Energy is a commodity that continues to become more expensive as time goes by. This is in part because of our heavy dependence on finite petrochemical sources of energy such as oil and gas but also because the cost of producing and delivering alternative sources of energy is typically higher than sources we’re trying to replace.
Some 27% of all energy usage is on average consumed for heating and cooling of buildings and while modern buildings built today are likely to be more energy efficient than 10 , 20 or 30 year old buildings most of the homes we live in in Malahide today were built more than 10 years ago. That means that more than 95% of the homes in Malahide need some level of upgrading or “retrofit” in order to bring them up to the latest standard of energy efficiency.
Why is it important to consider retrofit now?
Essentially there are two reasons to consider retrofit.
- Generating this heat energy is expensive today and it will become much more expensive over time to heat our homes.
- The latest building technologies offer an opportunity to create homes that are significantly more confortable during winter months. ie cheaper to heat and cheaper to keep warm.
The Irish government under the auspices of SEAI (Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland) have created an incentive scheme which grant aids certain technologies selected on the basis of the relationship between the cost of the improvements weighed against the improvement in performance of the building. This scheme will not run forever and its important to consider your options now and complete the work while the incentives are still in place. (Its estimated that the current scheme will finish at the end of 2012)
What are the most important areas to be considered?
The Graphic below is from a booklet produced by SEAI called “An Introduction to Insulating Your Home” which is available on their website.
This graphic clearly illustrates the most common sources of heat loss in a typical house. Obviously homes built in different periods but this information is a good way to decide where to start. (ie where the highest losses are to be found) . In the following pages we’ve outlined what you can do against 3 of the top 4 sources of heat loss as well as improving how efficiently we produce heat in the first place.