Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, has urged home energy efficiency businesses and local tradesmen to sign up to a new scheme aimed at making homes carbon-efficient in the area.
The Government’s Green Homes Grant scheme launched in October, aiming at providing grants that cover two-thirds of the cost of work carried out in homes that reduce their carbon footprint. The scheme will give homeowners a voucher worth up to £5,000 that specifically covers energy efficiency and low carbon heat improvements to homes. Some households may even be able to receive grants of up to £10,000 if they fit certain criteria.
Saxby believes that not only will the scheme help the 5,100 households in North Devon that suffer fuel poverty, but also local businesses and tradespeople who can carry out the work, thus stimulating the local economy.
“Local tradespeople and businesses can also take advantage of this scheme by registering as a service provider,” she told In Your Area. "I hope this scheme will benefit as many North Devon businesses as possible, so if you can provide insulation or fit double glazing do look at signing up with TrustMark as a service provider to take on the work.”
In addition to the homes suffering fuel poverty in her constituency, there are also an estimated 31,800 with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of C or lower, making them thermally inefficient and thus liable to higher energy bills. By resolving issues in those homes, landlords can reduce bills for tenants who are close to the fuel poverty line, or residents can ease the burdens placed upon them through the winter months.
Whilst the Government’s scheme is commendable, there are some practical steps homeowners can take to reduce their own emissions and improve fuel efficiency this winter. It is believed getting North Devon homes to a good energy efficiency level could save the average household £270 per year on energy bills, as well as increasing the property value.
If you want to affect your bills in a practical way, you can look to use a smart thermostat on your existing system. They allow you to control your heating from an app, turning it down when you are out or off altogether if you unexpectedly do not come home. They also learn your family’s patterns and eventually control your heating for you in an efficient and effective manner.
If you do add something such as a smart thermostat to your home, it is advisable to get some basic cover for your heating system too, especially as a breakdown can be catastrophic in terms of cost. In the winter months, a breakdown can be devastating, and any drive towards a more efficient, cost-effective solution could be disrupted by expensive remedial work and makeshift heating patterns. To that end, leading home assistance provider HomeServe emphasises the importance of insurance for your heating installation. It could not be more relevant right now, as the protection would ensure quick repairs and little need for temporary solutions which may cost more. That protection may also give you some peace of mind going into the colder months, especially if you are warming your home for your family.
One simple method of keeping costs down without purchasing any equipment at all is to turn your thermostat down by a single degree. You will not typically notice the temperature dropping by a degree, but it can save you up to 3% on your overall bills through the year. Turning off radiators in rooms you do not use can help bills too, as can simple actions such as using thicker curtains, or moving furniture away from radiators. Whilst the government grant will certainly help those with older homes, there are plenty of practical tips you can follow this winter to keep your North Devon home warm and cosy.
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