30 July 2017
Words: Local Green Party members Anne Fletcher, Zoe Ford, Lyn Sands and Mary de Pleave
A version of this article appears in the August 2017 edition of Seaford Scene.
Energy efficiency is really important to us all. It saves money on ever-increasing fuel bills; it means we are more likely to be able to rely on home-produced energy, improving fuel security; and it reduces the amount of carbon we release into the atmosphere, which affects global
We are arguing that the Seaford Neighbourhood Plan (http://www.seafordnp.uk/index.php) provides a great opportunity to make sure that all new houses built in Seaford are as energy efficient as possible.
The requirements in the current Building Regulations in England are helpful but do not go as far as they could.
There are other standards that the neighbourhood plan could insist on.
The Home Quality Mark (http://homequalitymark.com/living-in-a-hqm-home)
tells householders the overall expected costs, health and wellbeing benefits, and environmental footprint associated with a new house.
As well as focusing on cost efficiency, it promotes measures to reduce dependency on energy sources that impact badly on our environment, climate and health, including using cost effective renewable energy sources.
Passivhaus (http://www.passiv.de/en/02_informations/01_whatisapassivehouse/01_whatisapassivehouse.htm) is a rigorous standardcreating ultra low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling. Active House is similar to Passivhaus with a focus on light airy buildings (developed by a window manufacturer!).
There are projects using these standards across the country – from Totnes in Devon to Ditchlingham in Norfolk, and from Camden in London to Golcar in Huddersfield - and, more locally, a new development in Newhaven.
What about existing homes? Energy efficiency is more difficult to tackle, There are options however, starting with low energy lighting and draught proofing, through loft insulation and controlling heating in individual rooms, to cavity wall insulation and the installation of solar panels.
One thing we can all do is be aware of energy efficiency when replacing worn out appliances. It is worth checking the government grant calculator (https://www.gov.uk/energy-grants-calculator) to see what help is available - especially if you are on a low income; and the Energy Savings Trust (http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency) has a range of advice on how to make your home more energy efficient.
It is all so much easier to get it right in the first place, saving money and carbon for years to come. Which is why the Seaford Neighbourhood Plan needs to take up this great opportunity to encourage developers to create new homes which are as energy efficient as they can be.