Masters of Research dissertation: ‘Do clay and hemp provide a better plasterboard constituent than conventional gypsum with respect to improving insulation and damp prevention and offering savings in fuel costs, energy and CO2 emissions when retrofitting

Start Date September 2013
Completion Date January 2014
Grant Holders: Masters student: Thomas Robinson. Supervised by Ranyl Rhydwen, Graduate School of the Environment, Centre for Alternative Technology, Wales
Email: tom@adaptavate.com

Summary

This is a preliminary comparative study into the viability of a clayboard alternative to conventional gypsum plasterboard.  Assessment of existing products and technologies will build a picture of the existing orthodoxy and market. Five test samples will be fabricated with different proportions of clay and hemp. The best performing of these, in terms of thermal conductivity and moisture buffering, will be tested against the control (Gypsum Plasterboard) and a clayboard product already on the market.  These tests will establish whether insulating clayboard will affect energy efficiency in the built environment, and its potential for reducing fuel poverty.

Research summary

Full dissertation

Masters of Research thesis: Evaluating and improving energy efficiency grant leaflet information for the elderly fuel-poor

Start Date May 2008
Completion Date September 2008
Grant Holders: Amanda Palmer, Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, De Montfort University
Main Contact Amanda Palmer
Email: palmer_a@hotmail.com

Summary

The aim of this research is to investigate the elderly fuel poor’s understanding and evaluations of existing Scottish Government energy efficiency grant leaflets. Despite the ‘success’ of the Scottish Government’s Central Heating Programme and Warm Deal grants only a low percentage of recipients were actually in fuel poverty. This research is hoping therefore to aid more effective targeting of grant take-up by the fuel poor. As fuel poverty is more likely to affect the elderly, this research focuses on investigating how to improve existing grant leaflets so that grant information receives greater understanding by this group. It is hoped that the outcomes of the project will help inform future grant leaflet design.

Thesis

Download thesis

Winter fuel payment ‘invest to save’

Start Date August 2008
Completion Date April 2009
Grant Holders: Norwich City Council
Main Contact Abbie Brook, Norwich City Council
Email: abbiebrook@norwich.gov.uk

Summary

The scheme will target 30 Norwich households receiving the 2008 Winter Fuel Payment. To participate they will be asked to commit to invest their Winter Fuel Payment in energy efficiency products and services. The idea behind the ‘invest to save’ scheme is that this investment in energy efficiency will help reduce the household’s annual energy bills, meaning that future Winter Fuel Payments will go further.

The Council will provide participating households with services including a benefit entitlement check and an additional grant of £100. Once all desired measures are installed under the scheme, the changes in the property’s energy rating, carbon dioxide emissions and running costs will be calculated.

Full report and project summary

Download report
Download research summary

Energy Heritage

Start Date April 2007
Completion Date June 2008
Grant Holders: Changeworks
Main Contact Nicholas Heath, Project Officer
Email: NHeath@changeworks.org.uk

Summary

Energising our heritage

Edinburgh’s Old Town is in a World Heritage Site. Unfortunately many residents are at severe risk of fuel poverty as their homes, whilst visually outstanding, are highly energy inefficient and closely protected by conservation regulations.

This groundbreaking project involves extensive research and negotiation, followed by a pilot case to improve energy efficiency while satisfying planning and conservation requirements. This will safeguard the long-term sustainability of these valuable buildings, working in partnership with housing providers, planners, conservation experts and householders.
The lessons from this unique pilot study will be developed into a Best Practice guide and a showcase event to inform future UK-wide projects.

Best practice guide

Download best practise guide

Energy Targets and Affordability in Scotland and Northern Ireland

Start Date March 2006
Completion Date October 2006
Grant Holders: Energy Audit Company
Main Contact Bill Wilkinson
Email: bwilkinson@energyaudit.co.uk

Summary

The project will build on the work described in Energy Audit Company’s article SAP Targets and Affordability (Energy Action, Issue No. 96, July 2005), and arrive at a simple easy to use tool to help social housing providers in Scotland and Northern Ireland identify homes that are energy inefficient and set targets for their improvement to ensure all homes are capable of delivering affordable energy. The targets will use NHER and SAP and will allow comparison with similar work in England and Wales.

Final report

Download report

SAP Targets and Affordability

Start Date February 2006
Completion Date October 2006
Grant Holders: Energy Audit Company
Main Contact Bill Wilkinson
Email: bwilkinson@energyaudit.co.uk

Summary

The project will build on the work described in Energy Audit Company’s article SAP Targets and Affordability” (Energy Action, Issue No.96, July 2005), and arrive at a simple easy to use tool to help social housing providers in England and Wales identify homes that are energy inefficient and set targets for their improvement to ensure all homes are capable of delivering affordable energy. The work will examine the information currently available to housing professionals and its accuracy and consider how SAP targets can be set that allow for rising fuel prices. Regional seminars will be held as part of the dissemination of results.

Final report

Download report

Advice into Action – An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Energy Advice to Low-Income Households

Start Date 1998
Grant Holders: Energy Inform Ltd in Association with Catrin Maby and the Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford
Main Contact Eagact@aol.com

Summary

This report reviews the work to date on the evaluation of the effectiveness of energy advice with specific emphasis on low-income households. The context for the research has been the accepted need to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the UK and to improve the living conditions of households which suffer from fuel poverty.

Making Cold Homes Warmer: The Effect of Energy Efficiency Improvements In Low-Income Homes

Start Date NULL
Completion Date 1997
Grant Holders: Environmental Change Unit, University of Oxford
Main Contact Eagact@aol.com

Summary

The primary aim of this study was to analyse the significance of household temperature in determining the amount of potential energy savings taken back in the form of an increase in the comfort temperature following energy efficiency improvements. If the dual goals of energy conservation and affordable warmth for low-income households are to be attained, the nature of take back must be more thoroughly understood so that the full benefit of energy efficiency measures can be assessed along with carbon/energy savings. This research report examines the results of a number of monitored energy efficiency projects undertaken in Britain over the past 20 years to try to determine the most important influences on temperature take back.