Energy for everyone

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Welcome to the Energy for Everyone, a place where the whole community can discuss how to heat and power your homes and businesses in the most energy efficient way, whilst helping to save you money and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

This space is here to share advice and guidance, from small steps you can take at no or little cost to larger projects, such as switching to a new renewable energy source to power your home or business. Together, these actions will help the borough to transition to more sustainable energy options, providing us all with a sustainable future.

Welcome to the Energy for Everyone, a place where the whole community can discuss how to heat and power your homes and businesses in the most energy efficient way, whilst helping to save you money and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

This space is here to share advice and guidance, from small steps you can take at no or little cost to larger projects, such as switching to a new renewable energy source to power your home or business. Together, these actions will help the borough to transition to more sustainable energy options, providing us all with a sustainable future.

  • Tips and advice

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    The below articles include tips and advice to help you reduce your energy use and provide you with information about energy saving and sustainable measures that can be made in your home, business or organisation.

  • Green Doctor - helping residents to stay warm and well, tackling energy bills during the cost of living crisis

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    Green Doctors offer free, impartial advice to help people take control of their bills, save energy in the home and access other services and initiatives available. We work with public and private partners to ensure support reaches those who need it most in local communities.

    Our support is available to a wide range of people, many of whom are struggling for the first time so don’t be shy about reaching out for help. In the UK, changes to energy prices and ongoing financial pressures as a result of the cost of living crisis has left many people finding it hard to heat their homes. If you or someone you know are worried about energy and water bills, then we might be able to help.

    Some of the reasons people ask for help are:

    • struggling to pay energy bills
    • finding it hard to manage fuel and water debt
    • worrying about keeping warm or choosing between eating and heating
    • feeling that the home is cold, damp or draughty
    • Have a health condition affected by the cold such as respiratory problems and mental ill health.

    Our support includes the installation of small energy saving measures such as draughtproofing and radiator foils, help with boiler and heating controls, smart meters, water meters, fuel and water debt, registration on suppliers Priority Services Register, grants, behavioural change advice, referrals for free gas safety checks and financial assistance where available.

    The scheme is open to residents across Cheshire West and Chester with a focus on families and individuals who:

    • have a low household income
    • are living with debt
    • are aged over 65
    • are living with a health condition affected by the cold
    • are living with mental illness
    • are living with dementia
    • have a disability
    • are young people and families containing children under the age of 5
    • are pregnant
    • are in emergency accommodation
    • are living in poor housing conditions.

    To find out more about our service please visit link)

    Phone: 0330 1740 863

  • Home upgrade grant for properties not heated by mains gas

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    The Home Upgrade Grant scheme is available to eligible residents to help improve the energy efficiency of homes, lower energy costs and reduce carbon emissions. The grant is available to properties that are not heated by mains gas and have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of Band D, E, F or G. If your property does not have a current EPC and you qualify for the grant, we will arrange for one to be carried out for you.

    Examples of improvements that can be made to your home:

    • solid wall insulation (internal or external)
    • cavity wall insulation
    • loft, room-in-roof and flat roof insulation
    • under-floor insulation
    • air source heat pump
    • solar thermal for hot water
    • solar panels for electricity generation
    • replacement high heat retention electric storage heaters
    • heating controls
    • external door and window upgrades (single glazing replacements - only in conjunction with other improvements).

    Please note that the offer of any improvements is subject to a survey of your property.

    The improvements must increase your Energy Performance Band by at least 2 bands to qualify. For example, if your home is currently an EPC Band F or G it will need to reach EPC Band D, and if your property is currently EPC Band D or E it should reach Band C or above with the planned improvements.

    Apply for a Home Upgrade Grant

    Typically, the main heating source for eligible properties will be electric, LPG, oil or solid fuel. You will still qualify if your property has a mains-gas supply for cooking purposes and you meet all other criteria.

    To qualify, you must be a homeowner or private tenant and meet one of the following income criteria:

    • you receive an income related benefit (for example, Universal Credit, Pension Credit Guarantee, Council Tax Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Tax Credits)
    • your total combined annual household income before tax, National Insurance and other deductions is no more than £31,000
    • your total combined annual household income before tax, National Insurance and other deductions is no more than £20,000 after your housing costs have been deducted (by housing costs, we mean mortgage payments, rent payments and Council Tax)

    When we calculate your household income, we will ignore any disability benefits (such as Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance) so this will not count towards your household income.

    All energy efficiency improvements are fully funded for qualifying homeowners. Eligible private tenants can apply with their landlord’s approval. In the case of a tenanted property the landlord is required to make a minimum one-third contribution.

    Apply for a Home Upgrade Grant

  • Busting some of the myths around Solar PV systems

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    As more people are looking at options to save money and use sustainable sources of energy to power their home, solar panels have emerged as one of the leading solutions that provide a source of clean and renewable power.

    Image of solar panels on a roof
    There are lots of companies offering solar photovoltaic (PV)systems, but there are also a lot of myths and misconceptions which can cause confusion around this renewable technology.

    Below are some of the common myths and the reality about solar panels.

    Myth: Solar panels don’t work well in cloudy or rainy weather and require constant sunlight to be effective

    Reality: Solar panels can generate electricity even on cloudy days. While their efficiency may be slightly reduced, they still produce power when the sun isn’t shining bright. They can generate electricity from diffused sunlight, which is light that has been scattered by particles in the atmosphere such as rain clouds before reaching the earth. This makes solar panels a viable option in regions with varying weather patterns, such as the UK. Rain can even help by cleaning the panels and improving their performance. Read Solar Together’s blog on this for more information.

    Myth: Solar panels are expensive

    Reality: The cost of solar panels has significantly decreased over the years. In a recent article on the Which? Website, the average solar panel system of 3.5kWp (kilowatt peak) will cost around £5,500 to install, according to estimates from the Energy Saving Trust.

    The exact cost will vary, depending on the size of your home and how much energy you want to produce. Last year, the Council partnered with Solar Together, a group buying scheme, to offer residents in west Cheshire the opportunity to receive a competitive quote from a pre-vetted installer. The scheme is currently closed for new applicants, but you can register your interest and you’ll be informed if it opens for applicants in the future.

    Myth: Solar panel production is harmful to the environment

    Reality: While there is an environmental impact associated with manufacturing solar panels, the overall life cycle emissions are much lower compared to traditional energy sources, such as those generated by fossil fuels. The ongoing improvements in manufacturing processes are reducing their environmental footprint further and most solar waste is already recyclable, with a growing recycling industry developing around the recovery of materials for reuse. Read more about this topic in this Forbes article.

    Myth: Solar panels require excessive maintenance

    Reality: Solar panels are relatively low-maintenance. It is not necessary to clean your solar PV system, unless in areas of heavy leaf fall or bird activity, as there is regular rainfall all year round that does the cleaning for you. Monitoring the output of your solar panels will tell you if performance is dropping and a clean may be required. If you do wish to clean your solar panels use only lukewarm water and do not use any household cleaning products as they can damage your panels. If in doubt, ask a professional cleaner for their services. Most modern systems come with warranties and are designed to withstand various weather conditions.

    Myth: Solar panels are unattractive and bulky
    Reality: Solar panel designs have evolved, and there are sleek and more visually appealing options available. Some can even be integrated into building materials, such as in the tiles of your roof, making them a seamless part of the architecture.

    Myth: Solar panels are not powerful enough to meet a property’s energy needs

    Reality: Advances in solar technology have significantly increased the efficiency of solar panels. When properly sized and installed, solar systems can generate enough power to meet the energy needs of many homes and businesses. Using a local Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) installer will ensure they can advise on the correct type of system that will work for your households needs. The Centre for Sustainable Energy has a useful checklist of things to ask your installer in this article.

    If you’d like to do more research on the subject the below articles are a good starting point:

  • Debunking common myths about Air Source Heat Pumps

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    As we look for more sustainable and efficient heating solutions for our homes and businesses, air source heat pumps (ASHPs) are starting to be talked about more and more. There are 19.3 million heat pumps in Europe alone and, with the UK government’s Boiler Upgrade Scheme knocking £7,500 off the price of heat pumps, they’re popularity is starting to grow here.

    Picture of two people looking at an air source heat pump on side of building
    However, misconceptions and myths often cloud the understanding of these systems. Below we debunk some common myths to shed light on the reality of air source heat pumps.

    • Myth: Air Source Heat Pumps are ineffective in cold climates.
      Reality: Modern ASHPs are designed to operate efficiently even in colder temperatures. They can extract heat from the air, even in sub-zero conditions, making them suitable for a wide range of climates. Two-thirds of households in Norway have a heat pump, more than anywhere else in the world.

    • Myth: ASHPs are noisy.
      Reality: While early models may have been noisier, advancements in technology have led to quieter systems. Many ASHPs today operate at noise levels comparable to traditional heating systems or as loud as a refrigerator.

    • Myth: ASHPs consume more energy than they save.
      Reality: ASHPs are known for their high efficiency. They can provide up to three units of heat for every unit of electricity they consume, making them a cost-effective and energy-efficient heating option.

    • Myth: Installation costs are prohibitive.
      Reality: While the initial cost of installing an ASHP may be higher than traditional systems, government incentives and the long-term energy savings can offset this. The return on investment makes them financially viable in the long run. We’d recommend getting a number of quotes from an MCS certified installer. Another option to keep the costs of running an air source heat pump down is to balance it with investment in solar PV systems. It is also worth making sure your property is well insulated before you have one installed so you aren’t wasting any of the heat that is generated.

    • Myth: ASHPs require constant maintenance.
      Reality: ASHPs generally require minimal maintenance. Regular checks, such as cleaning filters and ensuring proper airflow, are usually sufficient to keep the system running smoothly.

    • Myth: ASHPs only work for heating.
      Reality: Many modern ASHPs are designed for both heating and cooling. They can provide efficient air conditioning during warmer months, offering a year-round solution.

    • Myth: ASHPs are unsightly.
      Reality: ASHPs come in various designs, and some models can be discreetly integrated into the architecture of a home or business. They don't have to be an eyesore.

    For further information on Air Source Heat pumps visit the following websites.

    A guide to air source heat pumps - Energy Saving Trust

    Air Source Heat Pumps Explained - Which?

    Air Source Heat Pumps: The Ultimate Guide to the Pros & Cons | Homebuilding

  • New app available to help you save money on your energy bills

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    The Council has teamed up with the Energy Saving Trust to bring you an app that will give you advice on how to use less energy in your home and save money.

    person looking at phone

    The app which is available to download from both Apple and android app stores is simple and easy to use.

    It takes you on a journey of a typical home. Simply click on the different rooms within the home, such as a bedroom or kitchen and you will be prompted to answer yes or no to certain questions relating to electrical items within that room – things such as ‘Do you turn off lights every time you leave a room?’ If the answer is No, then it will tell you what potential financial saving you could make if you change what you currently do.

    Did you know:
    • that by turning lights off when you don’t need them you will save around £25 a year on your energy bill

    • if you line dry your clothes in the summer months instead of using a tumble dryer you could save £60 each year

    • if you replace your showerhead with a water efficient one it can save you around £35 off your yearly gas bill.

    Once you have completed your tour of the rooms in the house, the app will tell you the total potential saving you could make by making a few minor changes. You can also ask for a report that shows you where you could save energy and money.

    Download the app today by searching CWAC: Energy Advice Tool and start saving money as well as protecting the planet.

  • Home energy – reducing emissions and saving money

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    With the weather turning colder, many of us are thinking of ways to be more efficient during the winter months.

    There are many things we can do at home to reduce our energy use and bills, in turn making our living spaces more climate friendly in terms of energy. The energy-saving ideas included here are ones we could all do quickly and easily, whether our homes are owned or rented.

    Switch off standby

    The Energy Saving Trust says we can save an average of around £30 a year by turning all our home appliances off standby mode. It might be convenient, but keeping items on standby causes unnecessary emissions and wastes energy. Fully turning off just one LCD TV for 18 hours a day will save about 5kg CO2 a year. For many appliances, switching off at the plug will make no difference to their programming, but it’s worth checking if some items like digital TV recorders need to be left plugged in to keep their recording data.

    Don’t leave the lights on

    Turn off lights in rooms that you aren’t using and replace light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs. LED (Light Emitting Diode) light bulbs can save around 90 per cent of lighting energy costs compared to use incandescent bulbs.

    Hang out your washing

    Hanging the washing out instead of using the tumble drier will save about 153kg CO2 a year and £52, based on 150 cycles annually. If it’s not dry enough or there is no space to hang washing outside, air drying in the home is an option if it can be placed it in a well-ventilated area to prevent mould.

    Put on your favourite jumper

    If we all turned the thermostat down by one degree throughout the year, we could make a financial saving of around £80 and save 320kg of CO2 emissions. Find out about the home energy help available to eligible residents in west Cheshire.

    Boil what you need

    Only boiling the amount of water for a hot drink will save an average of 72kg CO2 a year - that's £23 per annum. Tea experts advise that the perfect cup of tea needs freshly drawn water, so re-boiling water is damaging your cuppa as well as using up energy and creating emissions you could save.

    Spend less time in the shower

    Spending one minute less in the shower can save 23kg CO2 and £8 a year (based on one shower a day and a 9kW shower). If a four-person household replaces an inefficient shower head with a water efficient one, they could save energy emissions and around £70 a year off gas bills and around £115 a year off water bills (if they have a water meter).

    Share your own tips on Climate Emergency Inspire hub

    If there are other actions you are taking to reduce your energy use, please share your tips and stories on the 'Your energy action' section of the Energy for Everyone site. Your information might just inspire others to make a change that will save them money and reduce their households carbon footprint.

    Information taken from and

    Every effort has been made to that ensure the information used in all climate emergency articles is accurate. All information used to inform the articles has been taken from reputable sources and those sources are given at the end of each article. Data wil, however, change over time and some information across the internet and printed matters can be contradictory. If you have any questions or comments about any articles, please submit them below the article.

  • Budget-friendly energy saving measures for your home

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    More of us are mindful of the energy we are using in our homes and businesses, especially since energy costs increased significantly over the last year or so. Finding ways to save energy and reduce costs has become more important for many of us, which in turn is helping to reduce our households carbon emissions.

    Fortunately, there are several wallet-friendly measures you can implement in your home and business to make a positive impact on both the planet and your finances.

    1. Seal the leaks: Gaps and cracks in doors and windows can lead to significant energy loss. Invest in weatherstripping and caulk to seal these gaps. This simple step can prevent draughts, keeping your home warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. You could also use a simple draught excluder against the base of doors. The Get Energy Savvy website has some useful guides on doing this and the Energy Saving Trust website has a list of different areas in your home you can draught proof .

    2. Upgrade to LED bulbs: Replace incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. These bulbs, which on average cost between £2 and £10 per pack, use less energy, last longer, and can significantly reduce electricity bills over time.

    3. Unplug electronics: Many electronic devices continue to use power even when turned off, contributing to "phantom" or standby energy usage. Unplug chargers, appliances, and electronics when not in use to cut down on this hidden energy consumption.

    4. Smart thermostats: Invest in a smart thermostat to make the most of your heating. A programmable thermostat allows you to set specific temperatures for different times of the day, minimising energy use when it is not needed.

    5. Maximise natural light: Take advantage of natural light during the day to reduce reliance on artificial lighting. Keep curtains open during the day and close them to help keep out the draughts at dusk.

    6. Insulate your home: Proper insulation can significantly impact your home's energy efficiency. Insulate attics, walls, and floors to minimise heat transfer, keeping your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer without overtaxing your heating or cooling systems. You can get insultation from all good DIY stores with prices starting at around £22 for a roll.

    7. Use energy-efficient appliances: When it's time to replace old appliances, opt for energy-efficient models with energy labels. These appliances are designed to consume less energy, contributing to lower utility bills over time. The Energy Saving Trust has a good article on the different energy ratings of appliances.

    8. Wash clothes at a lower temperature: Heating water for laundry can use a lot of energy. Switching to cold water for washing clothes not only conserves energy but also helps preserve the colours and fabrics of your clothing. According to the Energy Saving Trust washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than higher temperatures will save around 40% of the energy used each year. Modern washing powders and detergents work just as effectively at lower temperatures.

    9. Limit hot water usage: Install low-flow taps and showerheads to reduce the amount of hot water you are using. If you have a hot water tank, consider insulating it to help retain heat, minimising the need for frequent reheating.

    10. Do an energy audit: Conduct regular energy audits to identify how much energy you use and in what areas of your home and business. The Act On Energy website has a guide on how to do this.

    Small changes and adjustments add up and, by incorporating some of the suggestions in this article, you could reduce your carbon and also enjoy the financial benefits of a more energy-efficient home or business.

  • Energy efficient lighting

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    Updating your lighting can be an easy win to help you lower your electricity bills and your household’s carbon footprint.

    According to the Energy Saving Trust, lighting makes up 11 per cent of the average UK household electricity consumption, so spending some time making some small changes now could save you in the long run.

    The traditional or incandescent lights bulbs are particularly inefficient and only about five per cent of the electricity they use converts into visible light. Switching one 100 watt incandescent bulb to a Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulb could save you up to £15 per bulb per year.

    Halogen light bulbs are also fairly inefficient and switching a 50 watt halogen bulb could save you up to £6 per bulb.

    Lots of experts now recommend that households should consider installing LED bulbs in the home. LEDs use just a fraction of electricity, compared to incandescent or halogen bulbs, and typically cost only around 1p to run for four hours. They have come a long way since they were first introduced and now are much brighter than they used to be.

    Updating your lighting is fairly inexpensive and is a simple switch you can make yourself, however if not confident please seek advice. If you can afford to, it is worth making the switch straightaway, rather than waiting for your old light bulbs to run out, so that you start making those savings on your electricity bill straight away. Alternatively, plan to buy a few bulbs every month or two to spread the cost.

    There are several guides on choosing the right low energy light bulbs to help you get started.

    Other things you can do to reduce your lighting bill

    • Turn the lights off in rooms you’re not using.
    • Use light rather than dark lamp shades to help distribute the light more in your room. This will mean you can lower the power of the bulbs you are using or use fewer lights in a room.
    • Use sensors or timers on external lights, so they are only on when they need to be.

  • How to stay cool whilst saving energy

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    As weather patterns are changing and the summers are getting hotter, we can find ourselves turning to fans and air conditioning to keep cool. These can use lots of energy, and add to our household bills. The good news is that there are many things we can do to keep temperatures cool, without using lots of energy.

    Here are some simple tips to reduce the temperature, help you save energy, and keep your household bills down over the summer.

    Keep doors and curtains closed

    Keeping the sun out, keeps the heat out. Close curtains on rooms that face the sun to keep indoor spaces cooler. Shutting doors and curtains stops the flow of hot, humid air from heating your home, as well as blocking sunlight, which helps keep temperatures cooler throughout the day.

    Know when opening windows will cool down your house

    Although opening windows sounds like a quick and easy solution to cool down your house, it can have the opposite effect. If you open windows during hot periods of the day, the indoor temperature will rise to the temperature outdoors. But, having your windows open in the morning and evening will bring cool air in, cooling the indoor temperature.

    Drink plenty of cool drinks

    Having frozen or refrigerated drinks is an easy way to reduce your body temperature. It will keep you feeling refreshed, and make the heat more bearable on hot days. Regular intake of fluids can help to prevent dehydration, which can increase body heat.

    Remember to keep smoothies and fruit juices to a minimum, due to their high sugar content. And limiting alcohol, which can cause dehydration, is another helpful tip.

    Take a quick cool shower

    Taking a quick cool shower can be instantly refreshing, and many people feel reenergised after them.

    Alternatively, use a bowl of cold water and a face cloth to dab your neck and face throughout the day. Or, try freezing a water bottle and using it as a cooling pad when you're really hot.

    Dress appropriately

    Wear loose, breathable clothing, such as cotton - you can move in this fabric more freely, and it can be layered in the cooler evenings. If you're heading out in the day, remember to take a hat to help you keep cool, and prevent burning.

    Use your fan more efficiently

    If the heat gets so hot that you feel you need to turn a fan on, these tips will help you get the most out of it.

    • Put the fan on the ground, tilted upwards. It is cooler lower down, so you’ll get the best effect.
    • Place a bowl of ice in front of the fan - the ice will cool the air as it gets blown across the room.
    • Fans don’t cool a room; they just circulate the air. So, be sure to turn the fan off whenever you aren’t in the room.
    • Power it with renewables if you can. This will really help keep your carbon footprint down.

    Get the most out of your air conditioning

    If you're in an air-conditioned building, make sure you're using the air conditioning effectively by closing the windows, so the cool air produced remains in the room. Air conditioners use a lot of energy, so make sure you turn it off when you aren’t using the room it is cooling. Keeping the windows and curtains closed in that room will also help to keep the room cool for as long as possible.

    Keep cool when out driving

    If you're driving slowly, as you would through a town or built-up area, opening windows will keep you cool. It's also good to do this when you're first moving off - it will help to lose the worst of the heat. But, when you're going faster, such as on a motorway, the wind resistance created by an open window can use more fuel than running the car's air conditioning. When parked up, try to pick a shady spot or pop a windscreen sun shade on your dashboard to reflect the sun’s heat, and pull down any window sun shades.

    Hopefully, these tips will provide some relief during hot periods this summer. Remember to take breaks throughout the day and get outside, in the shade when you can, to enjoy any outdoor breeze there may be.

    During heat waves and hot periods, remember to check on more vulnerable members of your family, friends and neighbours, such as babies, children and older people, to make sure they are comfortable and well hydrated. Visit the NHS website(External link) for more tips on how to cope in hot weather.

    You can find some helpful information on HSE's website, relating to temperature(External link), heat stress(External link), managing workplace temperature(External link), and thermal comfort(External link).

    Also, the UK Health Security agency has issued a poster, which shows how you can Beat the heat(External link), at a glance.

    Information sources:

    Every effort has been made to ensure the information used in all climate emergency articles is accurate. Information used to inform the articles has been taken from reputable sources, and those sources are given at the end of each article.

    We are aware, however, that data will change over time and that some information across the internet and printed matters can be contradictory. If you have any questions or comments about this article, please submit them below.