Monday, 1 September 2008


Since the year 2000, the price of home oil has risen 65%, gas has gone up 55% and electricity 44% with ESB announcing a further increase of up to 30% on today’s
Prices…. It’s time to save energy.

“Having an energy assessment for the home could save 20% on your energy needs with savings of up to 60%”.Jim Duffy National Energy Assessor.

You've planned everything from flooring and fireplaces to designer door handles in forensic detail. But have you thought about energy proofing your home?


Awareness for energy conservation has increased dramatically over the last few months in Ireland. The main reason is because of the huge increases in fuel charges. Filling a tank with home heating oil or the car with petrol can be a shocking experience and the fewer times this happens the better. By following a few easy steps you can save a fortune in heating bills and do your bit for the planet.


A Building Energy Rating (BER) is a label similar to the efficiency rating given to white goods such as fridges, freezers, and washing machines. A BER indicates the energy rating of a property in the form of performance bands, 'A' being the most energy efficient to 'G' being the least energy efficient. National Energy Assessors, (NEA) such as Jim Duffy, are well qualified and accredited to provide quality assured Building Energy Rating (BER) Certificates.

Since the 1st of January 2007, all new homes for which planning permission has been applied for must have a BER. “The report is based on the holistic specification of the house,” says Jim. “The audit can help a customer even before the house is built. Small adjustments to the shape of the house in the design stage can also save a lot of energy”.

“The rating is just as important for old houses,” Jim continues. “Even if the house is 100 years old we will look at ways to improve energy efficiency at the lowest investment for the highest gain”. The Building Energy Rating Certificate report is particularly useful to those who have just bought an existing house, and plan to improve or remodel. “This report will outline to you how you can gain the full benefit of energy usage in your home and will suggest methods to improve efficiency such as increasing insulation and lagging pipes. It will help save you money from the moment you move in”. Jim concludes.


Turn off everything not in use.
Activate sleep features
Regularly clean light fittings and lampshades.
Only put as much water in the kettle as you need (cover the element though.)
When cooking, turn down a boiling saucepan and put a lid on to reduce energy use and condensation.
Have a shower instead of a bath.
Set the hot water thermostat to 55 - 60 Degrees Celsius
Close your curtains at dusk making sure not to cover radiators.
Close all doors in unused rooms
Only use washing machines and dishwashers when full.
Wash clothes at as low a temperature as possible.
Use the economy buttons.
Defrost your refrigerator and freezer and don’t leave the doors open.


Fix dripping hot water taps promptly.
Always keep your fridge fully stocked. An empty fridge costs more to run.
Fit Thermostatic controls on radiators. Set a lower temperature in rooms that are not being used.
Weather strip windows and doors.
Fit CFL light bulbs throughout your home.
Install modern vents in walls.
Have NEA provide you with an Energy Audit and start saving money straight away.

Recycling in the home makes a big difference on the environment. When something is ready to be thrown out, stop and think if it can be recycled. Can the material be worked on, cleaned up or reprocessed in some way so that it can be used in some form again? Blue bins collections are now widely available around the peninsula, which save you time and money in fuel costs getting to the recycling centres. If you are doing some home improvements and producing a lot of waste then hiring a skip from Inishowen Recycling gives you the piece of mind to know that everything that can be recycled is pulled out and processed.

Air tightness testing for residential homes is a very effective way of increasing a buildings energy rating & reducing heat loss and overall running costs of existing buildings & new buildings prior to completion. All new single dwellings require an air pressure test. The aim of air tightness testing is to measure the flow of air within a building and identify areas that are experiencing heat loss. Air leakage is the uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in the fabric of a building. Improving air tightness in a dwelling can reduce air leakage. The aim of air tightness is to “build tight, ventilate right”. After the survey has been carried out a report is then compiled which will illustrate exactly were the air leakage is taking place and in addition the report will contain advice on how to best reduce this heat loss..


The best ideas are often the simplest ones, and this can truly be said about the Chimney Balloon. Chimney Balloons are simply put into place and inflated to form an airtight seal. This stops chimney draughts, reduce noise and heat loss. A room with a blocked chimney needs only half the heat compared with rooms with open ones, so it makes sense to fit this device in every chimney that is not in every day use.

Initially designed in 1990, it quickly became clear that the Chimney Balloon had many other benefits including reduces noise keeping back soot and stopping bird mess. The Chimney Balloon not only stops cold draughts coming down your chimney, but also stops the warm air in your room disappearing. It is designed to be used again and again, making it very cost effective at keeping the bills down and improving your living space.

Driving an average of 1,000 miles a month produces about 120 tons of carbon dioxide a year.

The amount of wood and paper we throw away each year is enough to heat 50 million homes for 20 years.

A single polystyrene (Styrofoam) cup contains one billion billion molecules of CFCs--that's 1,000,000,000,000,000,000.

By turning down your central heating thermostat one degree, fuel consumption is cut by as much as 10%.

Insulating your attic reduces the amount of energy loss in most houses by up to 20%.

The use of recycled paper helps to protect wildlife habitats as natural woodlands can be preserved.

You can claim back the cost of blue bins on your tax credits.

1 comment:

batticdoor said...

How To Stop Drafts and Save On Energy Bills

Imagine leaving a window open all winter long -- the heat loss, cold drafts and wasted energy! If your home has a folding pull-down attic stair, a whole house fan, a fireplace or clothes dryer, that may be just what is occurring in your home every day.

Drafts from these often overlooked holes waste energy and cost you big in the form of higher energy bills.

Drafts are the largest source of heating and cooling loss in the home. Drafts occur through the small cracks around doors, windows, pipes, etc. Most homeowners are well aware of the benefits that caulk and weather-stripping provide to minimize energy loss and drafts.

But what can you do about drafts from the four largest “holes” in your home -- the folding attic stair, the whole house fan, the fireplace and the clothes dryer? Here are some tips and techniques that can easily, quickly and inexpensively seal and insulate these holes.

Attic Stairs
When attic stairs are installed, a large hole (approximately 10 square feet) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only a thin, unsealed, sheet of plywood.

Your attic space is ventilated directly to the outdoors. In the winter, the attic space can be very cold, and in the summer it can be very hot. And what is separating your conditioned house from your unconditioned attic? That thin sheet of plywood.

Often a gap can be observed around the perimeter of the attic door. Try this yourself: at night, turn on the attic light and shut the attic stairway door -- do you see any light coming through? If you do, heated and air-conditioned air is leaking out of these large gaps in your home 24-hours a day. This is like leaving a window or skylight open all year ‘round.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add an insulated attic stair cover. An attic stair cover seals the stairs, stopping drafts and energy loss. Add the desired amount of insulation over the cover to restore the insulation removed from the ceiling.

Whole House Fans and Air Conditioning Vents
Much like attic stairs above, when whole house fans are installed, a large hole (up to 16 square feet or larger) is created in your ceiling. The ceiling and insulation that were there have to be removed, leaving only the drafty ceiling shutter between you and the outdoors.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a whole house fan shutter seal. Made from white textured flexible insulation, the shutter seal is installed over the ceiling shutter, secured with Velcro, and trimmed to fit. The shutter seal can also be used to seal and insulate air conditioning vents, and is easily removed when desired.

Sixty-five percent, or over 100 million homes, in North America are constructed with wood or gas burning fireplaces. Unfortunately there are negative side effects that the fireplace brings to a home, especially during the winter heating season. Fireplaces are energy losers.

Researchers have studied this to determine the amount of heat loss through a fireplace, and the results are amazing. One research study showed that an open damper on an unused fireplace in a well-insulated house can raise overall heating-energy consumption by 30 percent.

A recent study showed that for many consumers, their heating bills may be more than $500 higher per winter due to the drafts and wasted energy caused by fireplaces.

Why does a home with a fireplace have higher energy bills? Your chimney is an opening that leads directly outdoors -- just like an open window. Even if the damper is shut, it is not air-tight. Glass doors don’t stop the drafts either. The fireplace is like a giant straw sucking your expensive heated or air-conditioned air right out of your house!

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a Fireplace Plug to your fireplace. Available from Battic Door, a company known for their energy conservation products, the Fireplace Plug is an inflatable pillow that seals the fireplace damper, eliminating drafts, odors, and noise. The pillow is removed whenever the fireplace is used, then reinserted after.

Clothes Dryer Exhaust Ducts
In many homes, the room with the clothes dryer is the coldest room in the house. Your clothes dryer is connected to an exhaust duct that is open to the outdoors. In the winter, cold drafts in through the duct, through your dryer and into your house.

Dryer vents use a sheet-metal flapper to try to reduce these drafts. This is very primitive technology that does not provide a positive seal to stop the drafts. Compounding the problem is that over time, lint clogs the flapper valve causing it to stay open.

An easy, low-cost solution to this problem is to add a dryer vent seal. This will reduce unwanted drafts, and also keeps out pests, bees and rodents. The vent will remain closed unless the dryer is in use. When the dryer is in use, a floating shuttle rises to allow warm air, lint and moisture to escape.

For more information on Battic Door’s energy conservation solutions and products for your home, visit or, to request a free catalog, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to P.O. Box 15, Mansfield, MA 02048.

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