Information for Homeowners

  • Facts on Energy Usage
  • Renewable Energy
  • Solar Panels
  • Evacuated Tubes
  • Insulation
  • Double Glazing
  • Solar Water Heating


Energy used in buildings is responsible for nearly half of the UK’s carbon emissions. With homes currently accounting for 27% of the UK’s carbon emissions, they offer plenty of scope for significant reductions to our national carbon footprint.

The government and industry are working together towards zero carbon housing standards by 2016 for new homes. But what about the existing stock? The SDC has reviewed the technical measures and policies that can make huge cuts in carbon emissions and continues to work with government and stakeholders to find a way to create a step change in emissions.

The SDC believes that existing homes and communities have a huge role to play in ameliorating the current housing crisis, meeting resource efficiency targets and creating sustainable communities. Government policy needs to support the continual regeneration of existing communities through new investment in existing neighbourhoods, infill building and upgrading of homes.

Renewable Energy

With today’s increasing oil prices it is becoming vital to reduce our use of fossil fuels, the easiest way is to start in the home, or rather on it.
Renewable energy occurs naturally and repeatedly in the environment and can be energy from water, wind, sun or geothermal heat from the ground. Renewable energy can also be produced from biomass, plant sources, such as wood or crops grown specifically as a fuel.

Most renewable energy production is large scale but some renewable technologies are suited to small off-grid applications. The Low Energy House website concentrates on renewable energy applications that are appropriate to the construction of individual houses.  E.g. Solar PV Panels, Solar Roof Tiles, Solar Thermal Energy etc.  

Solar Panels


Due to the new government legislation act of feed in tariffs (FiTs) in April 2008, solar energy panels have been a profitable addition to housing.

As a result, many eco companies are looking to ‘rent’ roof space off the public and landlords. These companies install the system for free and claim the generation tariff from the power company, letting you use the energy for free during the day. You will still be connected to your energy provider, as energy is not stored from the system, giving you energy to use at night. Any surplus energy you don’t use from the panels is sent to the grid. So using essentials such as hot water for showers, washing machines and such can be used using free power in the day and essentially cutting your electric bills down a fair amount. Unfortunately there are some specifics for installing the system...on the downside most buildings have to have a south facing roofs; this is so the solar panels operate for optimum performance.
One company who provides this ‘service’ is A Shade Greener
Another is HomeSun


Evacuated Tubes

Evacuated tubes are another form of solar technology. They can also be an effective alternative for domestic space heating, especially in regions where it is often cloudy, than the older flat plate collectors, although more of a cost.
These consist of a copper heat pipe, which has a black copper absorber plate attached to it, inside a vacuum-sealed solar tube. The heat pipe is hollow and the space inside is evacuated. Inside the heat pipe is a small quantity of liquid, such as alcohol or purified water. The vacuum enables the liquid to boil at a much lower temperature than it would at normal atmospheric pressure. When solar radiation falls on the surface of the absorber, the liquid within the heat tube quickly turns to hot vapour and this rises to the top of the pipe. Water, or glycol, flows through a manifold and picks up the heat, while the fluid in the heat pipe condenses and flows back down the tube for the process to be repeated.
The benefit of this technology means that they can be also used to heat outdoor pools as well as household water.



Insulating your house helps to maintain a comfortable living environment by maintaining inside temperatures and reducing energy costs. Insulation creates a barrier above your ceiling, which reduces the amount of heat entering the home on a hot day, and reducing the amount of heat loss on a cold day. Because the majority of heat in most homes is lost and gained through the ceiling, this is the most fundamental step in creating a comfortable and energy efficient home.


Double Glazing

The main advantage that double-glazing offers over traditional windows is insulation. Because nearly 25% of your heat is lost through your windows, well-made and well-fitted double-glazing can reduce your heating costs by as much as half depending on the amount of glass in your home. 


Solar Water Heating

Solar water heating systems use free heat from the sun to warm domestic hot water. A conventional boiler or immersion heater is then used to make the water hotter, or to provide hot water when solar energy is unavailable.