With over 20 year industry experience, Martin Cooney is one of the leading experts in the energy efficiency arena in Ireland. Popular topics include; insulation, air testing and sealing, space heating and cooling, water heating, windows, doors and grant advice.
Attic and wall insulation can be inspected in your home. Access to the attic is required to assess the amount and the condition of the insulation. Determining the cavity wall insulation may require a bore scope (small hole drilled in the external cavity to determine the amount of insulation present) or we have default values for cavity wall insulation built at certain periods in the building industry. We can provide independent advice on the most cost effective way to improve insulation levels and well as sourcing suppliers of the relevant products.
The majority of energy costs are associated with space heating. There are many ways to provide room heating or space heating including; oil boiler and pellet boiler with radiators or oil boilers with under floor heating.
Increasing the efficiency of the existing space heating in your home will reduce costs significantly. One method is, called Zoning, requires the installation of thermostats in different areas of the house.
This will allow you control the heat demand in your home. For example, in a two-story house the daytime heating requirements during the cooler months include the living quarters, sitting room or kitchen, by having the house zoned, you control where the heat is needed by turning on the switch or thermostat in this area and leaving it off upstairs. This concept also works in single story houses. These thermostats can also be controlled by timers, later in the evening the heat will come on for example in bedrooms. We will advise you on the most beneficial and cost effective approach for your home.
Water heating can account for between 15-25% of energy consumed in the home depending naturally on the amount of occupants. One simple way of reducing the water heating bill is to separate the hot water and space heating systems. In most houses we have surveyed the water and heating is in one system, when the boiler was on, it was heating both the radiators and the hot water in the tank.
By separating the water and space heating this allows you control heating costs. We also found on our surveys that most cylinders in hot presses are fitted without thermostats. By fitting a thermostat on the cylinder, this will stop the hot water boiling continuously and leaving the cylinder via an expansion pipe in the form of steam. Oil boilers pre 1990 would have a very low efficiency or working rate of 60-65%.
Today oil/gas boilers have an efficiency of 90% and more. It’s against the building regulations to install a boiler under 86% efficiency. By replacing the old boiler, this will considerably reduce the heating costs of the house. It is quite similar to the old and new cars, more miles per gallon or more kilometers per litre in new cars.
Lighting accounts roughly for 11% of a typical residential utility bill or ESB bill, it is worth thinking about ways of reducing this cost. Simple habit changes can help reduce the bill, turn off lights in rooms that are not being used or only half fill kettles when boiling water, turn off the x-box when the children or the adult is finished playing with them, when replacing old bulbs replace them with energy saving bulbs, some of the new 60watts will only use 11 watts(small saving). Outdoor lighting should be fitted with sensors rather than timers. In the long summers evenings it is bright until late in the evening so the lights are not needed. These are just some simple ideas of saving on the energy usage in the home
Windows and Doors
Having your home properly insulated will result in energy saving costs providing both windows and doors are good quality. Poor quality windows and doors will cause serious heat loss. The best way to explain this scenario is, imagine wearing an over coat in the winter months with large holes in it. It keeps parts of the body warm but not the entire body. It is exactly the same in your home. The complete building envelope must be of good quality and structure. This would probably be the most expensive investment in the energy saving assessment that we suggest but also very essential.
Grant Advice and Applications
At the end of the house visit the energy auditor will speak with the home owner and suggest what procedures should be taken to reduce the energy bills. Should the home owner have any questions in relation to the assessment, we would answer any queries with a professional approach bearing in mind the cost of the suggested recommendations. The assessments take on average 40mns to 1hour depending on the size of the building. If you are applying for any of the grant categories mentioned above, we would need to survey the house and issue the home owner with the relevant BER(building energy rating) certificate which lasts for 10 years unless the house is extended. To survey the dwelling we would need access to each room in the house, access to the hot press, heating controls, oil/gas boiler to determine efficiency, and the attic. The recorded information is then calculated in a software package called DEAP (dwelling energy assessment procedure) licensed and controlled by the government body SEAI (sustainable energy association Ireland). Annually we have to sit the SEAI examination to renew our license and we are also audited regularly to show evidence of compliance with the code of practice for BER assessors. Our registration number with the SEAI is 101658
What is assessed in the survey?
- Type and Age of the Dwelling
- External Walls
- Air Permeability – only new dwelling constructed after the 1st July 2008
- Space Heating
- Water Heating
- Heating Controls
- Efficiency of the Boiler
- Attic Insulation
- Orientation –which direction the house is facing
They come in two forms, flat plate and tubes. They should only be fitted on roofs facing south to south west. They will heat the water in the tank and give the home owner hot water during the warm days without switching on the immersion or the gas/oil boiler
Similar to solar panels they are also fitted mainly on the roof of the house and supply electrical energy back into the house
This boiler uses a renewable pellet and can be installed to replace an oil or gas boiler. The pellets must be stored in a very dry garage or shed. The most efficient way to manage a pellet boiler is to allow it run constantly, unless you are leaving the house for holidays. They are controlled by thermostats which manage the water and space heating.
Wood Pellet Stoves
They use a renewable pellet and will only heat the room they are installed. The come in different sizes, colours and omit great heat
There are many different kinds of heat pumps. We work directly with registered and approved SEAI contractors for these renewable products.