1990s detached house, South Croydon

Vaughan

Vaughan completed his plans to retrofit in 2021, using Ecofurb to advise on which measures to install and to help him find a heat pump and loft insulation installers.

Since having insulation and a heat pump installed, he’s recorded savings of around £1.4k per year on energy bills at current tariffs, and finds that the temperature around the home feels more even and comfortable.

He had started his retrofit journey in 2006, motivated by a trip to Norway, when he and his wife became even more interested and concerned about our environment after seeing an exhibition about the impact of climate change. They began by upgrading double glazed windows and doors, adding solar panels, and replacing lights with LEDs.

WORKING WITH ECOFURB:

In 2021, Vaughan wanted to go step further and remove the need for gas entirely.

Being aware of the problems some neighbours had experienced with contractors, or with companies that folded, he looked for a route to installation that would take away the guesswork.

“ You don’t have to vet contractors and think ‘well are they actually any good?’”

First, we worked with Vaughan to create an Ecofurb Plan to show which options best suited his house, the likely costs as well as carbon and fuel bill savings.

Vaughan already knew he wanted to get off gas. Heat pumps work best in well-insulated homes. Vaughan’s house had insulated cavity walls and double glazing already. He had some loft insulation in place, and his Ecofurb Coordinator, Ian, advised adding to this.

Ecofurb then connected Vaughan to two firms who are members of our cooperative, to look after the loft and heat pump installs.

Vaughan referred to Ecofurb as a trusted friend of the customer, someone who can offer answers and discussion without any feeling that the responses might be steered by a contractor’s preferences and commercial terms.

“Ecofurb I think offers a derisking process… derisking your investment. ”

Vaughan’s experience of the installations was free of problems and he was full of praise for the contractors we introduced him to, as being knowledgeable and efficient.

Vaughan worked with the heat pump contractors to specify an installation to suit his home. In his case they developed a scheme that did not result in replacing the radiators or modifying the heating pipework which meant less disruption. They decided to include a unit to divert outgoing solar-generated electricity to heat the water.

WORK CARRIED OUT

  • Heat pump for space heating and heating water
  • Solar export divert to heat water
  • Loft insulation

VAUGHAN’S EXPERIENCE OF HEATING WITH AN AIR SOURCE HEAT PUMP:

We caught up with Vaughan in March 2023, 15 months and two winters after the installation 

Have there been any problems?

The heat pump has operated smoothly and was serviced after one year in use with no issues identified. 

Overall the heat and hot water generation has been reliable, reaching the target temperature and with hot water always available. 

During the short spell of exceptionally cold weather in December 2022, when the outside temperature never exceeded 0ºC and fell well below that, the thermostat read 1 to 1.5 ºC below the set target. But this has been the exception, and could well be the same with a gas system.

What is your experience of a heat pump compared to a gas boiler?

Vaughan is delighted with the change and told us that

  • the whole house feels more evenly heated 
  • the house is quieter with less noise from circulating pumps and the boiler (most of the heat pump is located outside)
  • his energy bills have dropped 

He commented that general comfort has increased with the house feeling evenly heated throughout and with less noise from the heating systems. 

Although his primary motivation for installing a heat pump was the carbon savings, he is also pleased to see that his heat pump is saving him money year on year. Interested to see what difference the system would make to his bills in practice, Vaughan has calculated that he is saving around £1.4k per year at current tariffs.

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