Another heating season has started, and this island with its mild maritime climate is bracing for another season of needless suffering and excess winter deaths, easily avoidable with simple measures like proper loft hatch insulation, cutting out a large cold bridge and nasty draught from many homes. Whether you had any loft insulation done or not, in all likelihood – because in all likelihood, if the loft has been insulated with current standards, there will be a soggy plastic bag stapled to your hatch, if anything. It’ll cause condensation and mould, while not keeping any significant amounts heat from escaping to the atmosphere.
Now there is a better solution, yet domestic energy retrofit is no humanitarian effort and making people more comfortable and healthier seems to be a mere side-effect. Making it a market for private finance with the Green Deal has turned out to be an ill-conceived idea. Because you cannot, or should not, commercialise wellbeing. We seem to recognise this with the NHS, though this too is privatised progressively from the inside out.
Excessively cold homes cost the NHS £1.4bn every year. Every £1 spent on energy efficiency improvements in fuel poor households saves the NHS 42p – see these and other pretty impressive stats summarised by Chris Jofeh on thoughts.arup.com. Here’s another one: cambridge econometrics estimate in their report commissioned by the Energy Bill Revolution, that improving the energy efficiency in homes on low-incomes will return £3.20 in raised GDP, a fantastic return on investment. This ought to be a no-brainer.
Though not to turn these wonderful benefits into utopian dreams, these savings and improvements to health and wellbeing have to perform as predicted/modelled, which unfortunately they do not if you leave gaping holes in the tea cosy. Proper loft hatch insulation should be part of the solution.