Why are governments and individuals not prepared to be proactive and insulate houses?
There was a very interesting edition of Panorama way back on BBC1 on 9th December 2013 called “Energy Bills – Power Failure?” The programme looked at various aspects of the energy business but what particularly struck me was the piece with Donnachadh McCarthy an Energy Saving Advisor who showed Tom Heap the programme presenter his £18 annual gas bill.
So here is the simple question, “who would like an £18 per year gas bill?” I suspect I could get trampled in the stampede for people wanting to have that sort of outlay. So why isn’t it happening everywhere?
Well it sort of is. There are schemes available to upgrade heating boilers, add cavity wall and attic insulation, all for free. I say free but the cost is currently born by the energy companies but as a cost cutting measure the government is proposing to scrap this in order to pass on the savings to the customers. I guess this is a typical chicken and egg situation. We need better insulated properties to reduce our energy costs. We also need lower bills to be able to afford the insulation.
I think the government is being short sighted in its approach. (Probably because of the short time between elections) If it could take the lead with its support in improving the countries housing stock, then so many factors could be positively affected.
The much publicised “Green Deal” was an attempt to head in that direction but it was badly flawed. It will be interesting to see if any government introduce something that will be fit for purpose.
So what’s the actual cost of getting cheaper bills? Well in Mr McCarthy’s example he estimated between £10,000 and £15,000. OK, it’s not cheap but if the average annual gas bill is around £900 then without allowing for interest then that’s about an 11 year payback time. He also insulated internally, under the floors, installed triple glazing and installed a wood burning stove. The insulation works alone would have meant considerable additional decoration costs.
What difference would it make if we just did the easy stuff? Well if the loft and walls were insulated and double glazing fitted then regardless of the type of house, detached, semi-detached or terraced then we could expect to approximately half our heat loss which means half our heating bills. The costs range from “free” to a payback within two years. It’s worth checking out: