Wednesday, January 29, 2014

More Home Energy Tips and One High Energy Grammy Performance

Today as part of my ongoing CAB volunteer role I went to a session called "Understanding the impact of living in a cold home" held at  Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall, the session was led by Liz Warren of SE² who  are in the business of providing 'consulting services to the energy and environment sector' which in this case was about how to help people who have challenges around heating their homes the funding for the presentation comes from the tri-borough   Public health money  the Tri-borough is the description of the  three councils in London who work together  on a number of Public Council issues- (they are Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster councils).

What my number one takeaway from the event was that for one  'unit of 'energy'  at today's prices Gas is a third of the price of Electricity - so don't use electricity to heat your home on a regular basis unless you have no choice.

Here are some issues for people who have cold homes around Physical and Mental Health Problems

1) People who suffer joint pains and ailments like Arthritis, Asthma and other respiratory conditions will have their conditions worsened by cold, draughts and and dampness.

2) There is a phenomenon known as Excess Winter Deaths, deaths increase in the winter but sudden cold spells can cause this to peak, for example last year  (Winter  (2012-13) the expected England & Wales winter deaths were 25,000 but as a result of the bad weather this was actually 31,000 an excess of 6,000.

Hammersmith and Fulham Town Hall
Living in a cold home can make the occupants more prone to infection this is likely to increase  School and work absences meaning poorer take home pay for some people and a bad effect on school performance

Increasingly people are limited by their budgets and choose between heating and eating this hits old people particularly and Hypothermia can result  (typically prolonged exposure to sub 5° Centigrade environments).

3) As well as a physical detriment people can suffer mental health issues both as a result of  worry over  heating bills and  and as a result of lower levels of personal energy.

The bg lesson coming from the session was that there is help for those suffering be it from Councils the CAB or  ECO (the  Energy Companies Obligations) in Hammersmith.

If you live in London and want to find out more about what your council can do to help you on Energy matters this is a useful resource   just select your borough.

So to list some other points:

There is support for some people who are on benefits and the elderly.(Check CAB for example).

* Initiatives like London Switch might be worth considering but no guarantee that this is the best offer for you Uswitch and Which Switch? are  two good sites for checking alternative suppliers (there are others too).

*Only 5% of us change energy suppliers (we're less likely to do this than we are to get divorced).
And bring your piano indoors

*Consider Loft insulation, double glazing, cavity wall insulation and more sophisticated heating controllers.
(if when there's snow or a hard frost your roof is clear before others around you which still have snow or frost you could be losing a lot of energy through your roof!)

*Lower the heating in rooms you don't spend much time in - keep the bedroom at a lower temperature and use thicker Duvets and/or hot water bottle.
Turn stuff off or down-  particularly when you go away either to work or on holiday.

 Stevie Wonder, Nile, The Hat and a couple of Daft Punks

I still love this song - and what a buzz when the 'control room' is revealed with the two suitably crazily dressed French guys- some great self sampling and fine famous audience figures bopping too...

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