Design Guides for Energy Efficiency

In the light of the government's commitment to the UK becoming carbon neutral by 2050 and to banning the installation of new gas fired boilers in existing homes by 2035, we thought it might be helpful to provide the residents with some basic guidelines for improving the energy efficiency and carbon footprint of their properties with particular regard to the original properties designed by the architect Alfred Burlingham some of which are well over one hundred years old and therefore far from being up to modern standards of insulation and energy efficiency.


Abbotswood became a Conservation Area in 2011 primarily because the estate is considered to be a particularly fine example of an early garden suburb in the Arts & Crafts style and because most of the original buildings on Abbotswood that were designed by the young architect Alfred Claude Burlingham are largely intact. Conservation Area status is designed to protect the original buildings from ill-considered alterations and additions and to protect the character and ambience of the neighbourhood.


These guidelines start by looking at different options for power and heat sources, and then consider various ways to improve the energy efficiency of your properties while also considering some of the practical issues and some of the planning implications involved, particularly bearing in mind that we live in a conservation area.


For options on various power and heat sources, and methods of improving the insulation of your properties, refer to the menu on the left hand side. Remember that big improvements to the energy efficiency of a property can be achieved at relatively little expense by thoroughly draft proofing all external doors and windows and by sealing up any unused flues. By far the most cost effective way of improving the energy efficiency of your property is to improve the insulation as this will immediately reduce the amount of energy you consume.


Please bear in mind that it is pointless thinking of installing either ground sourced or air sourced heat pumps unless the walls, floors and roof of your house have been fully insulated, windows installed with double glazed units or, better still, secondary glazing and all unused flues properly sealed. 


All estimates are approximate and depend on size and capacity and are based on 2023 costs.


A little homily


It turns out that the reduced levels of CO2 emissions during lockdown closely match the annual reductions we need to achieve to meet UN emissions targets. And while many aspects of lockdown were tough, particularly for the young, elderly, isolated, etc, there were many benefits of a less frenetic world - less air pollution, less traffic, less noise, and above all - less waste.


When you consider the life cycle energy and embodied energy in almost everything we make and use, the most effective thing we can all do is to buy and use less and make everything we have last much longer. That goes for cars, clothes - in fact everything we use and consume.