Marie wanted to improve the energy efficiency of her 1850s home and make sure she was doing her bit for the environment. Our Futureproof team developed a retrofit plan for her home and helped Marie with each step of her retrofit journey. Here’s her story.

‘I’d wanted to ‘green my house’ for a while and called Futureproof after my friend suggested I look them up online. At this point, I’d done my research and received a few quotes for solar PV and an electric vehicle charging point. I was also keen to replace my old gas boiler with a lower carbon alternative. I wanted to get this project rolling for years but my house is quite old and I hadn’t known where to start. It’s not like there’s a standard plan you can just pick up, because every home is unique – people use them differently and will need different measures. The support from Futureproof was what finally got things moving.

I needed to look at all my options to make sure I commissioned the right work in the correct order. There’s no point installing solar panels if you need to replace the roof first. Futureproof helped me look at a whole-house picture. My home is an end-of-terrace house with four storeys. It’s pretty old, built in 1854, with a gas boiler and thick solid stone walls. The small loft was partially insulated, but it is difficult to get to so it lost a lot of heat.

I had an initial conversation with a retrofit advisor who gave me advice about how my family and I can save energy. For example, my kids always take ages in the shower so keeping an eye on our energy consumption using a smart meter can really help. When I explained I wanted to replace the gas boiler, the Futureproof team gave me factsheets on different boilers and heat incentives helping me get my head around my options. I really wasn’t surprised to hear my home wasn’t very energy efficient, and after our call, my advisor arranged a more detailed survey to find the best options.

After the survey, I received a retrofit report filled with recommendations and suggestions to begin my home retrofit journey. I needed to take a ‘fabric first’ approach and install loft and wall insulations and draughtproofing to improve the energy efficiency of my home. My advisor explained that starting with insulation would make sure any future installations or work would be correctly sized. Then, if insulation levels improved, I could look at other installations like Solar PV, electric vehicle charging port and a heating alternative.

Although I was keen to install more exciting measures, like solar PV and electric vehicle charging (I was about to upgrade to an electric car), I knew it was important to follow the retrofit plan bespoke to my home. By improving the fabric of the property first I know it’s well insulated and that I can fit a heat pump in the future. The report recommended insulating the roof as a priority because up to 25% of heat from the house is lost through the roof.

Internal wall insulation is another great option for my home, which again helps with heat loss through the fabric of the building. My Futureproof advisor recommended adding extractor fans in the bathroom to manage moisture levels and reduce the likelihood of developing damp, along with a thermally efficient timber front door at the same time. Combining work helps to limit the disruption caused by implementing these measures. The Futureproof team made starting this work really easy for me by providing contact details of local contractors who can carry out the necessary work. I insulated my house in February of last year.

Once the insulation work was in process, I started looking into other energy-saving measures in more detail. My advisor and I discussed where my solar PV and charging port could go, either on the roof or in the garden. Solar PV is part of the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG), where suppliers pay for low-carbon electricity exported back to the National Grid. Each energy supplier sets its own rates, so it’s important I pick the right one. My advisor supported me with the best information to understand how to compare costs and get the best deal. Then, they referred me to local contractors who could fit solar PV for me and arranged a survey. I’m so pleased with the panels I had fitted last May.

As for a lower-carbon alternative to my gas boiler, an air source heat pump was recommended in my retrofit report. My advisor told me about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) (which is being replaced by the Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS) in Spring 2022), where renewable heat users can receive quarterly payments over seven years. Again, the Futureproof team gave me details of contractors for future installation.

Throughout this process, my advisor was very helpful – I’m not sure I could have done it all without them. The retrofit report could have been overwhelming – there is a lot of detail – but my advisor kept in regular contact and sent me resources so I could make informed decisions. I couldn’t plan without considering all aspects of my home, and the report and advice I received helped me do just that. I’m delighted with where my home is now, and the support and contacts provided by Futureproof have been essential in getting to this point – so thank you!’

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