The house I am currently living in was built in 1960. I have long been pondering what exactly to do with it: the choices being the demolish it and rebuild a new, or to renovate it.
It’s got lots of glass. A very sixties house. Even though it’s double glazed to a reasonable standard (mostly aluminium frames), it gets cold and the heating system is barely up to the task of keeping it warm in winter. It will readily burn 20 litres of oil a day in winter on space heating and that translates to something like 150kWh/m2/annum under normal occupancy conditions. Or ten times the PassivHaus standard of 15kWh/m2/annum, now the target of choice for low energy designs.
It has cavity walls — that’s easy to tell because all the bricks are stretchers — but whether the cavity itself has insulation in it I have no idea. So, when researching an article last month about grants for cavity wall insulation, I contacted two agencies who undertook grant work and both said they would send a surveyor out within six weeks. Last night at 8pm, a guy rings and asks if he can come by at 8 am this morning. He actually arrives at 7.22. He’s gone by 7.27, having drilled one hole through the brickwork, found evidence of some polystyrene beading and then announced that “I’d no need to worry because I’d been done already.”
I am left wondering. What was all that about?
I await the visit of surveyor No 2. And more thoughts about the Cavity Wall Insulation Business.
The scheme contact details are as follows. One is run by the Energy Savings Trust, called the Affordable Energy Scheme (Tel: 0800 512012); the other is called the Heat Project (Tel: 0800 093 4050), which is funded by the energy suppliers. They offer pretty much the same thing, which is subsidised cavity wall and/or loft insulation. Anyone can apply for this grant-aided work, which has to be carried out by approved installers, and the rate paid is fixed at £189 which gets you 130m2 of cavity wall insulation or 55m2 of loft insulation – or twice £189 (=£378) if you want both. If your project exceeds these amounts, you are charged pro rata at £4.50/m2. If your project is smaller, then the rate is lower.