My Experience of a Home Energy Survey

I am in the process of selling my current house and buying a new house (the new house is actually an old pub). I arranged for an energy survey as stipulated in the conditions of the Home Information Pack.

The chap who came to do the Energy Survey was very nice, but pursuing a largely pointless, misleading and somewhat ridiculous career. He reported that 9% of my light bulbs were energy efficient and this was poor. He actually failed to differentiate between the 50 watt halogen bulbs in some rooms and the 15 watt ones in others, or even notice that the 50 watt ones had LCD bulbs. But I cannot complain or change this without spending another £300 on having the whole survey done again. And anyway, it is debatable whether the potential buyers really care enough about this for me to change anything.

Seven of the 14 radiators had thermostatic valves and this was deemed good. If it had been 6 it would not have received a ‘good’ rating. This is an absolute black and white threshold which doesn’t seem to make sense in view of the differences in house sizes.

In fact despite my having: double glazing throughout the house; cavity wall insulation; thermostatic valves on more than 50% of my radiators; loft insulation to a suffocating depth – the energy assessor discounted the insulation I put between ground and second floor floors because he couldn’t see it; an efficient boiler just serviced and of course my 9% efficiency in fixed fitting light bulbs – my house “energy-rated” the same as the similar house next door.

Whilst the house next door is similar, it is only partly double glazed and has about an inch of insulation in some of the roof (I know the neighbours, and he says he can’t afford to have insulation put in and doesn’t qualify for any help because he already has an inadequate smattering of it). The reason? My house is bigger and has more outside walls.

So although I have spent a considerable amount of ‘energy saving’ effort into this house, the leaky, poorly maintained zero effort house next door scores the same . Except of course he has saved all his personal energy in not bothering to do anything to it.

As for my new home – in this instance it might actually have been useful to have had a HIP (Home Information Pack). This Victorian built pub has been empty for at least four years and is a repossession sale, so the current owners (a bank) know absolutely nothing about it. In fact when I contacted them about it they actually denied it was theirs and couldn’t find any record of it anywhere, let alone tell me anything about it or suggest how to save some energy. A roof for instance, might be a start, or replacing the broken windows, or getting some wood in for the range that heats the cottage. Possibly an energy saving light bulb; any advice from the energy assessor would have been welcome…

Harry Kingston

Carbon Counted made a donation of £15 to the charity Solar Aid on behalf of Harry to say thanks for sharing his experiences with our readers.

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