetings sharing tips, product ideas, and recommendations.

A very important aspect of the programme is the sharing of personal experience. It is these details, for example when someone explains their thinking in choosing one sort of window, or one sort of insulation, over another, that give a deeper understanding of each topic.

If you are starting your retrofit journey

  1. read the Housewarming Guides
  2. consider coming along to one of LCON’s Housewarming meetings
  3. read The Basics of Retrofitting on the Climate Action Oxfordshire website

For further information email the Housewarming Coordinator