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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Fair deal demand to insulate stone-built homes

A fairer deal is being sought for residents of Calderdale who live in stone-built houses, to help them insulate their homes.

Until recently, many people thought that the most common methods of insulating homes, lagging lofts and filling cavity walls were not suitable at many properties. Residents had a survey carried out on their homes but had been told that nothing could be done. But research carried out for Calderdale Council has shown that this isn't the case. Many stone properties, even dating back to the early twentieth century were built with cavities.

While the research is important locally, it also could have big implications for energy policy nationally, as the Government develops its new 'Green Deal' and the Energy Company Obligation.

Another feature of local housing is the use of attic rooms, which prevents loose loft insulation being laid. Calderdale's research highlights a solution for this, dry-lining the inside of the roof. To find out how easily stone built homes could be insulated, a pilot project has worked on 40 houses across the borough, using a variety of methods.

Government and Energy Company grants to help residents with the cost of making their homes more energy efficient have often not been available to many borough residents, despite the fact that they are subsidising these grants through their electricity and gas bills at a rate of around £90 a year. The issue affects around 40,000 properties in Calderdale alone.

Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr. Janet Battye said, "This is important research that could make a massive difference to residents across Calderdale and in many other parts of the North.

"We're not asking for more money, just for the existing sources of funding to be better used so that more people can get access to it. Previously they were told they couldn't because nothing could be dome for their homes ? we've shown that this simply isn't the case."

"We want to share with Government departments, Ofgem and the energy companies that this issue can be solved locally."

And local people who took part in the pilot project have already seen a big difference to their houses and their heating bills.

Anne Handley from Hebden Bridge said, "My gas consumption was almost halved in the winter months. At a guess I think I've saved about £300."

"The insulation work has definitely added value to my house. It is an end terrace in a very exposed position but it now compares in energy efficiency with my neighbour's mid terrace."

"Insulating the attic ceiling and walls has turned an uncomfortable cold room that nobody liked sleeping in, into the cosiest room in the house."

"Loft insulation and cavity wall insulation were just not possible in my old stone cottage, but this project showed that there are other options."

Mr & Mrs Rothery of Mount Tabor had cavity wall insulation added at their home, as well as loft insulation. Mr Rothery said, "It's made a real difference to our energy bills and our house felt much warmer last winter.

Background information

Calderdale Council's report Hard to Treat or Hard to Fund



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