Fergal McGirl - Conservation architect dublin

ideal home show top home energy saving tips

by fmgarchitects.

Fergal was speaking at the Home Energy Show area of the Ideal Home Show at the RDS, Dublin on the bank holiday weekend 26 – 29th October with Gerry Duffy of Eurotech and Simon Jones of Aereco. He gave a presentation on “Insulations Made Simple” and a trade masterclass on Part L (Energy Conservation) 2011 Compliance. Here is a list of  top home energy saving tips that anyone considering a renovation or extension should consider…


Some upgrades have a faster payback and impact on your fuel bills than others. Prioritise the “low hanging fruit” such as boiler and controls upgrade or attic insulation before other measures.



Attics should be insulated with at least 300mm of fibre insulation or equivalent. If storage is required, consider joisting over the existing ceiling timbers to achieve this depth or use a proprietary insulated attic decking board. Don’t forget to insulate and draught proof the hatch.



Consider triple glazing north facing windows where maximum heat loss occurs. Triple glazing reduces solar gain – double glazing is usually adequate to south facing facades. Ask the supplier for test certificates to ensure that the stated performance of the windows is correct. Consider the frames also – there can be more heat loss through the frame than the glazing in modern high performance windows.



Heating accounts for typically 60% of your energy bills. The whole house does not have to be heated to the same temperature – a lower temperature setting than living areas is adequate in bedrooms. If your heating system is not zoned, thermostatic radiator valves to bedrooms are a good investment.



Hot water accounts for approximately 25% of domestic home energy use. Set hot water thermostats to 60 degrees which is adequate for domestic use. Ensure cylinders and exposed pipework are adequately insulated. It is more efficient and cheaper to heat hot water with gas or oil than electricity – check if your system is zoned to allow separate summertime hot water heating from your boiler. Consider zoning & optimizing the hot water system with time and temperature controls heated by the boiler before considering solar hot water systems.



An upgrade to low energy lighting is warranted if the lighting is used for more than four hours per day. Alternatively consider low energy task or background lighting to retrofitting new lamps.



Seek a reputable company who will guarantee the running costs of the system and service the system in the future. If you do not want to commit to a renewable heating system at this stage, consider installing a buffer tank/thermal store that will allow for heat inputs from alternative systems in the future.



Simple & cheap DIY measures can make a difference: draughtproofing, chimney balloons to unused flues, top up attic insulation, low energy bulbs & an aerated shower head.



A typical kitchen extension will significantly increase the external heat loss area of the house. Ensure that a new build is insulated and draught proofed to the highest standard so that the energy demand of the house is not significantly increased.



Monitor your fuel and electricity bills to measure energy savings. An electricity monitor can be bought in DIY stores to help identify high consumption appliances and potential savings.

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