Every TreeHugger knows that it’s pretty hard for a leaky house to be a green one. Yet how can we get the average homeowner to insulate their walls with hemp or recycled paper [Aside from suggesting they look at our guide on How to Green Your Heating of course]? Well, if they are residents of London, it seems they can now take advantage of a heavily discounted scheme to provide high-tech consultations on the energy efficiency and carbon footprint of their homes. Subsidised by the London Development Authority, the Green Homes Concierge Service uses electronic measuring devices, thermal cameras and state-of-the-art computer software to give home owners a complete energy scorecard for their property. The Guardian recently tested it out, and were more than impressed by the results:
Geoff calculates, for instance, that were I to double-glaze my rattling sash windows I could save £42 a year on heating bills, and reduce my CO2 emissions by 2.75% a year. Not bad, but simply by having low-energy light bulbs throughout the house I would save £17 a year and 1.21% of my carbon. The big winner for me, though, would be installing internal insulation. Adding insulated plaster-board or a flexible thermal wall lining (like 60% of inner London houses, mine was built without cavity walls) could save me up to £154 a year on heating bills and reduce my CO2 emissions by 28.93%. Not to mention - thrilling prospect! - making the house very much warmer.
"It's meant to be encouraging rather than depressing," says Lex. "The idea is that people see that a little that they can do makes a difference. The highest proportion of all the different sources of carbon dioxide is the home, and people don't realise how easily they are able to do something about that."
Encouragingly, while the service is only currently available in London, the folks from Green Homes Concierge Service also seem quietly confident that a similar scheme will be rolled out across the country.