woolly warmersWith the thermometer dropping, we’re all thinking of how to stay warm this winter, while avoiding too much cost and trying to keep our climate footprints low. Easier said than done.

There was a lot of interest at our Energy Day in March, but the reality for many of us who live in old houses is that insulating them to be heat pump ready has a lot of pitfalls. Can we be confident that any work done will avoid the horrors of ‘thermal bridges’ or ‘vapour barriers’ in the wrong place?

It would be nice to know that government was focussing on training large numbers of builders to be accredited in retrofit but so far we’ve been unable to find any in the Moorlands. However, we are aware that some of our members have had work done on their houses or done it themselves, so wonder if setting up a forum to share experiences would be valuable. Do let us know what you think via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In the meantime, we may be able to focus on piecemeal actions...

The Energy Savings Trust has a lot of useful information on house energy efficiency, as well as explaining some of the problems and issues for those considering taking on the work themselves. Videos of the presentations at our Energy Day are also still available. And now that it’s colder outside we’ll be trialling our own thermal camera. Let us know if you would like to be a Guinea pig while we fine-tune our protocol.

Simpler approaches are suggested in a Guardian article on Winterproofing. This includes information on Energy Deals with Suppliers, Heating the Human not the House, Battling Condensation, Smart Thermostats and Energy Efficient Cooking. Another article, Tips for Keeping Energy Bills Down, covers No-cost Tweaks to Home Heating, Draught-proofing and Plugging Unused Chimneys. See also our own detailed article from last year.

Some of these ideas are illustrated in our photo – wool is an excellent insulation material and ideal for putting up chimneys, always assuming the plug is taken down before a fire is lit! Heated clothing is becoming more widely used and the humble draught excluder made a come-back last year, featuring in our Winter Clothes Swap. There’s another chance to make your own at our upcoming Christmas Clothes Swap on Saturday 25 November.

The draught excluder masquerading as dynamite can be unfolded to slide under the base of an internal door, allowing it to be opened and closed without anyone having to get up to replace the ‘snake’, while the colourful hat is a nod in the direction of former MP Edwina Currie, although in our opinion wearing woolly hats indoors should be optional.