Passivhaus thermogram gedaemmt ungedaemmtOne of the cheapest ways to reduce the energy we use domestically is to have efficient insulation in all houses and it’s astonishing that the Government has not upgraded building regulations for new houses to a much higher standard. In addition, a major barrier to retrofitting older properties is the lack of trained contractors; the withdrawal of the Green Deal means many owners and contractors who would have taken action independently have been discouraged from pursuing energy efficiency. The Government should be training everyone in the construction industry about the importance of good airtightness and insulation. However, unless sufficient funds and grants (not loans) are available, the country will continue to build substandard houses and fail to insulate in a policy of misguided penny pinching, as high quality insulation is what saves money and minimises carbon emissions.

The good news is that lots of people want to take action and become more informed and many of our members are paving the way. To help with this, we plan to run an Energy Fair for April, 2022 to showcase what is possible in terms of insulation, solar, heat pumps and wind power. Before the event we’ll be inviting local firms who can help make the Moorlands sustainable, so if you have any contacts with firms who can help please let us know.
As we expect this to be a weekend event and exhibitors coming from a distance might like to sample some of Leek’s wonderful pubs, offers of accommodation for Saturday night would be very welcome. Since we hope to have plenty of volunteers to make this a substantial event, Saturday night could prove to be a convivial and synergistic event that’s supremely enjoyable for all.

One of the displays we plan to have at the fair is a set of thermal images to show the effectiveness of good insulation in minimising heat loss. With this in mind, we’ve booked a thermal camera for a fortnight, starting on Fri 28th January, so that MCA members can get thermal images of their houses to include in the display or just for their own information. Do let me know if you would like to take part in this.
Photo Credit: Passivhaus Institut, Passivhaus thermogram gedaemmt ungedaemmt, CC BY-SA 3.0. The image compares the heat loss for a traditional building (to the left) with that for a building insulated to PassiveHouse standards.

We’re aware that some of our members have already made great strides towards making their homes carbon-neutral and one that we already know about, Vince Cooper, will be showcasing what he's done in the run-up to The Great Big Green Weekend. But we’re sure there are plenty of others and we’d love to hear from you if you are one. I’m still struggling to retrofit my own rather elderly house and it would be great for us all to share our knowledge and experience. There will be more information about the fair in the next newsletter but if you‘d like to volunteer to help or get in touch for any other reason, please e-mail me via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Solar Farm
You may have seen that a planning application has been made recently for a small solar farm near Bagnall and Cheddleton. MCA and several of our members have submitted comments in support of this, as it’s one of the few viable options for renewable energy installations in the Moorlands. However it’s disappointing that some Parish councillors feel their role is to prevent renewable energy schemes rather than to make positive proposals that might contribute to a carbon-neutral parish. It’s possible they mistakenly believe that the Government, Staffordshire County Council or SMDC are doing something about the Climate Emergency but, as we know, there is little sign of Action yet. Fortunately there are some councillors who support the solar farm, to their credit, and we applaud them for doing so.

Nigel Williams
August 2021