Reducing energy usage, increasing renewable energy generation and tackling wasted heat is central to meeting our targets to reduce CO2 emissions. As a Local Authority we have a responsibility to make our own buildings more efficient and have a role in increasing the generation of low carbon energy, but to achieve net zero for the borough we all need to engage. ABC want to aid the transition to lower carbon living, we recognise change is difficult, but will work with residents and businesses to better understand barriers, provide information, guidance and support.
What are Ashford Borough Council doing?
We are supporting the development of low carbon buildings through guidance and the Local Plan.
We are currently exploring several options for increasing solar on our buildings and ground source heating networks.
Targeted strategy in place to insulate our housing stock in most need, to reduce energy use and wasted heat and improve comfort.
Central Government funding has been secured to move the Stour Centre to renewables, with air source heat pumps now generating 90% of heating instead of gas. Tenterden Leisure Centre soon to follow suit with a 70% reduction in utility consumption. All our other council buildings are being assessed for energy measures.
We are signposting funding opportunities for businesses and residents to help installation of green measures in their properties e.g. insulation, EV charging points and solar.
How can you take action?
We’ve compiled tips for you to try at home to keep the warmth where you need it, plus ways to use less energy and save money on your bills.
- Keep furniture away from radiators – get the maximum benefit from your heating by not blocking them.
- Use your thermostat – set your thermostat to the lowest comfortable temperature, which for most is between 18 to 21 degrees.
- Keep the heat in – closing doors and using draught excluders reduces the amount of heating moving into colder areas of your home, such as the hall. If there’s a gap at the bottom of the door block it with a draught excluder – you can make one stuffed with used plastic bags or bits of spare material.
- Careful with your washing – wash on a 30-degree cycle and try to reduce your usage by one run per week for a year. This can save around £34 a year.
- Switch off standby – almost all electrical appliances can be turned off at the plug without upsetting their programming. This can save around £65 per year.
- Spend less time in the shower – by keeping to a 4-minute shower time, this can save around £95 a year
- Buy the most energy efficient applicances you can afford.
Draughts happen where there are unwanted gaps in the construction of your home, and where openings are left uncovered. You should block up any that let cold air in and warm air out.
Insulating your hot water pipes
Pipe insulation consists of a foam tube that covers the exposed pipes between your hot water cylinder and boiler, reducing the amount of heat lost and therefore keeping your water hotter for longer.
Bleed your radiators
Yearly bleeding of radiators will reduce potential cold spots throughout your home and make your radiators more effective.
Top up your hot water cylinder insulation
Nearly all UK hot water cylinders have some insulation. However, those with hot water tank jackets under 25mm thick could benefit from top-up insulation to an 80mm jacket.
Most of the heat lost is from the roof, windows, walls and unwanted gaps. So, by tackling the amount of heat that is lost through these sources can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint and of course those energy bills.
A number of grants are available to improve the fabric of our buildings and the efficiency of our heating systems.
- Sustainable Warmth is a new Government grant scheme designed to fund energy-efficiency upgrades to residents who are most likely to be impacted by the high cost of rising bills. These improvements will help residents to use less energy and spend less on their energy bills. Please find advice on eligibility on our website.
- ECO (Energy Companies Obligation) grants or Affordable Warmth – Additionally the government has a range of grants to incentivise home improvements for a wider range of income levels – further details can be found on the government grants website.
As well as making our homes work more efficiently moving to a low carbon source of heating your home and hot water will impact your carbon footprint. The energy saving trust is a good starting point to understand the different options and what might be best for you eg. Solar or Heat Pumps.
Simple Energy Advice is a government-endorsed service which gives independent and impartial advice on improving your home’s efficiency and keeping warm.
For a free shower timer and other water saving devices visit the Save Water Save Money website.