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Portsmouth City Council Toasts Further Home Energy Success

Portsmouth City Council has been successful in a bid for £3.1 million of grant funding to assist with the installation of energy efficiency measures in up to 300 additional households across Portsmouth and Gosport. The funding will form a key component in treating some of the least energy efficient homes across the cities by offering … Continued

Portsmouth City Council has been successful in a bid for £3.1 million of grant funding to assist with the installation of energy efficiency measures in up to 300 additional households across Portsmouth and Gosport.

The funding will form a key component in treating some of the least energy efficient homes across the cities by offering solid wall insulation and upgraded heating controls to residents. As part of Portsmouth City Council, Switched On Portsmouth will deliver these measures alongside all other household energy efficiency schemes currently made available by the council.

The grant will allow qualifying households to receive solid wall insulation for free up to a value of £10,000; with all other homes with hard-to-treat walls being eligible for 66% of the total cost, to a total of £5,000. Solid walls in homes allow for heat to escape easily, meaning higher fuel bills. Insulation helps to trap the heat within the home, making it warmer, easier and cheaper to heat, and reducing the carbon emissions from the property. In all, the scheme could save £43,500 annually from households in Portsmouth; and reduce carbon emissions by 177 tonnes per year.

The council has worked hard over the past year to increase the energy saving and fuel poverty mitigation services it offers. In November 2019, it launched the Switched On Portsmouth website and approved a residential home energy and water efficiency strategy. This year, Switched On Portsmouth published its 19-20 Impact Report, providing information on how it has helped 1,149 home.

Commenting upon the announcement of the funding award, Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said, “I am over the moon to be able to announce the award of this funding. Treating solid walled homes in the city has always been difficult to fund, despite the enormous benefit to the households’ energy usage and carbon emissions. Domestic properties are responsible for around 15% of carbon emissions, with solid wall homes often being those with the highest emissions, so this is an important step on our journey to net zero carbon by 2030.”

The scheme is being managed by the council’s long-time partners, Agility Eco, who help to run a number of other schemes for Portsmouth City Council, including the Warmer Homes fund, to which this will be an addition. Agility Eco CEO, Gearoid Lane, welcomed further support in Portsmouth, “We’re delighted to have the opportunity to build on our partnership with Portsmouth City Council to help low income households stay warm and well. Working together over the years we have supported hundreds of households by installing efficient new heating systems, insulating properties to a high standard and providing energy and money-saving advice. This project will ensure Portsmouth continues to lead the way on reducing carbon emissions and eliminating fuel poverty.

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has provided the funding. The grant funding comes from the Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme; part of a wider energy efficiency budget announced by the Chancellor in July.

The council has previously been successful in securing grant funding for home visits, a telephone advice line and free first-time central heating installations. More details of the scheme will be announced in coming weeks, so please click here to register interest in the Warmer Homes insulation scheme, and find information about other schemes which can help households in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas save money on their energy bills.

School picture
10 ways to save energy if your kids are off school

10 Top tips! Make sure your home school area has optimal natural lighting to reduce need for artificial lighting. Make you have energy efficient lighting – switching from a halogen bulb to an LED can save you up to £3 per year per bulb switch. Move around – any learning that can incorporate movement might … Continued

10 Top tips!
  1. Make sure your home school area has optimal natural lighting to reduce need for artificial lighting.
  2. Make you have energy efficient lighting – switching from a halogen bulb to an LED can save you up to £3 per year per bulb switch.
  3. Move around – any learning that can incorporate movement might not only keep you warmer but can be found to improve learning.
  4. Encourage learning that is book or activity based rather than electronic where you can.
  5. Limit screen time and make sure all their electronics are turned off at night.
  6. Make a meal and lesson plan to try batch cooking to use less energy and plan lessons which are low-energy use.
  7. If you don’t already have a smart meter – ask your energy supplier for one which can help you monitor energy use and identify high energy activities.
  8. Teach kids about energy and water saving and you can even make it into a bingo game. Try make a list of energy saving activities like ‘turned the tap off while brushing teeth’ and ‘turned the light off in an unused room’ and see who can get energy bingo first.
  9. Check if you’re eligible for a free energy and money saving appointment here. This includes support to help maximise your income such as a referral to the income maximisation service which can help identify if you’re missing out in any benefits you’re eligible for. You can get further money support here.
  10. Try get out for a walk or something once a day if you can, time away from electronics can help save a bit of money.
Further support

Call Switched On Portsmouth on 0800 260 5907, Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm for further support.

If you’re also working from home read our working from home energy saving tips here.

If you’re struggling with mental health there is also lots of free support services in Portsmouth here.

desk picture
10 ways to save energy while working from home

10 ways to save energy while working from home If you would normally walk around in the office try get out for a walk before work, at lunch or after work to keep your body temperature up throughout the day. Optimise natural light – make sure your work space/home office is getting the best natural … Continued

10 ways to save energy while working from home

  1. If you would normally walk around in the office try get out for a walk before work, at lunch or after work to keep your body temperature up throughout the day.
  2. Optimise natural light – make sure your work space/home office is getting the best natural light possible.
  3. Make sure you have energy efficient lighting.
  4. Try keeping you hot drinks in a travel mug with a lid (it keeps them warmer for longer).
  5. Ask your energy supplier for a smart meter if you don’t already have one. It will help you keep track of high energy activities.
  6. Try batch cooking and meal prepping to keep energy requirements down and it also saves time on your lunch break.
  7. Need to charge your work phone? Charge it before bed and make sure you don’t leave it on to charge overnight.
  8. Make sure your laptop/desktop if off at night (not just on standby).
  9. See if you could save money by switching tariffs or supplier here.
  10. See if you are eligible for free energy and money saving phone appointment here.

 

Call Switched On Portsmouth on 0800 260 5907, Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm for further support.

5 Cold Weather Tips

  5 Cold Weather Tips Keep up to date with weather warnings via the met office so you can prepare for colder spells. Prepare for colder spells by gathering supplies in advance, including any fuel credit or medical prescriptions you may need. Look out for vulnerable neighbours – although this is trickier in the pandemic … Continued

 

5 Cold Weather Tips

  1. Keep up to date with weather warnings via the met office so you can prepare for colder spells.
  2. Prepare for colder spells by gathering supplies in advance, including any fuel credit or medical prescriptions you may need.
  3. Look out for vulnerable neighbours – although this is trickier in the pandemic you could ring your neighbours to make sure they are provided for.
  4. Heat your home to a minimum of 18°C and if you’re worried about high energy bills visit our energy savings advice or give us a call on 0800 260 5907. (Open Mon – Fri 9am to 5pm)
  5. Check if you are eligible for Warm Home Discount, Cold Weather Payments, the Priority Services Register , Green Homes Grant or the flu vaccine.

You can also read:

New Year’s Energy Resolutions

10 New Year’s Energy Resolutions Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face. Charge your phone before bed & make sure electronics are off not just on stand-by. Put lids on your pans when cooking as this makes your food cook faster & saves energy! Mark a one month reminder … Continued

10 New Year’s Energy Resolutions

  1. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face.
  2. Charge your phone before bed & make sure electronics are off not just on stand-by.
  3. Put lids on your pans when cooking as this makes your food cook faster & saves energy!
  4. Mark a one month reminder on your calendar for when your energy tariffs expire to remind you to pick a new tariff.
  5. Only boil the water you need in your kettle.
  6. Have a shower instead of a bath.
  7. Air-dry your washing instead of using the tumble dryer.
  8. Set your washing machine to an ‘eco’ cycle or wash at 30 if it’s not dirty.
  9. Switch energy supplier.
  10. Ask your energy supplier for a smart meter – they’re free and help monitor your energy usage.

Happy New Year!

Solar and battery first to help power Portsmouth International Port

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services Team have selected a partner to deliver a ground-breaking solar and battery installation at Portsmouth International Port. The system, to be installed by Custom Solar, will incorporate roof-mounted solar panels across a number of buildings, a large battery and solar canopies. The installation will begin in the new year and … Continued

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services Team have selected a partner to deliver a ground-breaking solar and battery installation at Portsmouth International Port. The system, to be installed by Custom Solar, will incorporate roof-mounted solar panels across a number of buildings, a large battery and solar canopies.

The installation will begin in the new year and is expected to be completed by the summer. When complete, the power produced by the 1,670 solar panels will contribute around 30% of the site’s power; a significant step in Portsmouth International Port’s ambition to be the UK’s first net zero carbon port.

The project breaks new ground for the council and nationally. It is the first UK port to have solar canopies and a mega-watt sized battery installed as part of a renewable installation. When completed, the 750 kilowatt peak system, will be the largest solar and battery installation to date across the council’s portfolio of renewable generation.

As well as generating carbon-free power, the solar canopies will provide shade for cars waiting to board ferries; allowing them to stay cooler for longer, without having to run their engines. The canopies also provide the infrastructure to support additional electric vehicle (EV) charge-points.

The battery, with a capacity of 1 megawatt hour (enough to run a typical home for 3 ½ months), will capture green power that would otherwise be exported from the site and using it in the Port’s buildings when it is needed.

The new battery will work in tandem with an upcoming battery storage pilot announced in the summer; supplying balancing services to the national grid and storing power during lower pricing periods. When complete, it is estimated that 98% of the electricity consumed by the Port will come from the solar and battery, combined.

Commenting on the project, Cllr Dave Ashmore, Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member of Environment and Climate Change said: “This upcoming project is another brilliant example of the fantastic work the council is doing to reduce Portsmouth’s carbon emissions, in line with our commitment to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2030.

This innovative project, incorporating rooftop solar PV, solar canopies and large-scale battery storage will reduce annual emissions by 159 tonnes at this busy site.

Jerry Clarke, senior project manager and assistant harbour master at Portsmouth International Port added: “The port is owned by the people of Portsmouth, so we have a duty to control and reduce the impact of port operations on the local environment.

“We’re delighted to work with the wider council and Custom Solar on this exciting project. It will significantly expand our solar generating capability, and is part of an integrated approach that has seen us invest in electric vehicles that will be powered by our own renewable energy.

“Combined with other measures in our carbon reduction plan, it will help us achieve our ambition of becoming one of the UK’s first net carbon neutral ports”.

The work is the latest in a series of solar and battery projects being managed by the council’s in-house energy services team. The team procured Custom Solar after a competitive tender exercise through the council’s newly established PV and Storage framework.

Gary Sucharewycz, Custom Solar’s Development Director commented on the upcoming PIP project, “We are very proud to have been selected to work with Portsmouth City Council on this exciting and innovative project. This will be a major flagship project in the industry and will be developed and designed to maximise the opportunity for reducing emissions and energy from the grid, utilising solar and large-scale battery storage.

The project will also showcase the ability to deploy rooftop solar and a major solar canopy solution in a busy operational environment, with a strategy being developed alongside Portsmouth City Council for maximising the generated power and storage solution”.

The Energy White Paper

A guide to energy decarbonisation The Government released its long awaited for Energy White Paper this week – a guide to the Government’s plans to “overwhelmingly decarbonise power in the 2030s”. The paper links into the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, outlining how the UK plans to switch to green … Continued

A guide to energy decarbonisation

The Government released its long awaited for Energy White Paper this week – a guide to the Government’s plans to “overwhelmingly decarbonise power in the 2030s”.

The paper links into the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, outlining how the UK plans to switch to green energy to support the net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050. They hope to introduce new measures to cut emissions from industry, transport and buildings by 230 million metric tonnes over the next 10 years. That’s the equivalent of 7.5 million petrol cars being removed from the roads.

Plans to increase the amount of electric heat pump installations from 30,000 per year to 600,000 by 2038 are outlined within the paper. This supports the goal of decarbonising heat. The current heat pump market is underdeveloped, which is delaying the role out of the green technology. With investment, more highly skilled workers can be trained to install the equipment, making the goal more realistic.

Affordability

The paper also outlines support for vulnerable energy consumers – something that is especially important going forward as switching heating systems to electric in order to reduce carbon emissions comes with a high cost to households. The paper aims to “put affordability at the heart of the UK’s decisive shift away from fossil fuels”.

They’ve announced a £6.7 billion support system that will run for 6 years. This includes extending the Warm Home Discount until 2026 (it was due to end in 2021) and increasing the amount of funding assigned to it by £125 million per year. This will be delivered to 750,000 households, giving them £150 off their electricity bills each winter. National charity, NEA, will be working with the Government to improve the application process by ensuring the poorest working age households that are eligible are automatically provided with the rebate, as many miss out on the funding currently as they are unaware that they need to apply each year.

The paper also confirms again that the new Green Homes Grant scheme will be extended for a further year, as was outlined in the Ten Point Plan. This scheme offers households funding to support the installation of insulation and green heating solutions.

The aims:
  • Support the lowest paid with bills through a £6.7 billion package of measures that aims to save households up to £400.
  • Supporting 220,000 jobs in the next 10 years
  • Transforming the UKs energy system to double electricity use and harness renewable energy supplies
  • Keeping bills affordable by making the energy retail market more competitive
  • Generating emission-free electricity by 2050
  • Establish a UK Emissions Trading Scheme in 2021 to replace the current EU scheme.
  • Explore finance options for new nuclear power with EDF.
  • Deliver 40GW of offshore wind power by 2030 – including 1GW of “floating wind”
  • Invest £1 billion in Carbon Capture and Storage
  • Support 5GW of hydrogen production by 2030 with a £240 million net zero Hydrogen Fund for low carbon hydrogen production
  • Invest £1.3 billion to rollout electric charge points for electric vehicles in homes, streets and on motorways
  • Invest £1 billion to support the electrification of cars
  • All new heating systems by 2030 to be low carbon or appliances that can be converted to clean fuel supply
  • Support North Sea oil and gas transition to ensure the expertise of the oil and gas sector be drawn in to clean technology to provide new green jobs.

The white paper offers some very exciting aims to reduce emissions and support vulnerable households – It’s essential that the shift to green heat and power puts affordability at the heart of each step, to make sure vulnerable households are not burdened with the brunt of the switch to green energy.

Debates remain about the cost-effectiveness of investing in nuclear power, as the planned Sizewell C site could generate 3.2 gigawatts of electricity, but at the expense of taxpayers. The investment in offshore wind has been widely accepted within the sector.

You can read our future plans to support Portsmouth’s own net zero by 2030 goal in our Energy and Water at Home strategy.

by Anttonia Lindup
Anttonia
Energy scoops award
Energy Services Team Scoops Further Awards

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team have received further recognition for their work at the 2020 Energy Managers Associations (EMA) awards. The team were highly commended in the Energy Management Team of the Year Award (Public Sector), whilst energy services manager, Andrew Waggott, was awarded the ‘Energy Manager of the Year’ (Public Sector). The team … Continued

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team have received further recognition for their work at the 2020 Energy Managers Associations (EMA) awards.

The team were highly commended in the Energy Management Team of the Year Award (Public Sector), whilst energy services manager, Andrew Waggott, was awarded the ‘Energy Manager of the Year’ (Public Sector).

The team were highly commended for their work around energy efficiency and generation. The team was recognised for the scale and scope of the services they provide. The energy services team acts to set strategic direction for the local authority around all aspects of energy.

This includes work to decarbonise public buildings, develop low and zero carbon generation, set strong direction for new build projects, and deliver funded energy retrofits and support schemes for all households within the city.

At a time where many public bodies have reduced the size of their teams working in such areas, Portsmouth has quadrupled theirs; bringing on talented graduates and training them to become the next generation of energy experts in their field.

Meredydd Hughes, assistant director of Building Services, said:
“I am very proud that the team has deservedly won these awards, in recognition of their hard work and exceptional delivery. They have gone from strength to strength in recent years, servicing the energy needs of the Portsmouth City Council portfolio, as well as other clients and customers with whom they work. Energy is of strategic importance, in light of the declared climate emergency, to the council and wider city; and I expect them to continue to grow and develop in the future, in light of these challenges.”

The EMA Energy Management Awards are judged by Energy Managers to recognise those leading the energy management industry and inspiring others. The Awards provide a platform for the excellence and talent within the wider energy management network.

Portsmouth City Council energy services manager, Andrew Waggott, picked up the Energy Manager of the Year 2020 award (Public Sector).

Andrew was recognised for a number of achievements, most notably; helping to promote energy efficiency and renewable generation by putting it at the core of the council’s priorities, as well as training the next generation of energy professionals through the team’s graduate scheme.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, the council’s Cabinet Member of Environment and Climate Change said: “We are delighted that our expert in-house Energy Services team have again been recognised for their work around energy management, renewable generation projects and fuel poverty mitigation initiatives.”

“The team continues to go from strength to strength which is great news for the city and its residents as we strive to reach net zero carbon targets and help household with their energy bills”.

You can view the full list of winners here.

Cold Homes & Covid-19

Covid-19 has caused a huge economic impact on households, with unemployment rates increasing. More households are struggling with bills than usual, meaning many are likely to avoid heating their homes in order to stay afloat. It is expected that this will impact the ‘Excess Winter Deaths’ (EWD) rate for this winter, due to the illnesses … Continued

Covid-19 has caused a huge economic impact on households, with unemployment rates increasing. More households are struggling with bills than usual, meaning many are likely to avoid heating their homes in order to stay afloat. It is expected that this will impact the ‘Excess Winter Deaths’ (EWD) rate for this winter, due to the illnesses that are linked to living in a cold home.

EWDs are the difference between the average daily deaths in the winter months (December to March) compared to the rest of the year. Living in a cold home can cause and exacerbate respiratory illnesses, making sufferers of these illnesses more susceptible to Covid-19.

Switched On Portsmouth offer a wide range of free energy saving schemes to support households to stay warm and well in their homes. It is especially important that we reach as many homes as possible this winter to help reduce the EWD rate this year.

For perspective in December 2017 to March 2018 50,100 people died from EWD’s in England and Wales, this is only nine thousand less than the UK’s covid death rate which spans across the majority of 2020.

1) The EWD figures:

Winter Period

England & Wales EWD’s Portsmouth EWD’s High or lower?

Causes

2019 to 2020

28,300 Not published yet 19.6% higher than winter 2018 to 2019 Respiratory diseases continued to be the leading cause of excess winter deaths that occurred in 2019 to 2020. (Covid-19 deaths excluded from this number)
2018 to 2019 23,200 90 The excess winter mortality index in England in 2018 to 2019 was statistically significantly lower than the 2016 to 2017 and 2017 to 2018 winters Respiratory diseases continued to be the leading cause of excess winter deaths which occurred in 2018 to 2019.
2017 to 2018 50,100 180 The number of excess winter deaths in 2017 to 2018 was the highest recorded since winter 1975 to 1976

Over one-third (34.7%) of all excess winter deaths were caused by respiratory diseases.

‘Beast from the East’ period of extremely cold temperatures.

2) Causes of EWD’s

Top 3 ’causes of death’ on death certificates recorded are:

  • Respiratory conditions (chronic lower respiratory diseases & pneumonia most common)
  • Circulatory diseases
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

3) Why are cold temperatures dangerous?

  • Cold temperatures:
    • Raise your blood pressure and can put you at increased risk of a stroke or heart attack.
    • Increase risk of blood clots
    • Supresses your immune system making you more vulnerable to illnesses
    • Reducing your lungs effectiveness at fighting viruses
    • Can have negative impacts on your mental health putting you under strain and stress of fuel bills

4) COVID-19 & Cold homes

  • COVID-19 is a respiratory condition and living in a cold and/or damp home can cause respiratory problems
  • Living in a warm home improves your chances at fighting off viruses
  • Living in a warm home improves the recovery process from illnesses
  • More people will be struggling financially due to covid so more people will be struggling to afford to heat their home
  • Social isolation and medical health issues can be heighten with lockdown and cold homes

5) Why does all this matter?

  • The top two causes of EWD’s are directly related to living in a cold home and are preventable.
  • Why treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?‘ We need to tackle the root causes of illnesses and prevent them manifesting rather than treating symptoms.
  • We need to reduce the pressure on medical resources so that in times of global crisis/pandemic resources are not as strained. Improving people’s homes also has many benefits to the individuals comfort, happiness and to the environment.
  • We need to emphasise the connection to warm homes and staying healthy.

6) What help is available to Portsmouth, Gosport & Havant residents (eligibility applies):

  • Free broken boiler replacement scheme for owner occupiers
  • Free First time gas central heating for those using expensive electric heating
  • Free home energy visit/appointment- free small energy savings measures, advice and referrals onto further support
  • A supply of temporary heating and winter warmth packs for people in emergency situations
  • And more! Please visit our website or contact us for more info.

This quote from an Independence Support Assistant at Portsmouth Carers Centre shows the difference one referral can make:

‘Over the years I’ve visited her house it was freezing in the winter and she’d go to bed very early as it was the only way to stay warm. Since the referral to LEAP they have installed draught excluders and energy saving bulbs, advised on reducing energy bills and how to switch over from a pre-paid to a standard meter. As a result of all this support her home is now much warmer and she is much happier as no longer stressed about the cost of heating the property. For the first time in years she can manage her energy costs, is no longer in debt and her health has been much better too’

7) What to take away

1) If you have a health condition:

Please be aware if you have a long-term health condition that cold temperatures can be a danger to your health.  Please use the support on offer to keep warm this winter.  If you suffer from an existing health condition you are eligible for our free energy support.

2) If you are a local service:

Let’s work together to keep households warm & healthy: we need to spread awareness of the support available to reduce respiratory and circulatory conditions to prevent excess winter deaths. These deaths are preventable if we take action.

3) If you work in public health:

If you want to discuss how our services can help each other then please get in touch at energysaving@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Useful resources:

  • Public Health England: Cold weather and COVID-19 Guidance
  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): ‘Excess winter deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes’ Guidance
by Louise Hyde
Louise
Food for Thought

Portsmouth City Council has pledged to reduce Portsmouth’s scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions to NetZero by 2030. Part of reducing carbon emissions in the city involves reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place and also improving how that waste is dealt with once it reaches the bins by: improving recycling facilities … Continued

Portsmouth City Council has pledged to reduce Portsmouth’s scope 1, 2 & 3 emissions to NetZero by 2030. Part of reducing carbon emissions in the city involves reducing the amount of waste generated in the first place and also improving how that waste is dealt with once it reaches the bins by: improving recycling facilities and processes and introducing food waste collection.

Why do we need food waste collection?

In Portsmouth, 40% of non-recyclable rubbish going into the black bins/bags is food waste. When rubbish is collected on the kerbside rounds, it is taken to the Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) to be incinerated. The heat produced from the burning of rubbish creates steam and by turning turbines, generates electricity. The ERF in Portsmouth supplies up to 14MWs of electricity to the National Grid, enough for around 20,600 local homes. By processing waste through the ERF, we are able to avoid sending waste to landfill and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. Only around 4% of waste in Portsmouth is sent to landfill, which includes materials not able to be processed through incineration.

Although we recover energy through incinerating rubbish, anaerobic digestion is the best way to process food waste. This is because it halves the amount of carbon dioxide emissions when compared to ERF. Anaerobic digestion is where micro-organisms break down the waste into biogas and a nutrient-rich fertiliser. The biogas (carbon dioxide and methane) can be converted to heat and/or power, and the fertiliser can be used to improve soil quality; sequestering large amount of carbon as it is added to the soil.

Research shows that by collecting food waste, households tend to reduce the amount of food waste that they generate. This is because it becomes more obvious how much food is being thrown away each week, leading to a shift in behaviour. This is good news for the environment, as no solution for processing food waste, is as good as not creating the waste in the first place!

Why is Portsmouth different?

Portsmouth is the second Council in Hampshire to collect food waste, after Eastleigh. A Waste Composition Analysis (WCA) was carried out in 2018 and found the kerbside rubbish contained 40% food waste. In comparison, the WCA found mixed plastics equated to 9.7% of rubbish (not currently collected in Portsmouth). This is why PCC wanted to focus on food waste as it makes up such a large amount of the waste in the rubbish bins/bags.

The trial

The food waste collection trial was introduced in September 2019, with around 8,000 homes initially on the service. In October 2020, a further 10,000 homes were added, taking to total to nearly 20,000. Since starting the trial, 20% of waste collected in the trial areas has been diverted from energy recovery to anaerobic digestion.

What next?

A survey will be provided to residents in the second trial areas to give feedback sometime in the New Year. This survey, along with the results of the first one, will help shape the future of food waste collections in Portsmouth.

What you can do?

The council are actively seeking ways to roll out food waste collections city-wide for domestic properties. You can also try cutting down your household’s food waste by meal-planning, freezing where possible, researching left-over recipe ideas and more. Visit Love Food Hate Waste for more tips on keeping food fresher for longer, and tasty recipes to use up your leftovers.

 

By Rebecca Adams

Waste Collection & Disposal Guest Blogger

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day 2020

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day Today (Friday 27th November) is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. This is an annual event set up by charity National Energy Action (NEA) to raise awareness of the issue of fuel poverty and the wide range of support available. Fuel poverty is a nationwide issue, and affects 10.4% of all England homes. … Continued

Fuel Poverty Awareness Day

Today (Friday 27th November) is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. This is an annual event set up by charity National Energy Action (NEA) to raise awareness of the issue of fuel poverty and the wide range of support available.

Fuel poverty is a nationwide issue, and affects 10.4% of all England homes. In Portsmouth, this rate is higher, at 10.8%. That’s around 10,000 homes that struggle to pay their energy bills. Some of these households might even have to make a choice between heating their home and feeding their families. 12,000 people die on average in the UK each year because of health conditions caused or worsened by living in a cold home.

This winter is going to be a hard one for everyone, but even more so for those living in fuel poverty. Covid-19 is combining with cold homes to accelerate and multiply these issues. These issues include:

  • Financial difficulties caused by Covid-19 will make it even more difficult for people to pay their energy bills, and so are more likely to get into debt.
  • Unemployment, working from home and lockdown means that people will be using more energy and could be spending more time in a cold home.
  • Usual coping strategies, such as spending time in warm public areas like libraries, cafes and the homes of loved ones, will not be possible.
  • People with respiratory and circulatory health conditions affected by cold weather are likely to be at a greater risk from Covid-19.
  • An increased strain on mental health due to anxiety and stress.

Cold homes are preventable. Switched On Portsmouth have a wide range of support available to help keep everyone in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant safe and well in their home.

For free, impartial, advice give us a call on 0800 260 5907. Our friendly team of qualified advisors are here to help!

You can read about NEA’s campaign for Warm Safe Homes here.

 

By Anttonia Lindup
Anttonia
Coronavirus
Services UPDATE: UK November Lockdown

We still have a range of energy and money saving schemes running during lockdown this November. Some services will be running a revised service – more information below: Freephone Advice Line – 0800 260 5907 Phone still open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm. Free emergency fuel top-up vouchers available Energy and Money Saving Service (in partnership with LEAP) … Continued

We still have a range of energy and money saving schemes running during lockdown this November. Some services will be running a revised service – more information below:

Freephone Advice Line – 0800 260 5907

  • Phone still open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.
  • Free emergency fuel top-up vouchers available

Energy and Money Saving Service (in partnership with LEAP)

  • Applications still open.
  • All appointments booked to be carried out over the phone
  • Free energy saving measures can be delivered to your door for you to install
  • No home visits can go ahead until the lockdown measures have been lifted.

Free Gas Central Heating (in partnership with Warmer Homes)

  • Applications still open.
  • Initial remote surveys and gas grid applications can still go ahead
  • Installations cannot go ahead until the lockdown measures have been lifted

Emergency Boiler Replacement (In Partnership with ECHOS)

  • No changes made to scheme as it classifies as essential, emergency works.
  • All installers and surveyors will wear appropriate PPE, and can work alone to reduce contact.

Switch Supplier

  • No changes made to scheme – online or telephone service only
Isambard MSCP
Council’s energy-saving projects save over 250 tonnes of carbon each year

Energy saving projects in Portsmouth are saving more than 250 tonnes of carbon each year and more than £130,000 in costs to Portsmouth City Council. The savings are a result of council projects delivered in the last two years which have reduced the council’s energy use and maintenance costs. It is the latest step in … Continued

Energy saving projects in Portsmouth are saving more than 250 tonnes of carbon each year and more than £130,000 in costs to Portsmouth City Council.

The savings are a result of council projects delivered in the last two years which have reduced the council’s energy use and maintenance costs.

It is the latest step in the council’s green initiatives and follows the city reducing carbon emissions by 30% between 2005 and 2016, roughly the equivalent of everyone in Portsmouth not driving for a whole year, or enough energy to power 48,000 homes for a year.

Key projects contributing to the latest energy savings include switching inefficient and costly lighting to new LED lights across a number of council buildings, including the Civic Offices, Portsmouth Central Library, Isambard Brunel Car Park and the Emirates Spinnaker Tower.

The Civic Offices had its internal lights upgraded to energy efficient replacements, a scheme designed by the council’s in-house Building Engineering Services team to give greater control; daylight compensation and occupancy sensing which better suits the needs of the occupants and dramatically improves light quality for staff.

Over 750 new LED lights were installed at Portsmouth Central Library whilst the new light system at Isambard Brunel Car Park uses 43% less energy, with an additional benefit that lights are automatically dimmed when the car park isn’t being used.

As part of the ongoing work, the council has also upgraded the Emirates Spinnaker Tower’s outdated system light system with 96 energy efficient LED lights and a new control system.

The new equipment now saves £28,000 a year in maintenance costs and improves the efficiency and projected lifetime of the lights.

Portsmouth City Council’s carbon reduction strategy was announced earlier this year. The strategy lays the foundations for the council, its suppliers and the wider city to come together to take action against climate change by focusing on projects that will have the most impact on carbon emissions.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, the council’s Cabinet Member of Environment and Climate Change said: “I’m delighted to see these impressive carbon savings from a number of key retrofit and upgrade projects managed by the council. The council has been clear in its plans to tackle climate change and these projects showcase these plans are being acted on.

“The associated financial savings that come as a result of these carbon-savings projects provides another fantastic benefit to the work carried out by our in-house teams.”

More recently the council announced a new home energy support service to help residents save energy and money at home.

The new service will encourage energy efficiency measures in Portsmouth; lowering carbon emissions and energy bills, as well as promoting the creation of low-carbon skills and employment in the area.

 

Energy and water strategy
Portsmouth City Council’s Energy and Water at Home Strategy

A strategy to help all homes in the city to use their energy better The Energy and Water at Home strategy looks to provide a framework for support for all households up until 2025. In the early stages the strategy will look to formalise and bolstering the council’s approach to tackling fuel poverty. Since 2017, … Continued

A strategy to help all homes in the city to use their energy better

The Energy and Water at Home strategy looks to provide a framework for support for all households up until 2025. In the early stages the strategy will look to formalise and bolstering the council’s approach to tackling fuel poverty. Since 2017, Portsmouth residents have been benefiting from award-winning fuel poverty mitigation initiatives run by the council’s Energy Services team. These initiatives will be expanded and scaled in the initial phase to reach more households with appropriate advice.

The vision put forward by the council is “to ensure all homes in Portsmouth use energy and water as efficiently as possible for an appropriate level of comfort, safety, health and dignity; and that every Portsmouth household can afford their energy and water bills.”

Being unable to afford to adequately heat the home or use energy for other essential activities, such as cooking and cleaning, contributes to social isolation, poor health outcomes, an increase in hazards in the home, and impedes child development.

The councils ‘Energy and Water at Home’ strategy, includes an action plan which outlines how a reduction in fuel poverty, carbon emissions and an increase in energy and water efficiency will be achieved.

How the strategy’s vision will be delivered

  • The council will lead the way in helping our community to make Portsmouth’s homes more energy and water efficient and low carbon.
  • Residents will be empowered to reduce their energy and water bills and increase their household income, ensuring that their home energy costs are affordable.
  • Support will be offered as widely as possible, to maximise the number of people who benefit, while targeting those most at risk from cold homes, to maximise the impact.
  • The council will develop national partnerships to attract investment in energy and water efficiency into the city, supporting the creation of skilled green jobs locally and driving innovation in clean energy generation to ensure the city’s energy and water needs are affordable, sustainable and secure.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:

“Too many people in our city are forced to choose between heating and eating. That is wrong, which is why it is great that the council is – yet again – tackling the problem.

“This new strategy outlines a new way of helping those at risk from colder homes and suffering from fuel poverty.

It is hoped that this strategy will also act as a catalyst for decarbonising homes in the city; providing support to households who wish to improve their home’s energy efficiency or generate clean energy.”

Read the full strategy here
New Solar and Tesla Batteries help to make Portsmouth Greener

A new large 250 kilo-watt (kW) solar system has been installed on the roofs of Portsmouth City Council’s Hilsea Industrial Estate. This complements the existing 50kW system and completes the biggest single solar and battery installation for the council to date. It marks another important step towards the council’s target of net zero carbon by … Continued

A new large 250 kilo-watt (kW) solar system has been installed on the roofs of Portsmouth City Council’s Hilsea Industrial Estate. This complements the existing 50kW system and completes the biggest single solar and battery installation for the council to date. It marks another important step towards the council’s target of net zero carbon by 2030, with solar and batteries being identified as one of the key technologies to deliver the renewable power needed.

This ground-breaking project uses batteries as a key component of the installation; installed alongside 738 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels. The ten-unit battery system, is the largest operational Powerwall installation in the UK. The system can store 135 kWh of electricity at any one time; enough to power an average domestic homes for 2 weeks. As well as capturing more of the solar power generated on the site, the batteries are also able to take advantage of storing power at night, when electricity is cheaper. Stored energy is then used during mornings and early evenings when electricity costs are more expensive.

Combined, the solar PV and storage will reduce the site’s reliance on grid-bought electricity by almost 50%; despite there being many energy-hungry processes at the industrial estate. The system will reduce carbon emissions by 69 tonnes a year, and reduce the running costs of the site significantly. During the summer months, virtually all of the power required to run the site will be coming from either the panels or batteries.

Cllr Dave Ashmore, the council’s Cabinet Member of Environment and Climate Change said: “It’s fantastic to see Portsmouth City Council leading the way when it comes to innovative projects like the one at Hilsea Industrial Estate. Not only are we producing and using our own renewable energy but projects like this dramatically reduce the Council’s ongoing energy costs. The Council has been clear in setting out its plans in tackling climate emergency and it’s fantastic to see projects like acting out these plans.”

The work was carried out by one of Portsmouth City Council’s Solar PV framework contractors, Evo Energy and project managed by the City Council’s in-house Energy Team.

Mike Salisbury, Managing Director of Evo Energy, commented on the Hilsea Project, ‘”We are extremely proud to be working with Portsmouth City Council on such an exciting and innovative project.

Bringing together cutting edge battery technology alongside Solar PV to deliver for businesses increased financial savings will help them to achieve real net zero, and reduce their reliance on the national grid.

This is the future for renewable power in utilising otherwise unused roof space local to the user and turning it into a green energy generator.”

The council has already used its framework to install Tesla Powerwalls in 13 housing blocks, with a further 20 on the way. However, this is the first time that such a large number of the units have been used in a single installation. Where batteries have been installed previously, up to 98% of the sites’ electricity demand has been met through the batteries and accompanying solar.

Energy storage through the use of batteries is set to become a key technology for Portsmouth City Council and their ambitions to become net zero carbon by 2030; as they strive to take every opportunity to harness renewable energy opportunities.

How to use your storage heaters efficiently with Economy 7

Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills. Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day … Continued

Over four million households in the UK use an Economy 7 meter to try and cut their electricity bills.

Your lifestyle and usage habits will have an effect on your electricity bills when you’re on an Economy 7 meter – during 7 hours of the night you will receive discounted rates, but during the day you will be charged more than a standard fixed tariff would usually offer. To save money with Economy 7, it is suggested that you need to use more than 40% of your electricity during these cheaper 7 hours.

How do I know if I am on Economy 7?

You can check if you have an Economy 7 meter by looking at your bill – if you have two electricity readings, marked day and night or high and low, the chances are you’re on an Economy 7 meter. If you live in a property with storage heaters, you are most likely on Economy 7.

This way of billing was brought in to support electric storage heaters. Storage heaters charge up during the night and emit heat during the day. Economy 7 would not be recommended for electrically heated households without storage heaters or a hot water tank, or for households which mainly use electrical appliances during the day, such as a washing machine or a tumble dryer, as the day time rates are more expensive.

How do storage heaters work?

Storage heaters are wall-mounted, and look similar to a normal radiator, though they usually have feet at the bottom as they are a lot heavier. They work by charging up overnight and storing this energy as heat in a bank of clay or ceramic bricks. This heat will be dispelled over the following day. It’s best to imagine them as a rechargeable battery – they cannot be turned on to emit heat straight away – they must charge up. It’s important that you don’t set your storage heaters to charge during the daytime hours – this is a very expensive way to heat your home, and all of the heat will be put out at night when you don’t need it.

You can control the heat settings on your storage heaters using the ‘Input’ and ‘Output’ settings, which can usually be found as a dial. The input setting tells the heater how much heat to store during the night. The higher you set this, the more heat it will store, and the more electricity it will use. During the day, the heater will release heat constantly at low levels. You can control the amount of heat released through the output control – this setting controls heater vents which open and close, letting heat out faster or slower. Opening the vents fully will use the stored heat up faster.

What’s the best way to heat my home?

Storage heaters are not the most efficient way to heat your home. Unlike a rechargeable battery which will hold its charge until needed, storage heaters will lose heat almost immediately, especially as they get older. They can lose from 25-50% of their energy this way. You can buy storage heaters which hold this heat for longer, but this of course comes with a hefty price. When using storage heaters, it’s advised to ensure that your property is well insulated so the heat will be retained for longer, rather than escaping through the walls and roof.

If your storage heaters are old and inefficient, it might be time to consider changing your heating system. Through Switched On Portsmouth you can receive a fully funded gas central heating system, including any required gas connections. Gas central heating is up to 3 times cheaper to run than electric heating, and can provide heating on demand. We also offer assistance with getting your walls or loft insulated which will help you reduce your energy bills, and make it easier to heat your home, no matter what heating system you use.

For more information, click here. You can also give us a call on 0800 260 5907!

 

By Anttonia Lindup

Anttonia
solar panels on roof
New Home Energy Support Service Announced for Portsmouth

Portsmouth City Council has announced that it is to launch a new home energy service to support every household in the city. The initiatives outlined will support households by providing access to energy efficiency schemes and renewable technology. The new service will encourage a greater uptake of energy efficiency measures in Portsmouth; lowering carbon emissions … Continued

Portsmouth City Council has announced that it is to launch a new home energy service to support every household in the city. The initiatives outlined will support households by providing access to energy efficiency schemes and renewable technology.

The new service will encourage a greater uptake of energy efficiency measures in Portsmouth; lowering carbon emissions and energy bills, as well as promoting the creation of low-carbon skills and employment in the area.

In recent years the Council has worked successfully to create a number of offers around fuel poverty mitigation; delivered by Switched On Portsmouth.

These schemes help hundreds of vulnerable households each year. In the last 12 months, the service has provided 137 fully-funded free gas central heating systems to Portsmouth households. Through its schemes, Switched On Portsmouth has also helped residents save a combined total of over £800,000 on their energy bills.

The additional energy efficiency services and schemes announced this week, will be made available to all residents in Portsmouth. Initiatives include a grant scheme for insulation, an approved trader register and a redesigned website to give helpful, unbiased support to those looking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Alongside these schemes, the Switched On Portsmouth website will host a new solar power feasibility tool for residents to use. The tool will provide precise information about the potential of a residential home’s roof to host solar panels, the savings they will make and the cost of the installation.

A new Freephone number has also been launched in order to allow residents to raise any concerns they have regarding energy-related issues, or to seek friendly, unbiased advice from an advisor.

The council aims to get every resident engaged in the energy they use and the carbon their homes emit, so as to reduce household bills and emissions in-line with their commitment to make the city net zero carbon by 2030.

Speaking about the publication of the new home energy support service proposals at Cabinet, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, Leader of Portsmouth City Council said: “The Switched On Portsmouth service has been exceptionally successful in offering help to those households in the city who are most vulnerable; receiving grant funding and awards for the services they provide. However, if we are to achieve our aim of a net zero carbon by 2030, we must also develop support for every household. I am excited by the announcement of the services within this paper, particularly those which will encourage households to take up solar panels.”

To view the recent Switched On Portsmouth Impact Report, click here

freephone launched
Council Launches New Energy Freephone Advice Line

Portsmouth City Council is encouraging the city’s residents to contact a new freephone advice line if they face issues with paying their energy bills, as part of the Switched On Portsmouth service. The line will be established using grant funding from the Energy Redress scheme; with the phones being manned by advisors from the Environment … Continued

Portsmouth City Council is encouraging the city’s residents to contact a new freephone advice line if they face issues with paying their energy bills, as part of the Switched On Portsmouth service. The line will be established using grant funding from the Energy Redress scheme; with the phones being manned by advisors from the Environment Centre, an environmental charity who specialise in energy advice.

It is expected that 1,200 households will use the service over the next two years, helping with issues such as billing queries, energy efficiency advice and income maximisation support. The advice line will also be used as a conduit to a range of other services offered by Switched On Portsmouth.

The cost of electricity and gas has risen significantly over recent years, with many households finding it increasingly difficult to afford to pay their energy bills. Simple advice, offered by the Switched On Portsmouth freephone line advisors, can have the effect of making a dramatic dent in household outgoings. The service aims to save Portsmouth residents £200,000.

The freephone advice line will be an important tool for residents looking to combat rising fuel bills; particularly in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure services continue to reach residents during this period, Switched On Portsmouth moved a number of its services online, as home visits ceased to be an option.

Improvements to the website, virtual drop-ins and a virtual one-on-one ‘Energy Doctor’ were all developed in order to get households the help they needed during the lockdown period.

Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said of the new service, “Too many households in Portsmouth are forced to make a choice between heating and eating. Having been in the situation myself in the past, I can speak with experience about what an awful choice this is to make. I hope that this freephone advice line, along with the range of other services offered by the council, will go some way to alleviating this issue; with residents able to receive practical, unbiased and specialist advice about how they can reduce their energy bills.”

Switched On Portsmouth offers a range of support related to home energy including free home visits, insulation, emergency boiler replacements and free first-time central heating. To see the full range of services, visit www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk or call the freephone advice line on 0800 260 5907.

green energy boost
Green Energy Boost for Portsmouth City Council

Portsmouth City Council has confirmed that all of its buildings’ electricity supplies are to come from 100% renewable generation from October 2020. The green power is to be bought as part of a new three-year deal, which has seen all of the council’s 1,300 electricity and gas supplies retendered to secure new competitive tariffs; saving … Continued

Portsmouth City Council has confirmed that all of its buildings’ electricity supplies are to come from 100% renewable generation from October 2020. The green power is to be bought as part of a new three-year deal, which has seen all of the council’s 1,300 electricity and gas supplies retendered to secure new competitive tariffs; saving the authority around £340,000 each year.

The purchase of green power is seen as an important step in the right direction towards achieving the council’s ambition to become net zero carbon by 2030. The purchase of Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin (REGOs) for all of its premises means that the electricity used will be from green, renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydropower.

This positive step is just one of a number of measures being undertaken to decarbonise the council’s building and street-lighting portfolio. Over recent years, the authority has invested heavily in energy efficiency and renewable generation. This has included the installation of nearly 400 PV systems, totalling almost 26,000 solar panels and 6 Mega Watts of clean generation capacity, creating enough electricity each year to power 1,500 homes. Energy efficiency measures have included installation of LED lighting in buildings throughout the city, and across the street-lighting portfolio.

The council has committed to continue to improve energy efficiency and increase the capacity of renewable generation; with projects including LED lighting, solar and battery technology, at several sites, which are ongoing or imminent. The investment in solar power meant that the council broke generation records in the early summer, as record periods of sunshine were recorded.

Commenting upon the new energy deal, Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate change said, “It is great to see this positive step in the journey towards decarbonising our buildings in Portsmouth, as we aim towards net zero carbon by 2030. The new energy contracts show that going green doesn’t need to cost more! The savings made here, buck the trend over recent years of increasing energy prices, and will contribute to keeping front line services running in the face of financial pressures.”

To learn more about the work that the council is doing to reduce its energy consumption, increase renewable generation and lower carbon emissions from its own buildings and the city’s homes, please navigate through this website.

Record water demand in hot weather

Portsmouth Water is asking everyone to keep water for essential use only for the duration of the current heatwave. The current heatwave we are experiencing has combined with the Covid restrictions and people taking ‘staycations’, to result in a record breaking demand for water this week. This demand is putting strain on the system and … Continued

Portsmouth Water is asking everyone to keep water for essential use only for the duration of the current heatwave.

The current heatwave we are experiencing has combined with the Covid restrictions and people taking ‘staycations’, to result in a record breaking demand for water this week.

This demand is putting strain on the system and threatens to leave some customers with low pressure or even without water as pipes reach capacity and cannot physically allow enough water through them fast enough for everyone’s use. So we are asking everyone to show some restraint and only to use water for essential purposes for the next few days, to ensure there is enough water to go around. We would ask people to put away their hosepipes and garden sprinklers and allow their grass to turn gold and their car to gather dust – for a couple of days, just until the heatwave has passed.

We are continuing to produce water 24/7 and our technicians are working around the clock to ensure houses and businesses have the essential water they need for cooking, cleaning and washing. With your help we can make sure everyone gets the water they need.

Bob Taylor, Portsmouth Water CEO commented

‘We are asking customers to restrict their use of water during the next few days of heatwave, in order to ensure that that all customers receive a reliable water supply. Demand over the weekend was the highest in over 10 years and we are encouraging people use water carefully to essential there is plenty for personal hygiene needs, something that so important to combat the spread of covid-19’.

As can be seen on the graph below demand is well above our average daily demand of 170 million litres a day (Mld). We are hoping with customer support we can get down to below 200 Mld by the end of the week, thereby easing the pressure on supplies.

portsmouth water

Switched On Portsmouth 2019-2020 Impact Report

Switched On Portsmouth is dedicated to improving home energy efficiency in the city and surrounding areas; saving money from people’s bills and reducing carbon emissions from their homes. It was established by Portsmouth City Council last year in order to deliver a number of existing energy and affordable warmth schemes; including homes energy advice, emergency … Continued

Switched On Portsmouth is dedicated to improving home energy efficiency in the city and surrounding areas; saving money from people’s bills and reducing carbon emissions from their homes.

It was established by Portsmouth City Council last year in order to deliver a number of existing energy and affordable warmth schemes; including homes energy advice, emergency boiler replacements, first time central heating and insulation. Switched On Portsmouth was also charged with expanding the reach and scope of the services on offer.

They have now released a report charting the past 12 months to show the extent of the positive impacts that they have had.

The Switched On Portsmouth Impact Report provides details of the 1,500 households helped in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant from June 2019 through to May 2020, and the extent to which households have been helped. The report shows:

  • 425 of the most vulnerable households benefitting from home visits; 73 broken boiler replacements and 2,591 small energy saving measures fitted
  • £818,844 saved from people’s bills or delivered from benefit maximisation service and securing Warm Homes Discount payments
  • Carbon emissions equivalent to 1,487 tonnes of carbon dioxide reduced from homes
  • More than 18,000 visits to the Switched On website, since its launch in November
  • During the coronavirus crisis, 94 households unable to afford to top-up their prepayment meters, were helped by administering emergency top-ups totalling over £3,000

Despite the encouraging statistics in the impact report, more than 1 in 10 households in Portsmouth still struggle to afford their energy bills; and this ‘fuel poverty’ leads to societal and health impacts, and often the household needing to decide between heating and eating.

It is for this reason that the Switched On Portsmouth team is continuing to expand the scale and scope of their schemes, in order to reach those most in need. In March of this year, the council published its Home Energy and Water Strategy; and since this time, additional funding has been secured from external partners to increase the support available.

The publication of the strategy also heralded the launch of wider support for residents not in the fuel poor category, but that want to make savings on their bills and reduce their carbon emissions.

Councillor Vernon-Jackson, the Leader of the council, welcomed the publication of the report,

“The development of the Switched On service has provided more households in Portsmouth with holistic energy support than ever before; helping them to feel warm and safe at home. The energy saved in each home contributes to an important reduction in carbon emissions in the city; improving air quality and helping Portsmouth City Council towards its target of net zero carbon by 2030.

The impact report highlights the important work of Switched On Portsmouth over the past year; and I know there are plans to improve the support offered even further in the coming months. I am confident that in another year’s time I will be able to report even greater successes as we build on the direction given by the recently published Home Energy and Water Strategy.”

In October 2019, Portsmouth City Council received national recognition at the Energy Efficiency Awards for its work towards mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents, as well as being crowned Council of the Year at the recent regional awards.

To view the published impact report, please click here

To speak to one of the team about the support on offer, please call 023 9284 1947 or visit www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk

The Green Recovery and Buildings

‘We have a choice: rebuild the old economy, locking in temperature increases of 4°C with extreme climate disruption; or build back better, preserving our planet for generations to come.’ Mark Carney, UN special envoy for climate action Covid-19 and carbon emissions Countries around the world shut their doors at the beginning of the year to … Continued

‘We have a choice: rebuild the old economy, locking in temperature increases of 4°C with extreme climate disruption;

or build back better, preserving our planet for generations to come.’

Mark Carney, UN special envoy for climate action

Covid-19 and carbon emissions

Countries around the world shut their doors at the beginning of the year to limit the spread of Covid-19. As more people stayed at home and business and travel was suspended, carbon emissions were reduced. Globally, this is expected to have caused a record reduction of 5-10%. Unfortunately, the effect of this reduction is only thought to be temporary as carbon emissions must be cut year after year to provide any long-lasting effects, due to how the greenhouse gas is retained within the atmosphere.

We cannot attempt to reduce carbon emissions in order to reach net zero targets by living in a constant lockdown, of course. But in order to reach these vital targets , evidence suggests that there must be a focus on a green recovery. Accelerating climate investments can support a wide economic recovery, whilst protecting the environment, and ensuring the UK hits its carbon reduction targets. The International Energy Agency suggest that focusing on a sustainable recovery would add 1.1% to global economic growth each year, as well as creating 9 million jobs over the next 3 years.

Carbon emissions from buildings

Buildings in the UK made up to 18% of 2019 carbon emissions. This has been identified as a key area of infrastructure to invest in to help the UK meet carbon reduction targets – the UK Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS) have found after screening 7,000 studies from around the world, that retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient is the third quickest way to reduce emissions, after reducing travel and utilising renewable energy. Efforts to reduce emissions in the domestic housing sector will be closely linked with improvements of the safety and resilience of buildings, alongside improving indoor air quality and reducing the impact of fuel poverty.

Policy and funding

The UK government’s already has some future plans to reduce the effect of poor housing on carbon emissions include:

The Green Homes Grant

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced financial support for homeowners and those living in the private rented sector during his summer budget update on the 8th of July. This funding aims to support the upgrade of 650,000 homes with £5000 vouchers for insulation measures, including vouchers of up to £10,000 for households on a low income. It is expected that this will create 140,000 green jobs as demand in this market will increase. This funding will simulate the economy through the creation of jobs, and will support the carbon reduction targets through reduced energy consumption. Think tank E3G, however, suggest that even if the programme were to continue past the current end date of March 2021, the investment will need to be raised substantially in order to hit fuel poverty targets of abolishing cold homes by 2035.

Minimum standards for new builds

The Future Homes Standard consultation was published this year, and proposed an uplift in minimum building standards for all new build properties. This includes requiring a 30% decrease in carbon emissions through installing clean heating systems and zero carbon energy generation such as solar panels. It does allow for weaker fabric standards, however, meaning there is less of a requirement to ensure the property is fully insulated and airtight. It also suggests that local authorities will no longer have the ability to demand minimum standards above that in the building regulations for local projects. Whilst this ensures a set standard across the UK, it will affect local carbon reduction targets. For example, Portsmouth City Council declared a climate emergency in March 2019, with a target of being net zero by 2030. The UK as a whole has a target of hitting net zero by 2050, and so might not require as strict minimum standards.

Minimum standards for privately rented properties

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards  require that all privately rented domestic properties reach minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings in order to reduce fuel costs for the tenants, and carbon emissions. A new target has been proposed to ensure all properties reach EPC band C by 2030, however, there is little guidance on how this standard should be enforced.

The Renewable Heat Incentive

The Government recently announced plans to replace the current Renewable Heating Incentive, which offered a tariff-based payment system for households which invested in green heating systems. This will be replaced with a small extension of £100m of funding to be spread over 2022-2024. This will provide £4,000 for households to install heat pumps as their main heating system, replacing gas boilers. Installing a heat pump can reduce carbon emissions bty up to 70% per household when used efficiently, though it does threaten higher running costs if being run on grid-bought electricity. This funding is only forecast to support the installation of 12,500 heat pumps a year, which is well below what is required in order to phase out all oil boilers this decade, and gas boilers after that.

The Climate Change Committee:

The Climate Change Committee release annual reports to parliament. In their most recent report, they provided clear suggestions on the type of plans and policies that should be brought in for the buildings sector, in order to reach the minimum carbon reduction targets.

  • Oil boilers should be phased out by the end of this decade, and gas boilers should be phased out by 2035. In order to meet this, more funding is required to support low carbon heating technologies.
  • Funding packages need to be offered to homeowners and to local authorities in order to meet retrofit energy efficiency targets of getting all houses to an EPC rating of C by 2035.
  • More jobs need to be created and supported in the low carbon heating sector, with more regulation and monitoring to ensure high standards of installations to avoid future issues.
  • Local authorities need to be give more room to drive early progress in their local areas.
  • New build properties and retrofit measures need to reduce their embedded carbon emissions through switching to more sustainable materials.
  • A focus on adapting households to reduce the possibility of overheating is required as a key climate change adaptation measure.

 

 

By Anttonia Lindup
Anttonia
The Warm Home Discount

What is the Warm Home Discount? The Warm Home Discount is a central government scheme funded by energy suppliers. Larger energy suppliers are obligated under Ofgem regulations to deliver support to fuel poor consumers. The most recognisable element of the scheme is the £140 fuel rebate to fuel poor households during the winter. ‘Larger suppliers’ … Continued

What is the Warm Home Discount?

The Warm Home Discount is a central government scheme funded by energy suppliers. Larger energy suppliers are obligated under Ofgem regulations to deliver support to fuel poor consumers. The most recognisable element of the scheme is the £140 fuel rebate to fuel poor households during the winter. ‘Larger suppliers’ include those with at least 200,000 customers. Smaller suppliers can voluntarily offer funding to support the scheme.

There are Core and Broader group rebates for fuel poor households based on different eligibility criteria. The Core Group receive their rebates automatically as they are identified as fuel poor or at risk of living in fuel poverty via the Department of Work and Pensions’ credit database. The Broader Group must apply to receive their rebate via their individual energy suppliers. Not all suppliers have to offer the rebate, and some only have applications open for a very short period of time. It is also possible for the funding amount to run out, so applications should be made as soon as possible. You can read more about the two groups and how to apply here.

The third strand of the Warm Home Discount Scheme is the Industry Initiatives section. This element supports programmes and partnerships to assist those in or at risk of fuel poverty as part of suppliers’ broader group obligations. These programmes largely include supporting energy advice services, but they also fund the installation of some energy saving measures. This element is capped at £40 million of funding, which is spread across the large suppliers. Suppliers do not have to provide funding for this strand, and can instead meet their non-core obligation targets through the rebate strand only.

 

 

Warm Home Discount Industry Initiatives

This Industry Initiatives funding is largely used to fund energy efficiency advice. This includes referring consumers to the rebate strand of the Warm Home Discount, income maximisation schemes, tariff switching sites, as well as providing energy efficiency measures. This funding is largely what supports the Council’s free home energy advice service, from which nearly 500 Portsmouth households received assistance from May 2019 – May 2020. Industry Initiatives also funds the boiler replacement scheme which the council offers during the colder winter months as an emergency measure for owner occupiers. Over 80 vulnerable households were able to access this scheme in the winter of 2019/20, ensuring they can keep their homes and their families warm and healthy. It is also used to support the Council’s free first time gas central heating scheme, which is available to 1,500 households to provide more affordable heating methods.

 

Ending in 2021?

The Warm Home Discount obligation is set to close at the end of March 2021. It is not known what, if anything, will replace this hugely important scheme after this date.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme offers a lifeline for those struggling to pay their fuel bills. During winter it supports households to stay out of debt, and with providing the necessary equipment to ensure their homes stay warm. In 2018/19 the rebate strand of the scheme provided support to more than 2.2 million households, totalling £310 million of funding.

Without an extension to this scheme, millions of people will miss out on energy rebates and wider support to help them stay healthy in their home. This could be hugely detrimental to individuals, and also to the central government’s fuel poverty reduction targets, which the UK is already set to fail. It was recently reported by the BBC that two thirds of UK homes fail to meet long term-energy efficiency targets, meaning the majority of homes are having to spend more on their energy bills.

National Energy Action (NEA) have launched a campaign in partnership with Fair By Design to lobby for an extension to the scheme. They would like to see a 1 year minimum extension, and obligations for smaller suppliers to also provide the Warm Home Discount rebate. They would like to see better promotion of the scheme, as many eligible households are unaware of its existence, and more funding to ensure every fuel poor household that applies to the scheme is offered assistance.

 

 

The national Fuel Poverty Strategy went out to consultation in September of 2019 – we are yet to hear the outcomes of this consultation and to receive a finalised strategy. Without clear direction, it is impossible to identify how fuel poor households will continue to be supported in future. With fuel prices set to rise, it is more important than ever to invest in improving energy inefficient households and supporting vulnerable families to stay warm and healthy.

 

You can support NEA with their campaign to protect and extend the Warm Home Discount through social media – tweet your support using the hashtag #WarmHomeDiscount to your local MP, @Ofgem and @beisgovuk.

 

By Anttonia Lindup

Anttonia

10 Pandemic Energy Saving Tips for Small Businesses

Construction sites, non-essential shops, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, barbers, dental practices and offices will open at different rates all over UK depending on the risk of coronavirus spread. For the latest updates please visits the Government’s coronavirus business support pages here. The pandemic has put a strain on all aspects of life, including financial. Luckily there … Continued

Construction sites, non-essential shops, restaurants, cafes, hairdressers, barbers, dental practices and offices will open at different rates all over UK depending on the risk of coronavirus spread. For the latest updates please visits the Government’s coronavirus business support pages here.

The pandemic has put a strain on all aspects of life, including financial. Luckily there are some simple steps below we can take to avoid overpaying on energy bills. These are steps for all small businesses; whether your businesses has been open for weeks, or it opened very recently or it is still not open:

1) Take a meter reading!

Most homes & businesses are billed on estimated usage and if you have not been occupying your business premises then it is likely your actual usage will be much lower than the estimated reading.

2) Unplug unnecessary electrical devices

For example if you have an office fridge for lunches and milk you could unplug this if you do not expect to use it in the near future.

3) Adjust to your new capacity

Bars, Restaurants & Cafes: if you are not running at normal capacity and you would normally run several fridges and have a reduced stock you could consider reducing the number of running fridges.

4) Lighting & timers

Check there are no unnecessary lights left on; this is bad for your energy bills and the planet. If are leaving lights on for security purposes make sure you have put them on timers. Many businesses also leave signs saying ‘No cash/merchandise not left on premises’ which may be a good idea if appropriate for your business.

5) Heating controls

Adjust heating controls: when lockdown hit in March, many of us may not have adjusted thermostat lighting timers by then. Now that we are well into the summer months make sure your heating controls reflect the summer climate. If your business opening hours are changing to reflect the pandemic, make sure your timers are adjusted too.

6) Keeping cool in the heat

If you struggle to keep items in your business/shop cool in the summer months and have to use air con and fans to achieve this consider:

7) Consider a canopy

Keeping your door shut typically keeps your shop/business cool from the warmer air outside in summer. Many business will be unable to do this now in order to minimise public contact and spread of the virus. You could consider a canopy to shade the front of your shop and keep it cool this summer.

8) Do a price comparison and consider switching

You could be overpaying and missing out on a cheaper tariff. Click here for advice on switching suppliers as a small business.

9) Energy bill struggles?

If your small business is struggling or may struggle to pay its energy bills click here for advice.

10) Final tip: be scam aware.

If you receive an energy bill that looks suspicious check it is legitimate with your supplier. There are useful tips to avoid energy scams here.

 

By Louise Hyde
Louise

Record Solar Energy Production During Covid-19 Lockdown

It may have meant lockdown for many of its buildings, but that hasn’t slowed down Portsmouth City Council’s growing fleet of solar panel installations. As the UK broke sunshine records between March and May, the council’s 400 solar systems outshone their previous best to generate enough clean electricity to power 350 homes for a year! … Continued

It may have meant lockdown for many of its buildings, but that hasn’t slowed down Portsmouth City Council’s growing fleet of solar panel installations. As the UK broke sunshine records between March and May, the council’s 400 solar systems outshone their previous best to generate enough clean electricity to power 350 homes for a year! The panels, installed on schools, offices, community centres and housing sites, thrived in the long periods without rain and cloud; generating 14% more power per panel than the same months last year.

Solar power is free and clean, allowing the sites on which it is installed to reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions. In fact, the carbon saved from the 1.3 gigawatt hours of power, is equivalent to nearly 5,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. It is for these reasons that the council aims to pursue the installation of more solar in the future; promoting its deployment and committing millions of pounds to further developments using the technology. As lockdown restrictions ease, the council plans to emerge with a renewed drive to install solar and storage technology across a range of the council-owned sites and has plans for its first solar farm.

600 solar panels were installed at Harry Sotnick House, Fratton, last year.

Commenting upon the record, Councillor Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing said, “This record is a real statement as to the success of our ongoing solar campaign; which helps to reduce the council’s energy overheads whilst tackling climate change and providing much needed employment in the low-carbon sector. Our commitment to this technology remains strong, with a new multi-million pound procurement framework close to being established to help to deliver solar and storage in the coming years.”

It has been a period of records on a natural scale, as well as for Portsmouth. As the Met Office confirmed the sunniest period between March and May since records began in 1929, with over 600 hours of sunshine, the UK’s solar systems produced more than ever. This has helped to generate huge amounts of clean power, meaning that coal-fired power stations haven’t turned on for more than 50 days; the first time that this has happened for 140 years. Meanwhile, the lockdown has led to much lower consumption of power nationally, as workplaces and industry have been shut down.

Councillor Dave Ashmore, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change made reference to this wider context, “It’s important that everyone does their bit to tackle climate change and Portsmouth City Council is no exception. We recognise that there is more to do, which is why this council has declared a climate emergency and helped set up the Climate Action Board to action further change. Whilst it is undoubtedly good news to see such a huge amount of solar generated; we shouldn’t lose sight that the phenomena driving this, such as record low rainfall and high temperature, may themselves be down to human-made climate change. We should prioritise a green recovery as we come out of the COVID crisis to ensure our planet is fit for future generations.

The updated fuel poverty statistics explained

The Government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released the most recent fuel poverty statistics from 2018. We can see a number of trends within this data that we can use to provide targeted support to households in fuel poverty. A household is classed as being in fuel poverty if they are … Continued

The Government department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has released the most recent fuel poverty statistics from 2018. We can see a number of trends within this data that we can use to provide targeted support to households in fuel poverty.

A household is classed as being in fuel poverty if they are Low Income, High Cost:

  • Their fuel costs are above average
    and
  • Their disposable income (after housing and fuel costs) is below the poverty line

There are three main factors which contribute to a house being fuel poor:

  • Energy inefficient homes
  • High energy costs
  • Low incomes

In 2018, approximately 1 in 10 households were fuel poor (10.3%). This is a decrease from 2017 by 0.7%. These figures are based on the Low Income, High Cost indicator, which is set to be changed by BEIS as outlined in their Fuel Poverty Strategy consultation. This indicator has shown to not accurately capture the reality of fuel poverty, as it allows households to move in and out of the fuel poverty classification dependant on temporary circumstances. It is likely that the 10.3% is not truly reflective of fuel poverty in England, and the true amount of households in fuel poverty is likely to be much higher. It does provide a useful base value to help with reaching fuel poor households, however.

 

Energy efficiency

The majority of fuel poor households live in a band D property. This is an Energy Performance Certification (EPC) based on assumed energy usage of a property.  A band D is the average for English households, and under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation is set to be a minimum standard required for private rental properties by 2025.

Those who live in the least efficient properties (band E, F and G) are subject to fuel bills 3 times higher than those in the most efficient properties (A , B and C). Households in band G are almost 3 times more likely to be fuel poor.

 

Pre-payment price cap

Historically, households on a pre-payment meter for their gas or electricity have been subject to the highest fuel bills. Due to the prepayment price caps enforced by regulatory body Ofgem, households on prepayment meters are no longer the most likely to be fuel poor. It is now those on standard credit meters who are more likely to be fuel poor – this can be tackled by switching to a fixed tariff with guaranteed prices for an agreed contract length (usually 12 months).

 

Household composition

Single parent households are most likely to be fuel poor, with 19% of those in fuel poverty being single parent households. Fuel poverty can affect children’s physical health – children living in bad housing conditions are likely to have mental health problems including anxiety and depression, and are subject to poor physical health as they are more likely to contract meningitis, have respiratory problems and experience slow physical growth and delayed cognitive development.

Tenure type

Households living in privately rented homes are the most likely to be fuel poor, and those in social housing are the least likely to be fuel poor. The majority of fuel poor households are owner occupied (51.3%).

 

Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth

The South East collectively has the lowest proportion of households in fuel poverty at 7.9%, and Hampshire only 6.8%. Portsmouth, however, has a rate higher than the national average of 10.8%.

Switched On Portsmouth has a wide range of support available to support fuel poor households in Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant. Portsmouth City Council recently launched its “Energy and Water at Home Strategy” which has a strong focus on supporting fuel poor households, and to reduce this rate of fuel poverty.

 

By Anttonia Lindup

Anttonia

6 months of SO
6 months of Switched On Portsmouth

Over 400 residents benefit from energy saving help as council approves strategy to tackle fuel poverty and lower carbon emissions from homes Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant residents have benefitted from energy saving schemes through Switched On Portsmouth, since it was launched six months ago. Schemes include fully-funded gas central heating and installation, emergency boiler replacement … Continued

Over 400 residents benefit from energy saving help as council approves strategy to tackle fuel poverty and lower carbon emissions from homes

Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant residents have benefitted from energy saving schemes through Switched On Portsmouth, since it was launched six months ago. Schemes include fully-funded gas central heating and installation, emergency boiler replacement and energy-saving home visits.

switched on website
Switched On Portsmouth was launched in November 2019 and has had over 20,000 views.

The news comes months after the council approved the “Energy and Water at Home” strategy; aimed at building on work taken to tackle fuel poverty in Portsmouth and offer a range of services to all home owners to help them lower their energy use.

Switched On Portsmouth was launched in November 2019 in order to house all of the Council’s energy saving schemes and initiatives. Allowing people to more easily access the help and support that they need through a single website and team.

The Council has worked hard to develop schemes to tackle fuel poverty. It is estimated that fuel poverty affects 12.1% of households in Portsmouth, equating to over 11,000 households. The launch of Switched On Portsmouth and the accompanying strategy gives additional scope to provide support to all of the households in the city, not just those in fuel poverty. It is hoped that this focus will help to reduce carbon emissions, as well making energy more affordable.

A strategy to help all homes in the city to use their energy better

The new strategy looks to provide a framework for support for all households up until 2025. In the early stages the strategy will look to formalise and bolstering the council’s approach to tackling fuel poverty. Since 2017, Portsmouth residents have been benefiting from award-winning fuel poverty mitigation initiatives run by the council’s Energy Services team. These initiatives will be expanded and scaled in the initial phase to reach more households with appropriate advice.

energy water at home
The councils ‘Energy and Water at Home’ strategy, includes an action plan to tackle fuel poverty.

The vision put forward by the council is “to ensure all homes in Portsmouth use energy and water as efficiently as possible for an appropriate level of comfort, safety, health and dignity; and that every Portsmouth household can afford their energy and water bills.”

Being unable to afford to adequately heat the home or use energy for other essential activities, such as cooking and cleaning, contributes to social isolation, poor health outcomes, an increase in hazards in the home, and impedes child development.

The councils ‘Energy and Water at Home’ strategy, includes an action plan which outlines how a reduction in fuel poverty, carbon emissions and an increase in energy and water efficiency will be achieved.

How the strategy’s vision will be delivered

  • The council will lead the way in helping our community to make Portsmouth’s homes more energy and water efficient and low carbon.
  • Residents will be empowered to reduce their energy and water bills and increase their household income, ensuring that their home energy costs are affordable.
  • Support will be offered as widely as possible, to maximise the number of people who benefit, while targeting those most at risk from cold homes, to maximise the impact.
  • The council will develop national partnerships to attract investment in energy and water efficiency into the city, supporting the creation of skilled green jobs locally and driving innovation in clean energy generation to ensure the city’s energy and water needs are affordable, sustainable and secure.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:

“Too many people in our city are forced to choose between heating and eating. That is wrong, which is why it is great that the council is – yet again – tackling the problem.

“This new strategy outlines a new way of helping those at risk from colder homes and suffering from fuel poverty.

It is hoped that this strategy will also act as a catalyst for decarbonising homes in the city; providing support to households who wish to improve their home’s energy efficiency or generate clean energy.”

Six months of Switched On Portsmouth

Almost 7,500 people have visited the Switched On Portsmouth website since its launch. Residents have been seeking further information on energy saving initiatives, applying for energy saving schemes as well as accessing expert advice and tips.

Key energy saving schemes include free energy saving home visits, fully-funded gas central heating and installation and emergency boiler replacement. Each of these initiatives are run in conjunction with partnering organisations; LEAP, Warmer Homes and ECHO.

Switched on Fuel Poverty event
Switched On Portsmouth recently held a fuel poverty awareness event in Portsmouth.

Over recent months, the effects of COVID-19 were felt most severely by vulnerable households who do not have the money to make pre-payment meter top-ups; leaving many in confusion and without a means to pay their energy bill. Fortunately, Switched On has acted as a source of clear information, even as messages from suppliers and government has changed. The council was also able to secure funding for pre-payment meter top ups to help those unable to afford them, or safely leave their homes.

Since the launch of Switched On Portsmouth six months ago:

  • Over 400 residents have directly benefitted from energy saving schemes including fully-funded gas central heating systems and installation, free fuel top-ups and emergency boiler replacement.
  • 727 tonnes of carbon has been saved. Achieved through the installation of energy saving measures during expert home visits, as well as fully-funded gas central heating installations in Portsmouth homes.
  • £331,000 has been saved by residents in energy bills, thanks to expert advice, home visits and free energy saving measures.
  • There have been over 18,000 page views on the Switched On Portsmouth website with helpful tips, advice and scheme information. With almost half of these visits to pages dedicated to support on COVID.

A £170,000 charitable grant has also been secured in partnership with the Environment Centre from funding provided by the Energy Redress Scheme.

The grant will help to develop a team to reach out to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities to reduce their risk of fuel poverty and support them to stay warm and well in their homes.

It will also enable fuel-poor households to receive an in-depth and extended home-visit service, covering free fuel top ups to a dedicated energy advice phone line.

energy efficiency award win 2020
Portsmouth City Council were crowned “Council of the Year” at the recent regional Energy Efficiency awards.

In October 2019, Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team received national recognition at the Energy Efficiency Awards for its work mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents; as well as being crowned as Council of the Year at the recent regional awards.

To visit Switched On Portsmouth and to see how you could save energy and money in your home, click here.

How to Protect Your Home From Overheating

We saw high temperatures this May Bank Holiday Monday in Portsmouth and with temperatures forecast to reach 23°C this weekend we are starting to feel the heat! The average number of hours for sunshine in England for May is 190.6 but is a much higher 240.8 for Portsmouth. We are lucky to receive more hours … Continued

We saw high temperatures this May Bank Holiday Monday in Portsmouth and with temperatures forecast to reach 23°C this weekend we are starting to feel the heat! The average number of hours for sunshine in England for May is 190.6 but is a much higher 240.8 for Portsmouth. We are lucky to receive more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK and although we like to soak this up we may want to keep our homes cool, particularly if working from home during lockdown.

1) Protecting your home from direct sunlight:

Inside the property: windows in direct sunlight with no blinds or curtains will heat the home quickly through solar gain. For windows which receive lots of direct sunlight, particularly any south-facing windows it is worth sourcing some curtain and blinds. Light colours will help reflect the heat for these, whereas dark colours absorb it.

Outside the property: trees with large canopies can shade the parts of the house. Specifically you may want to shade the kitchen area of your home if it’s south-facing. Shutters are not common in the UK but if your property was particularly exposed to weather elements (perhaps at the front) then shutters can protect solar gain and from wind.For UK climate you may want the best of both worlds; to allow low-level sun into the property in the winter but prevent overheating in the summer. ‘Brise soleil’ is a design-solution to allow just that.

2) Insulating the property envelope

The more insulated your home is the more the inside is protected from outdoor temperatures, such as the cold air in the winter months and warmer air in the summer months. Therefore insulating all available aspects is a good idea: loft, floor and walls will help you protect from external conditions. You can also consider draft-proofing round doors and windows. Double-glazing and a UPVC door.

3) Air flow

Sometimes the air outside the property will be much hotter than the air inside in the summer months, especially if your home is well-insulated or shaded like above.

For natural ventilation to work effectively, cross-ventilation is best, i.e air would enter one side and exit another opposed to single-sided ventilation.

If your property is spread across several storeys utilise this; as hot air sinks it cools, so opening any roof windows and a basement or ground floor windows will help this cycle of cooling air. This cools the house from top to bottom.

4) Electrical devices

Lighting: halogen and incandescent bulbs emit more heat than LEDs.

Appliances/electronic devices: turn off unnecessary devices as these can contribute to overheating the property. It is also not good for the devices themselves to overheat.

Fridge: as it gets hotter your fridge has to worker much harder to keep its contents cool. It is worth hoovering the back of the fridge at this time of year if you can access it, as it over gathers dust and makes the fridge have to work harder.

Fans: shading and a cooling air flow are natural and inexpensive ways to cool your home, if using a fan over the summer months this will increase your electricity bill.

Air Conditioning: If you do use air conditioning then check it is running efficiently before running it this summer. It may be worth servicing it if you have not had this done recently.

5) Kitchen

You may notice fresh foods spoiling quicker in the heat and you may not have enough fridge space for it all. Try finding the coolest spot in your kitchen to keep items, ideally away from any oven or hobs.

 

We hope you enjoyed the blog, if you’re a Portsmouth resident and have any tips on how to stop your property from overheating please share them in the comments!

 

By Louise Hyde
Louise

What to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers

What to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers The ‘big six’ are commonly known as British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Over the last few years the UK has seen a change in the domestic energy market, with an increasing number of customers switching suppliers and more energy suppliers to choose from. … Continued

What to Consider Before Switching Energy Suppliers

The ‘big six’ are commonly known as British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE. Over the last few years the UK has seen a change in the domestic energy market, with an increasing number of customers switching suppliers and more energy suppliers to choose from. To understand if there are savings and benefits to be made through switching it’s best to understand your current, tariff, usage, ‘perks’ and potential exit fees first. Then you can weigh up any potential benefits.

Your current tariff

  • Since the supplier 4 tariff maximum was lifted in 2016 there are now many tariffs to choose from, the most common being: a fixed rate tariff and a variable tariff. A fixed rate tariff will charge you set prices, usually for 12-24 months. Whereas a variable tariff can fluctuate according to the market. For example, if the wholesale cost of electricity rises this will be reflected in your bills.
  • When choosing a fixed rate tariff, make a calendar reminder in your phone or laptop to notify you 1 month before the contract runs out so you can shop for the best deals before it runs out. If your contract ends you will get put onto a default standard variable tariff which is typically the most expensive.
  • Dual tariffs – if your property gets gas and electricity this may suit best. Typically suppliers will offer discounts on these to retain customers and business but you should also check if you can find any cheaper rates on a separate basis. 

Your current usage

  • Your supplier will be able to see your energy use patterns from meter readings and make recommendations on what tariffs may suit your usage best. New suppliers can also offer this if you know your usage information (which can be found on your latest bill, or will be estimated based on standard consumption figures).
  • The best thing is to check your printed bills or online account and check your current tariffs and how much you are currently paying per kWh to see if there are savings to be made. A switching site can do this comparison for you.

Current supplier perks

  • It’s worth checking if your current supplier offers the Warm Home Discount or the Priority services register. These are both useful for vulnerable households and not all suppliers are obligated to offer these services.

Current exit fees

  • This is where you would be charged if you want to leave the contract early. Ending as normal has no extra costs.
  • If you are on the default, standard variable tariff there are typically no exit fees.
  • As a general rule of thumb the cheaper your plan is the higher your exit fees may be.
  • Some suppliers may waive the exit fee if you are moving to another tariff within the same company if they would otherwise lose you.

Switching considerations

Customer service

  • Things which are usually important to consider are call wait times, complaints handling, transparency and bill clarity.
  • Which conducted a survey of over 8,000 households from 35 different suppliers in September 2019 to find how suppliers rated on such topics. You can view the results here.
  • You can see scores on sites like Trustpilot, which also lets you search for best green supplier etc. This can be helpful for ‘newer’ suppliers, for example Bulb has over 37,000 reviews gaining an impressive score of 4.8 out of 5. Similarly Octopus has over 25,000 reviews on Trustpilot and also a score of 4.8.

Environmental & Social Responsibility

  • Beyond how a supplier treats us we can consider how they treat the environment, their staff and local communities. It might be worth checking out your supplier’s commitments to support more vulnerable households. Additionally check their environmental approach, some suppliers will offer a green tariff and some suppliers are only green.

Paper or paperless

  • Most suppliers now offer both. Some supplies can offer a cheaper online i.e paperless tariff as this reduces printing and postage costs. It also cuts carbon emissions. Some new suppliers such as Pure Planet only offer online services.

‘Perks’ of larger suppliers

  • Some larger suppliers are able to offer ‘free’ gadgets on sign-up to their tariffs. Typically smart thermostats and plugs.
  • Some larger suppliers offer boiler cover too and you may want your boiler cover and energy supplier to be the same company.
  • Not all suppliers are obligated to offer the Warm Home Discount, to check which suppliers offer this click here. Check if this is an important factor for your switch.

Sustainable business growth

  • Scalability is key here, if the customer base increases quickly there will need to be customer operations support to handle this. Ofgem toughened up their requirements to trade in June 2019, meaning future suppliers had to show more thorough evidence of future funding and also customer service plans. These were introduced to try to prevent new suppliers failing. For peace of mind if your supplier does fail, Ofgem acts as a safety net by; protecting customers energy credit balance, ensuring continued energy supply and covering customer service aspects. Read more on what happens if your supplier stops trading here.

Reminders

  • Switching to a cheaper supplier or tariff can save you money, but to reduce your bills further and for the environment we should all try to save energy where possible. Read our energy saving tips for more!
  • If you are on the Priority Services register you will need to re-register with your new supplier.

Considering switching now?

Visit uSwitch to get started!

By Louise Hyde
Louise

 

Money savings on a table
Look after your bills and saving energy during lockdown

With the UK now on lockdown many of us are spending more time at home and worrying about energy bills on top of the general emotional and financial strain of the pandemic. If you are worried about meeting any bill payments or topping up credit on a pre-payment meter please contact your supplier. If you … Continued

With the UK now on lockdown many of us are spending more time at home and worrying about energy bills on top of the general emotional and financial strain of the pandemic.

If you are worried about meeting any bill payments or topping up credit on a pre-payment meter please contact your supplier. If you are vulnerable please contact your energy and water supplier about the priority services register. For more covid-19 related energy guidance read here.

Households with workers now working from home or kids now home from school will typically see a higher energy consumption with higher: kettle usage, cooking related energy use, computer and phone energy consumption and lighting and heating.

You may be worried about higher energy costs from this lockdown, however for many there could also be savings from travel costs and other expenses could balance this out.

Follow the tips to save energy and money:

Energy and Money Saving Tips

Tariffs & Suppliers

 You could be paying more for your energy by being on a more expensive tariff. Typically fixed rated tariffs are cheaper than a standard variable tariff. Check your bill to see what tariff you are on, then contact your supplier to see if there are cheaper tariffs available.

  • You will often be put onto a standard variable tariff at the end of your contract remember to check when your contract is up
  • You may also consider switching suppliers if an independent switching site recommends it could save you money. Check out switching here.
  • If you have separate gas and electricity tariffs you could investigate a dual tariff as many energy suppliers offer these and they can be cheaper than separate tariffs.
  • Before making any decisions or switching if you are in a contract check any exit fees and if the switching savings are greater than these fees.
  • If you are on an Economy 7 tariff try charging items at night when the rate is cheaper. More on economy 7 here.

Working from home:

  • Electronic devices: check all devices are on ‘energy savings mode’ and unplug them when not charging. Don’t charge your phone all night – most phones only take a few hours to charge!
  • Try pick the warmest room in the house for your ‘office’.
  • Make sure there isn’t furniture covering any main heating sources. This will block the heat from heating the room.
  • Pick somewhere with natural light (but without glare on screens) if possible to avoid need for artificial lighting.

Home schooling:

  • Body temperature drops when we are stationary so if possible try a morning and lunchtime exercise activity to keep boost temperatures.
  • Try plan lessons based on any printed materials they may have.
  • Concerned about kids’ consoles and gaming energy consumption? Try get the family to do watch any films together on the one device rather than all in separate rooms and using more energy.

Dishes:

  • Handwashing – Many of us want to wash dishes as soon as they are done so our kitchens don’t look messy but it is more efficient to wash them in larger batches. For those sharing etc this may not be suitable but compromise may be possible.
  • Dishwashers – similar with running the dishwasher it is most efficient to put on when it’s fully loaded however this will depend on the household’s routine.

 Cooking:

  • If you have stocked up on a large amount of perishable goods you may want to batch cook and freeze portions to reduce cooking time and therefore energy use. This also stops perishable good from spoiling.
  • When filling the kettle or a pan on the hob only fill the required amount, overfilling will require more energy to heat a larger volume of water.
  • Choose appropriate sized pans when cooking and using lids will also save energy.
  • Low energy use meals can be cereal, sandwiches etc.

Fridge/freezer:

  • Try not to overpack and air needs to circulate to keep items at even, cool temperatures.
  • Defrost items in the fridge if you have time. This will help keep the fridge temperature cool for less energy.
  • Don’t put hot meals straight into the fridge as this will raise the overall temperate triggering the refrigeration energy to increase.

Washing:

 Investigate if your washing machine has an ‘eco’ setting. Most modern washing machines have these.

  • Many of us will be washing items more frequently with hygiene and contamination concerns. Keep laundry in a separate bag or basket and wash at 40 if you have hygiene concerns.
  • Slower pace – Now with a slower-paced lifestyle you may have time to dry washing naturally and even outside if possible. Where possible dry washing outside as breathing in the moisture molecules can be harmful to breathe in.

Heating

Check your thermostat and boiler setting programme. Do you want to adjust this to reflect your new work patterns. Tip: have you checked the time on your boiler is right after the clocks changed this week? Recommended thermostat settings are between 18 & 21 degrees Celsius. You could save up to £85 a year by turning your thermostat down just 1 degree.

Bathrooms

  • Remember to turn the tap off when brushing your teeth. Energy is used to treat water to make it save to come out the tap.
  • It could be tempting to use any saved commuting time for longer in the shower but try a timer to keep you on track and how water use down.
  • On warmer days you may way to use natural ventilation from open windows instead of an extractor fan.

Appliances

  • If you are interested in comparing the energy usage of appliances then there are typically ratings here.
  • Your appliances at home may vary depending on how energy efficient they are. There is a EU derived white goods rating system to help consumer recognise this easily. You may have seen these labels on appliances; a rainbow style sticker with A – G ratings with A being the most efficient.

Excess Condensation

  • It’s also important to keep areas of moisture production like kitchens and bathrooms well ventilated. If you don’t have an extractor fan, having the windows open during and after cooking and showering can help.
  • Where possible try drying washing outside or in well ventilated rooms.
  • For more advice on damp & condensation please see our extended guidance.

You can also read our ‘How to Save Energy at Home Page’ here.

If you are still worried, contact:

By Louise Hyde
Louise

energy efficiency award win 2020
Portsmouth City Council wins “Regional Council of the Year” award for energy efficiency

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team won the “Regional Council of the Year” award at the South East Energy Efficiency Awards last week. The in-house team was also highly commended in the “Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year” category. These new awards come fresh from success at the National Energy Efficiency awards in November, where … Continued

Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team won the “Regional Council of the Year” award at the South East Energy Efficiency Awards last week. The in-house team was also highly commended in the “Vulnerable Customer Support Campaigner of the Year” category. These new awards come fresh from success at the National Energy Efficiency awards in November, where the team won the National Social Responsibility Organisation of the Year award.

The Council of the Year award is presented to one lead local authority judged to have undertaken outstanding energy efficiency, generation and social good projects for the local community.

The projects considered by the judges of particular note were the Council’s continued roll-out of solar panels to its buildings. Over 3,500 additional solar panels were added to Council properties over the past year. This means that Portsmouth City Council now has 6 megawatts of clean solar generation; creating enough clean energy each year to power 1,500 typical homes for a year and offsetting nearly 1,600 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

The team’s work with other clients to support their roll-out of solar was also recognised. In West Sussex, the energy services team project managed installations of solar to 35 schools; as well as working with other clients on a range of energy services.

The award also recognises the work that the energy services team does to tackle fuel poverty in the city; providing assistance and affordable warmth to some of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households. Over the past 12 months, the team has increased the number of households being seen by nearly 300%, has attracted additional external funding and has launched Switched On Portsmouth.

Switched On Portsmouth (www.switchonportsmouth.co.uk) houses all of the Council’s energy offers to Portsmouth homes under a single roof. Allowing people to more easily access the help and support that they need. The development of the website and Switched On has been carried out alongside the publication of the Council’s Home Energy and Water Strategy which aims to further strengthen the offers available for people to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Cllr Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

“Once again our expert in-house energy services team has been recognised as the leading organisation in the South East when it comes to energy.”

“Following a number of awards in recent years, the city and its residents should take pride in the fact that they have an industry-leading service that provides expert energy efficiency projects as well as a number of brilliant energy and money saving initiatives”.

“From tackling fuel poverty to installing more than 20,000 solar panels in 2019, the broad remit of our expert energy services team benefits residents and our environment alike.”

It is the second year in a row that the Council’s in-house team has won the award.

Radiator with a thermostat
The Future of Gas Central Heating

Net Zero by 2030 Portsmouth City Council unanimously decided to declare a climate emergency in March of 2019. This set an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. ‘Net Zero’ basically means that the council aims to achieve a balance between carbon emissions and the carbon removed from the atmosphere. This offset … Continued

Net Zero by 2030

Portsmouth City Council unanimously decided to declare a climate emergency in March of 2019. This set an ambitious target of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2030. ‘Net Zero’ basically means that the council aims to achieve a balance between carbon emissions and the carbon removed from the atmosphere. This offset can be achieved by reducing carbon emissions in one sector, or by directly removing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere through the planting of trees, or the use of carbon capture and storage, for example.

The council recently announced its greenest budget ever, with £37 million proposed to be invested in environmentally friendly projects.

The majority of household emissions come from heating your home, and 18% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from residential heating.  In light of this, Chancellor Philip Hammond recently announced that gas central heating will be banned for all new build properties by 2025. This does not mean that properties which are already built and using gas central heating will have to rip their systems out, and it does not mean that gas central heating cannot be installed as a retrofit measure in existing homes.

Man fixing a boiler

Gas central heating is up to three times cheaper to run than electric systems. It is a vitally important measure to reduce the risks to those living in fuel poverty.

Fuel Poverty

12.1% of Portsmouth is considered to be fuel poor – these households cannot afford to keep their homes warm and healthy. Many will have to pick between heating their home and feeding their family, leading to many living in damp and cold homes which exacerbates physical and mental illnesses and impacts child development. There are clear links between cold homes and the amount of excess winter deaths across the UK, of which there were 23,000 in 2018-19.

Elderly lady warming hands by fire

There are currently three sources of funding within England which support the installation of gas central heating in vulnerable households. New regulations from Ofgem mean that insulation measures must go ahead before any new system will be funded – this will reduce heating demand as heat will be better retained within the property, ensuring energy efficiency.

Current Infrastructure 

It might seem counter-productive to continue to install gas central heating in properties when we are aiming for carbon neutrality. However, as ambitious as the 2030 target is, the current energy infrastructure could not match the demand for clean energy. If all existing homes which currently use gas central heating were to switch to electricity in the hope of reducing their carbon emissions, the grid would need massive reinforcement works to accommodate the huge increase in demand.

If these homes then moved to electric storage heaters, they would be faced with one of the most expensive options within the UK, with higher carbon emissions than most systems – including gas central heating. Providing sufficient electricity to meet Britain’s peak winter demand would add enormously to the challenge of de-carbonising power generation, and it is likely that these peaks in demand would have to be met with fossil fuel generated power.

Green Gas

If the future decarbonisation plan involves creating ‘Green Gas’ by blending hydrogen into the natural gas mix, up to two thirds of the cost of a gas central heating system will still be able to work, meaning the current funding will not be rendered useless in the future if this change to the system is made. It is likely that the boiler installed alongside the system will have reached the end of its life before any adaptations are required, anyway.

Biomethane, the product of anaerobic digestion, is already being fed into the gas grid. This is a green source of gas, and requires no changes to the current gas central heating systems being installed. The council already recognises the benefits of creating biomethane, and are currently trialling a food waste recycling method which will result in the creation of this natural resource by sending the waste to an anaerobic digestion plant. If the main gas mix was to include more of this biomethane, it would reduce the carbon emissions associated with heating.

Renewable Heat

Renewable heating systems such as air source and ground source heat pumps have been raised as the key to decarbonising heat. This technology works by absorbing heat from the outside air or the ground to heat radiators and underfloor heating systems. They require electricity to run, but the heat they extract is a natural renewable source. However, these systems have a high upfront installation cost which will be too much for most households even taking the government Renewable Heat Incentive scheme (which is set to end in March 2021) in to account. They require the property they are installed in to be very energy efficient in order to be cost effective – currently, the majority of the housing stock in the UK would not meet these requirements, meaning these systems could cost occupiers huge amounts to run.

Final Thoughts

A planned out and realistic route to decarbonising heat is needed before support to fuel poor and vulnerable households is withdrawn. Despite the ambitious net zero targets, the affordability of technologies to support this are not yet readily available. The UK government plans to publish a road map to low carbon heat this year; this should provide direction for the future of the installation of gas central heating systems in the UK – however, we cannot run the risk of leaving vulnerable households to live in cold homes whilst the UK draws up these future decarbonisation plans.

87.9% of Portsmouth homes are not considered to be living in fuel poverty. It makes more sense in the meanwhile to target energy efficiency measures to reduce carbon emissions in these households. The Council’s recently released “Energy and Water at Home Strategy” outlines how this will be achieved


Anttonia

Written by: Anttonia Lindup 

 

 

FP Awareness Event
‘End Fuel Poverty’ event raises awareness of cold homes and vulnerable people in Portsmouth

The issue of fuel poverty in Portsmouth was highlighted at a council event held for stakeholders from across the city in January. The awareness event was held in conjunction with and funded by National Energy Action (NEA) as part of their ‘Warm and Safe Homes’ (WASH) campaign. The ‘End Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth’ event was … Continued

The issue of fuel poverty in Portsmouth was highlighted at a council event held for stakeholders from across the city in January. The awareness event was held in conjunction with and funded by National Energy Action (NEA) as part of their ‘Warm and Safe Homes’ (WASH) campaign.

The ‘End Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth’ event was held on Thursday 30th January. Partnering organisations, council staff, councillors and charities attended to listen to a number of talks from front-line organisations and key stakeholders who are tackling fuel poverty in England whilst discussing new ways of working.

Around 12.1 per cent of Portsmouth households cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm, compared with the national average rate of 10.9 per cent. Fuel poverty often leads to colder homes and can have an adverse effect on the physical and mental health of adults, young people and the elderly.

The council has previously outlined its commitment to tackling fuel poverty and ensuring residents can keep their homes warm at an affordable cost. Switched On Portsmouth, a new campaign launched last year by the council, signposts residents to a number of free initiatives and schemes that can help them keep their homes warm, whilst saving money and energy. Initiatives include free home visits, free gas central heating installation, emergency boiler replacement and expert advice and support.

£170,000 of Energy Redress funding has been awarded to the Council and partners The Environment Centre to extend the reach of support available to those most at risk of fuel poverty through deep dive support and emergency fuel top up vouchers.

On the event funding, Adam Scorer at National Energy Action said:

“It is a tragedy that so many people die or suffer the health impacts of living in a cold home when they are largely preventable. This is why NEA committed to provide funding to so many different organisations across the country.

We anticipate that the funding will make it possible for Portsmouth City Council to provide much needed support for residents within the local area”.

Staff from local organisations, particularly those who deal with vulnerable people, were invited to the event. Serving as a platform to raise awareness of fuel poverty, the event also provided an opportunity to promote the help that is available to residents and how organisations can work together to help those at risk.

The event was opened by Councillor Darren Sanders, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing. There were then talks held on the health impacts of living in a cold home, technical innovation projects carried out by Southampton University and discussion of the council’s recent ‘Energy and Water at Home’ strategy.

Speaking about the event, Councillor Darren Sanders said:

“Raising awareness of the problem of fuel poverty in Portsmouth is vital. Many people may be in fuel poverty or know someone who is but may not be aware of what help is available.”

“Whilst we are making huge efforts to help residents who can’t afford to keep their homes warm, we need to make even more people aware of the issue across the city.”

“I am keen to make sure the Council and other agencies in the city work together to enable all homes in the city to be as energy efficient as possible. The recent ‘End Fuel Poverty in Portsmouth’ event is a great example of this multi-agency working.”

The council recently participated in NEA’s ‘Nation’s Biggest Housewarming’; a nationwide fundraising effort to tackle fuel poverty. As well as raising money to tackle fuel poverty, the event also provided an opportunity to Signpost the support available to staff so they are fully equipped to provide support to residents within their roles.

In recent years the council has held over 100 engagement events in community centres, libraries and housing offices in order to raise awareness fuel poverty in the community.

If you or someone you know is struggling with energy bills or to keep their home warm, make sure to visit www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk for expert advice and free energy saving initiatives and measures.

Lady warming hands by fire
4,000 vulnerable Portsmouth households to benefit additional energy and money saving support

4,000 of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households will get help and advice to cut their fuel bills through cash secured by Portsmouth City Council. The £170,000 grant comes from the charity the Environment Centre as part of its Energy Redress Scheme. This aims to get people out of fuel poverty. This is the latest in £7.4m … Continued

4,000 of Portsmouth’s most vulnerable households will get help and advice to cut their fuel bills through cash secured by Portsmouth City Council.

The £170,000 grant comes from the charity the Environment Centre as part of its Energy Redress Scheme. This aims to get people out of fuel poverty.

This is the latest in £7.4m of grants the council has got to tackle fuel poverty in the city. Around 12.1 per cent of Portsmouth households in Portsmouth cannot afford to keep their homes adequately warm, compared with the national average rate of 10.9 per cent.

The grant will help create a team to reach out to vulnerable and disadvantaged communities to reduce their risk of fuel poverty and support them to stay warm and well in their homes.

It will also enable fuel-poor households to receive an in-depth and extended home-visit service, covering free fuel top ups to a dedicated energy advice phone line. This builds on the existing provision that offers a range of measures, including:

– install free simple energy saving measures such as LED light bulbs and draught-proofing

– check if residents are on the best energy tariff

– arrange a free money advice consultation

– residents find funding for further energy-saving home improvements.

Funding will also be used to further develop the City’s ‘Fuel Poverty Working Group’, made up of stakeholders from across Portsmouth working towards a collaborative approach to tackling fuel poverty.

Councillor Darren Sanders, the council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:

“Too many people in our city are forced to choose between heating and eating. That is wrong, which is why it is great that the council is – yet again – tackling the problem.

“Too often, people do not know what to turn or what to do when it comes to cutting fuel bills. This finding from the Environment Centre helps deal with this vital gap.

“I am keen to make sure the council and other agencies in the city make our homes as energy efficient as possible. That is why I am looking forward to seeing the city’s first strategy to do just that soon.”

The additional funding comes shortly after the council launched its ‘energy and water at home strategy’ consultation, which focuses heavily on fuel poverty mitigation.

The council is currently working towards a 1st April launch when the new schemes will be operational. Residents will be referred into the additional support services after having an initial visit if deemed eligible.

Adam Goulden, Chief Executive of the Environment Centre said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded funding through the Redress Scheme and are looking forward to supporting Portsmouth City Council and the Fuel Poverty Action group as they work to tackle this hugely important issue.

We welcome the opportunity to be able to provide more intensive support to a greater number of vulnerable residents and help them stay warm and well in the homes.”

Residents will also be able to apply for the additional support through the council’s new energy and money saving website www.switchedonportsmouth.co.uk.

Energy Advice Drop-ins
Free energy advice drop-in sessions announced for January and February

Switched On Portsmouth, through Portsmouth City Council, will be hosting a number of drop-in sessions throughout January and February in order to help residents save energy and money in their homes. We will be providing expert advice, energy saving measures as well as information on a number of free schemes, from free gas central heating … Continued

Switched On Portsmouth, through Portsmouth City Council, will be hosting a number of drop-in sessions throughout January and February in order to help residents save energy and money in their homes. We will be providing expert advice, energy saving measures as well as information on a number of free schemes, from free gas central heating and installation to free home visits.

We will be visiting community centres, libraries and hubs across Portsmouth from the 8th January through to the 17th February. Drop in sessions are free to attend and are open to everyone.

Find your nearest drop in session below:

 

Council accepts Energy Efficiency award
Portsmouth City Council wins National Energy Efficiency Award for work helping vulnerable residents

Portsmouth City Council wins National Energy Efficiency Award for work helping vulnerable residents Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team have received national recognition for its work mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents.   The team also received a special commendation for the National Council of the Year award, … Continued

Portsmouth City Council wins National Energy Efficiency Award for work helping vulnerable residents

Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team have received national recognition for its work mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents.

 

The team also received a special commendation for the National Council of the Year award, having won the award for the South East region earlier in the year.

 

The National Social Responsibility Company of the Year award is presented to one UK organisation which is addressing the requirements of is community, whilst having a positive impact on society and the environment.

 

Fuel poverty affects 12.1% of all households in Portsmouth, specifically those who cannot afford to keep adequately warm at a reasonable cost. As a result, residents may be living in cold homes, which can affect physical and mental health, childhood attainment and lead to damp and mould issues in properties.

 

Since 2017, Portsmouth residents have been benefiting from award-winning fuel poverty mitigation initiatives run by the council’s Energy Services team. These include the Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP), Warmer Homes and the Emergency Boiler Replacement Scheme.

 

LEAP offers home-visits and energy advice to residents, whilst providing the most vulnerable with free energy efficiency measures such as LED light bulbs and TV standby plugs.

 

The Warmer Homes scheme offers eligible households a fully funded gas central heating system, and gas connection if required. The total value of the gas connection and the central heating system typically equates to £6,000.

 

These initiatives have saved vulnerable residents £937,373 to date. More than 1,000 homes have benefited from the provision of expert energy efficiency advice, while 1,500 fully-funded central heating systems have been made available for residents the Portsmouth area.

 

The team have also been recognised for industry-leading work around renewable energy generation.

 

Councillor Darren Sanders, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing said:

 

“We are thrilled that our expert in-house Energy Services team have again been recognised as the leading organisation in the United Kingdom when it comes to social responsibility.”

 

“It is great for the city that it has a service that is unmatched in the UK when it comes to their energy efficiency needs, offering brilliant energy and money saving initiatives”.

 

During the award presentation, judges referred to the winning organisation as having an “outstanding application” whilst acknowledging that they “work with multiple funding streams and partners to provide an excellent scheme”.

 

Portsmouth City Council will launch a brand new website, Switched On Portsmouth, this month which will provide residents with even more energy efficiency advice and better access to initiatives that will save them energy and money.

 

For information and advice from Portsmouth City Council on the help available to keep your energy bills low, your house warm and you and your family healthy, please click here.

Man adjusting boiler
Residents can now benefit from free emergency boiler replacement

The Emergency Central Heating Offer (ECHO) provides free boiler repairs and replacements to eligible residents with broken or condemned boilers. The initiative is delivered in partnership with AgilityEco and was launched in 2017. To date, it has helped 1,500 families in need with either a boiler repair or replacement across the UK. Residents can face … Continued

The Emergency Central Heating Offer (ECHO) provides free boiler repairs and replacements to eligible residents with broken or condemned boilers. The initiative is delivered in partnership with AgilityEco and was launched in 2017. To date, it has helped 1,500 families in need with either a boiler repair or replacement across the UK.

Residents can face health and wellbeing issues if their boiler were to break down. It has been identified that a high percentage of residents who live in Portsmouth may have an ageing or poorly maintained boiler. Often with little or no savings available, repairing or replacing them is often overlooked by residents.

Almost £1 million of funding has been secured from energy suppliers to assist residents who meet the criteria set out by the initiative. From point of contact, the ECHO team aim to repair or replace faulty boilers within seven working days.

Last year, 400 households benefitted from the repair or replacement of their broken boiler system through the ECHO initiative. As a result of these measures 19,000 tonnes of carbon will be saved, whilst residents save a combined total of around £5 million on their bills.

Who’s eligible?

In order to qualify for assistance under the ECHO programme, applicants will need to meet certain eligibility criteria.

Applicants must either:

– Be part of the Help to Heat group through receipt of qualifying benefits

– Or meet the criteria laid out by their Local Authority in their Flexible Eligibility Statement of Intent

And

– Heat their home using gas central heating

– Be in an emergency “no heat” situation as a result of their boiler being broken

– Be the owner occupier of the property

– Have no access to alternative sources of funding able to provide emergency assistance.

To benefit from the initiative, please contact Portsmouth City Council’s Energy Services team. The team will be able to refer eligible residents to the ECHO scheme.

To see if you are eligible for a free boiler repair or replacement, please contact us:

energysaving@portsmouthcc.gov.uk 

or call us on 02392 841947.

Portsmouth wins 'Council of the year' award
Portsmouth crowned ‘Council of the Year’ for energy efficiency

Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team has won the coveted ‘Council of the Year Award’ at the 2019 South East Energy Efficiency Awards. The team was also commended in a second category for their work around mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents. The award is presented to one … Continued

Portsmouth City Council’s in-house Energy Services team has won the coveted ‘Council of the Year Award’ at the 2019 South East Energy Efficiency Awards. The team was also commended in a second category for their work around mitigating fuel poverty and the provision of affordable energy for vulnerable residents.

The award is presented to one council or local authority that has shown commitment to promoting energy efficiency within their region whilst thanking them for their efforts.

In recent years, the authority has invested heavily in energy services, specifically looking at renewable generation and energy efficiency for homes and local organisations. Projects include low energy lighting, fuel poverty mitigation, solar panel installations, utility bill validation and energy certification among other services.

Portsmouth City Council boasts one of the largest local authority energy teams in the UK. Over recent years the team has installed almost 400 solar systems across Portsmouth; totalling over 20,000 solar panels and producing enough electricity to run 635,000 homes for a day. This solar power makes a significant saving to the city’s carbon emissions, with 1,600 tonnes a year of carbon saved by using this clean power.

Vulnerable residents benefit from the award-winning initiatives run by the council’s Energy Services Team. Three schemes that are currently offered include Local Energy Advice Partnership (LEAP), Warmer Homes and the Emergency Boiler Replacement Scheme. LEAP offers home energy advice to residents, whilst providing the most vulnerable with free energy efficiency measures such as LED light bulbs and TV standby plugs.

The Warmer Homes scheme offers eligible households a fully funded gas central heating system, and gas connection if required. The total value of the gas connection and the central heating system typically equates to £6,000.

These initiatives have resulted in £937,373 worth of savings to date for vulnerable residents, the provision of expert energy efficiency advice for 1,000 homes and 1,500 fully-funded central heating systems being made available for residents the Portsmouth area.

The council aims to continue to reduce the rate of fuel poverty in the city by providing key initiatives to Portsmouth residents.

Councillor Darren Sanders from Portsmouth City Council said:

“As a city, Portsmouth must do all it can to tackle that climate emergency and air pollution crisis we face. The Council is uniquely placed at the forefront of clean energy in the South of England and I am delighted that it is getting recognition for the work it is doing to make that happen.

“This is not the end, though. We must and we will continue to plan and carry out pioneering initiatives to help mitigate fuel poverty, reduce carbon emissions and improve both air quality and energy efficiency in our city”

Portsmouth City Council fought off tough competition from Sevenoaks Council, Mid Sussex Council and Bracknell Forest Council for the crown of ‘Regional Council of the Year Award’.

Elderly lady changing thermostat
200 residents benefit from referrals across Portsmouth

Our Warmer Homes scheme has now received over 200 referrals across the Portsmouth, Gosport & Havant area! Warmer Homes is our free gas central heating scheme which is open to social tenants, private rental and homeowners in the Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant area. The scheme has funding for up to 1,500 free central heating installations … Continued

Our Warmer Homes scheme has now received over 200 referrals across the Portsmouth, Gosport & Havant area! Warmer Homes is our free gas central heating scheme which is open to social tenants, private rental and homeowners in the Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant area.

The scheme has funding for up to 1,500 free central heating installations and is available all year round. Please mention the scheme to family, friends and the residents you support.

Not sure who qualifies? Our eligibility criteria is broad and typically includes those on low incomes and those in receipt of means-tested benefits. Resident can also apply if they have a long-term health issue or are in a vulnerable situation.

To find out more about the initiative and to see if you are eligible, click here.

For more information or marketing materials, please contact our Energy Services Team: 023 9284 1947 or energysaving@portsmouthcc.gov.uk

Solar PV on Gymnastic Centre
PCC achieves a record year of solar power revenue

The record-breaking sunshine during the summer of 2018 proved to be an added bonus to the city’s solar energy production. Over the last seven years, the City Council has installed 23,000 panels totalling 5.75 Megawatts across their buildings in Portsmouth as part of a strategy to reduce energy expenditure, carbon emissions and earn income from … Continued

The record-breaking sunshine during the summer of 2018 proved to be an added bonus to the city’s solar energy production. Over the last seven years, the City Council has installed 23,000 panels totalling 5.75 Megawatts across their buildings in Portsmouth as part of a strategy to reduce energy expenditure, carbon emissions and earn income from the sale of power and subsidies.

In 2018 these solar systems generated 3.75GWh of clean electricity, enough to power 960 standard 3 bed houses for a year. This generated £350,000 for the City Council during the sunniest year on record; and also pushed the total income to PCC from the panels over their lifetime to over £1 million.

City buildings including libraries, leisure centres, schools, housing blocks, offices and the Civic offices all host the council’s Solar infrastructure. Britain’s heatwave last summer helped boost the energy generated at these sites and some buildings experienced periods of being entirely powered by solar power, said Meredydd Hughes – AD Buildings.

Andrew Waggott Energy Services Team Manager for Portsmouth City Council said, ” Installing solar PV on operational sites has made sound economic sense and has off-set the need to buy peak-time electricity from the grid. In addition further cost savings were achieved by having the working project managed by the Council’s own in-house energy services team.

Solar panels on Somerstown flats
£1.4 million budget approved to save carbon and energy across Portsmouth

Portsmouth councillors last week approved a £1.4 million budget to help the City Council save carbon and energy across its building portfolio; with libraries, community centres and offices among the buildings set to benefit. The money will be used to fund low energy LED lighting, insulation, building energy management systems and other projects identified by … Continued

Portsmouth councillors last week approved a £1.4 million budget to help the City Council save carbon and energy across its building portfolio; with libraries, community centres and offices among the buildings set to benefit. The money will be used to fund low energy LED lighting, insulation, building energy management systems and other projects identified by PCC’s in-house Energy Services Team.

The newly approved funding builds on a programme of energy efficiency projects which have been delivered over recent years. These schemes have been responsible for lowering PCC’s carbon emissions by 30% since 2010 saving over £500,000 a year by investing in a variety of energy savings technologies and projects.

Past projects include:

 

– Civic Offices energy projects have included Solar PV, LED lighting and a new heating system which have led to a 40% reduction in electricity and 22% in gas

– Central Library LED Lighting has improved the quality of the light and saved £30,000 per year in energy and reduced carbon emissions by 75 tonnes

– The Isambard Brunel Carpark has reduced its energy and maintenance expenditure by £35,000 since having new LED lighting and controls retrofitted

 

The new funding allows the scale and scope of the investment to continue to grow; with projects earmarked to include low energy lighting in libraries, combined heat and power in leisure centres and insulation in community centres. The energy savings brought about from these investments are estimated to total £200,000 and 400 tonnes of carbon saved per year.

Solar PV on the roof of Portsmouth Cathedral
Portsmouth Cathedral installs new solar panels

Portsmouth Cathedral has teamed up with Portsmouth City Council’s energy services team to put a 6.6kW solar array on Cathedral House in St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth. The 24 panel array, which will generate approximately 5700kWh per annum of renewable electricity, has been installed by Portsmouth based company Space Renewables run by Stephen Jackson, and project managed … Continued

Portsmouth Cathedral has teamed up with Portsmouth City Council’s energy services team to put a 6.6kW solar array on Cathedral House in St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth.

The 24 panel array, which will generate approximately 5700kWh per annum of renewable electricity, has been installed by Portsmouth based company Space Renewables run by Stephen Jackson, and project managed by Portsmouth City Council’s energy team as part of their wider PV initiative.

In 2014 Portsmouth City Council rolled out their Solar PV install programme, the aim was to reduce bills for schools, community associations and other organisations; providing cheaper, sustainable green energy, and as a bonus, generating income back into the city that can be used to support services.

Cathedral House is a multi-use building serving both Cathedral and community activities and the solar array will supply power to the music/song rooms, administrative offices and chorister residential accommodation – typically reducing their grid consumption by 30%.

“We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work both with PCC’s very experienced PV team and a local SME on this project,” Canon Chancellor Peter Leonard, “the solar array will not only provide Cathedral House with affordable clean energy but also help us towards our EcoChurch carbon reduction goal of 6% per annum.”

Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Resources, Cllr Jeanette Smith said:

“It’s wonderful to see more and more organisations become involved with our Solar PV scheme,  not only is it providing the Cathedral with sustainable green energy and lowering their carbon footprint,  but it’s reducing their electricity bills and helping to bring money back into public services. I really hope other local organisations see the Cathedral as leading the way and follow suit to become greener and more energy conscious.”

Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Darren Sanders said:

“The energy services team have been busily installing Solar PV on buildings within the city since 2014; much of it on PCC’s social housing portfolio, as part of a local investment strategy and to lower the Council’s carbon emissions. The investments are really paying off; with almost £1 million income to the authority since we began the rollout. It’s great to see other organisations looking to solar as a way to save money and generate an income, whilst using the skills and experience of the PCC team to deliver the installations.”

The solar array is one of a number of projects the Cathedral has been carrying out since 2015 in order to reduce its energy carbon footprint.

“There is clearly great potential for solar PV for church community/administrative buildings and schools, not only providing clean affordable onsite power but also assisting the educational curriculum for future generations of young people,” said Canon Peter, “we do hope that central government will find a way of putting in place a mechanism post March 2019 to continue stimulating this important contribution to the UK’s carbon reduction goals and climate change agenda.”

As a member of the EcoChurch initiative, Portsmouth Cathedral was one of five cathedrals nationwide to be presented with a Bronze award in 2016 by the new Eco Church scheme, in recognition of contribution and support of the Church of England ‘Shrinking the Footprint’ campaign.

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Councils combine to achieve £7.4m funding to help most vulnerable

Councils combine to achieve £7.4m funding to help most vulnerable Portsmouth City Council will lead a consortium of nine local authorities for the delivery of first time central heating systems in vulnerable households. The authority and its partner AgilityEco have been successful in attracting £4.65m from the nationwide Warm Homes Fund, established by National Grid and administered … Continued

Councils combine to achieve £7.4m funding to help most vulnerable

Portsmouth City Council will lead a consortium of nine local authorities for the delivery of first time central heating systems in vulnerable households.

The authority and its partner AgilityEco have been successful in attracting £4.65m from the nationwide Warm Homes Fund, established by National Grid and administered by Affordable Warmth Solutions; with a further £2.8 million to be brought to the project from other energy efficiency funding streams, bringing the total amount to £7.4 million.

The money is to be allocated over three years, with the first installations for the project beginning in August. The scheme intends to deliver 1,500 free central heating installations during this time.

Typical eligibility criteria include those on low incomes, those in receipt of means-tested benefits, those with long-term health issues or those in vulnerable situations.

Where it’s recognised that a household is having central heating for the first time, changing for example from systems such as panel heating or storage heaters, other secondary energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall and loft insulation can also be installed for them.

Those receiving their first central heating system will also receive a free connection to the gas grid, where this is required. The total value of a gas connection and central heating system typically equates to £6,000.

Around 10% of the funding can be used in social housing, but the vast majority is to be used in the private sector where fuel poverty is most prevalent; both for homeowners and private rental.

The website Warmerhomes.org.uk gives further information regarding the scheme, eligibility criteria and how to apply.

Information can also be received by calling 0800 038 5737 or emailing info@warmerhomes.org.uk

Portsmouth City Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Darren Sanders said:

“This funding is excellent news for the residents of Portsmouth and will ensure that many of the most vulnerable in our city don’t have to suffer when winter arrives. Fuel poverty is a growing problem in our city. This funding means we can take proactive action to help those who need it the most, I couldn’t be prouder that Portsmouth is leading the consortium on this project.

AgilityEco’s Chief Executive Officer Gearóid Lane said:

“We’re delighted to have helped Portsmouth City Council and its consortium partners to secure this valuable grant funding, enabling hundreds of people in Portsmouth to replace their expensive, inefficient heating systems with new and efficient gas central heating. We’re looking forward to working with the councils to deliver this valuable help and support to those that need it most. We urge residents without gas central heating to visit the website or call the free helpline number and get their applications in before the coming winter.”

Jeremy Nesbitt, Managing Director of Affordable Warmth Solutions, said:

“We are excited about this investment from National Grid. Solving the issues associated with Fuel Poverty continues to challenge many of our stakeholders and the feedback we’ve already received provides evidence of how the Warm Homes Fund will make a positive difference to thousands of homes throughout Great Britain.”

The consortium partners are:

  • Portsmouth City Council
  • Gosport Borough Council
  • Peterborough City Council
  • Bournemouth Borough Council
  • Ealing Council
  • Enfield Council
  • Poole Borough Council
  • Rutland County Council
  • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council

Want to find out more?

If you have any questions about what you might be eligible for or if you just want to find out more about how we can help, just send us an email or give us a call