Energy - Miscellaneous



Heat Pump Hints

Hang on to your hot water tank: useful for storing heat, and using electricity when it's cheap, or your PVs are working.

Heat Pumps have a coefficient of performance: ratio of energy out to energy in. Maybe 3 units of heat out to 1 of electricity (COP = 3), better with a low temperature difference, poorer if the outside coils are cold, or you're asking for a high temperature output. Hence ground source (2m down the temperature is a steady 10C) or water source, are better than air source. And underfloor heating is better than small radiators. But ground source is a bigger outlay, and you'll need either a few hundred square metres for trenches or 2 boreholes up to 100m deep.

So depending on the weather, your COP will vary. Seasonal performance factor (SPF) is the weather-adjusted COP. The BRE has a tool to compare SPF for various heat pumps and flow temperatures:

Cost: an installed air source heat pump may be around £8000, for 6-10 kW. Around £1000/kW. Ground source heat pumps cost £1500-1800 per kW. Support in the UK is from the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). Resources and advice on eligibility and how to apply from

RHI payments are based on the 'renewable heat' - the heat demand met (from your home's Energy Performance Certificate) minus the electricity used. You'll be paid for 7 years. There's a calculator:

RHI accredited installers are on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS),

To help compare quotes, look at Ethical Consumer's report on some heat pump manufacturers, Don't expect good marks for supply chain workers or 'conflict minerals', you'll see the same for many other appliances, including gas boilers.

The Centre for Alternative Technology has a one-day heat pump course in August 2020,

John Cantor has a website of useful advice, and a book, out of print but downloadable from

Lots of documents too in the Microgeneration Certification Scheme website, installers section: ; MCS 021 Heat Emitter Guide has information on reducing building heat loss and increasing radiator size - to reduce flow temperature.

The Centre for Alternative Technology is also a good source of information, by telephone: 01654 705989, or

Condensed from an article in CAT's magazine, Clean Slate, no 115, Spring 2020

RESIDENTS IN CHESHIRE WEST AND CHESTER could save £2.6m a year if they take control of their heating
--- Four fifths of Brits believe they understand their heating controls ---
--- Yet HALF misuse energy when they turn up their thermostat ---
--- Nearly 40 per cent of Brits think it’s more efficient to leave the heating on all the time ---
--- And only a quarter of bill payers have changed energy supplier in the last year ---
--- Campaign launches heating myth-buster and urges customers to switch supplier ---
Big Energy Saving Week – a joint campaign between Energy Saving Trust, Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Citizens Advice – reveals 74 per cent of Brits are still worried about their energy bills. The campaign helps householders learn how to take control of their energy bills with free advice available during the week over the phone, online and at events across the UK.
Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, said:

“Rightfully, millions of householders are confused by their heating controls because, let’s be honest, it is a bit of a minefield. There are plenty of myths out there and it’s no wonder people aren’t getting it right. We are urging customers to learn about the myths, check their tariff, switch suppliers and insulate their homes.” 
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said:

“The easiest way to cut energy bills fast is to shop around for the cheapest energy deal and switch suppliers. Thanks to government action to reform the energy market the number of independent suppliers has almost trebled since 2010 – encouraging greater competition which helps drive down prices. 
“We’re also making it easier and quicker for people to switch, and the major energy suppliers have confirmed that switching times will halve by the end of this year to just two and a half weeks.”

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Every day, Citizens Advice helps people who are struggling to meet the cost of their energy bills. Eighty thousand people a year come to us for help with fuel debts. With prices up a third since 2010, it’s more important than ever that people know what they can do to keep their fuel bills down and what help is available. That’s why we’re running events up and down the country to help people make sure they are not paying a penny more than they have to.”
The findings from an Ipsos MORI survey of over 2,000 UK respondents show that almost four fifths of people (78 per cent) claim to understand how to use their heating controls. However, many of these respondents turn out to be using their heating controls incorrectly. Of those who thought they understood how to operate their heating controls:

  • MYTH 1: Turn the heating up when it’s cold outside. Half (52 per cent) turn the thermostat up when it’s cold outside. A home shouldn’t need this as the thermostat is there to maintain the home temperature whatever the weather.
  • MYTH 2: Turn up the thermostat to heat the room quicker. Over a third (35 per cent) turn their room thermostat up when they want the room to heat up quicker. This does not help a room become warmer any quicker and only heats the home to a warmer temperature.
  • MYTH 3: Leave the heating on low constantly. Thirty-eight per cent think it is more energy efficient to leave the heating turned on at a low temperature constantly, rather than turn it on and off. This means these homes are heated when no-one is there to benefit and then the home is too cold when people are in the home.
  • MYTH 4: Hot water runs out if you stop feeding the tank. Nearly a third (31 per cent) leave their water heating on all the time to make sure they never run out, which could be costing far more on their energy bills than necessary.
  • MYTH 5: Keep electric storage heaters on all the time. Our research also found that few people with electric storage heaters fully understand how they work (only 38%). This means that households with electric heating could be paying through the nose by not taking advantage of cheaper night rate electricity.

Big Energy Saving Week (20-24 October) is funded by DECC in collaboration with Energy Saving Trust and Citizens Advice Bureau. Other partners supporting the campaign include Global Action Plan, Age UK and ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England). The week will help householders to take practical steps to cut to their bills by checking they are on the best deal, switching tariff or supplier and taking up energy saving actions such as using their heating controls in the correct way.
Big Energy Saving Week is part of a wider DECC initiative known as the Big Energy Saving Network – a £1 million programme to support eligible third sector organisations and community groups and deliver help and advice to vulnerable consumers.

Anyone needing help and advice on any of the issues raised here should call the Energy Saving Advice Service (England and Wales) on 0300 123 1234 or Home Energy Scotland (Scotland) on 0808 808 2282. Householders in Northern Ireland may be able to benefit from the Warm Homes scheme – call 0800 988 0559 for further details.    

This winter (2012/2012) a coalition of national organisations is organising a programme of over 40 major public meetings across the UK with local MPs and other national speakers. The theme is:

Energy we can all afford?

Warmer Homes, Lower Bills, Cooler Planet

The theme links our major concerns. Energy prices have risen rapidly, chiefly because of our increasing dependence on gas, and millions are trapped in fuel poverty: we need a new and positive approach to this based on energy efficiency and clean sustainable energy.

We’re doing this with three aims. One is to influence the Energy Bill now before Parliament: the second is to call on the Government to use the money it gets from our carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient – driving down our energy bills forever. The third aim is to boost local interest and engagement with these issues.

We want to hear the views of MPs on the UK’s energy future and for them to answer people’s questions. This will be a powerful way to link work on energy and cutting carbon with social justice issues around fuel poverty.

I am writing to you as someone who is involved in local action through the Low Carbon Communities Network to see if the local organisation that you are involved with would be interested to organise a public meetings on this theme this winter (from November – March).

This work is being led by Friends of the Earth and the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) coalition. The initiative is also supported by others including the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and the Low Carbon Communities Network. If you’ve not engaged with the EBR see their website: and you’ll see there just how large the coalition is. You'll also find there a petition for warm homes and lower bills.

We can offer a lot of support, including speakers, guidance materials, leaflets and posters, press and media, a national back-up team and if you need it, a small grant towards the cost of a venue. We want to make these big and exciting meetings. We attach a document which sets out why these meetings are important and which lists what we hope that you can do along with the support that we can offer.

My name is Chris Church – I chair the Low Carbon Communities Network and am now working on these issues through my consultancy - Community Environment Associates. I and my co-Director Jan Mcharry are working on this for FoE and the Energy Bill Revolution coalition.

I hope that this is of interest. If it is, please fill in the form below, clip it out and email it back to me. If you’d like, please call us or email us and we can call you. We are very happy to discuss and advise. You can reach us on 01865 236254 or 07710 409590 (Chris Church) or contact us via energywecanallafford[at]

With best wishes

Chris Church

On behalf of Energy We Can All Afford

Tel: 07710 409590


Energy We Can All Afford? - response form

My organisation may be interested to organise a meeting on these issues.

Contact details

·   Your name:

·   Name of group/organisation as appropriate:

·   Email, telephone number:

·   Likely constituency:

·   Name of MP (and their party):

Please tick one of these lines or add details below:

·   We are definitely interested to organise a meeting

·   We would like to talk about the possibility of an event

·   We are already planning an event that could link to this work

·   Our interest is this (please describe):


Action Update 1 – December 2012

The ‘Energy We Can All Afford’ initiative is a programme to encourage local action – especially public meetings – on the theme of fuel poverty, energy efficiency and clean energy. These are running as the Energy Bill goes through Parliament and the meetings are being organised to ensure that MPs hear and respond to our concerns.  This update is going out to all the organisations involved nationally and locally to keep you briefed on what we are doing.

We are a broad coalition of organisations, coordinated by Friends of the Earth and the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) coalition, and supported by Stop Climate Chaos, Greenpeace and the Low Carbon Communities Network. The EBR coalition links over 120 organisations:   

Over 35 local organisations are currently discussing and planning meetings and we hope to have many more. See our website - for more details. The website also offers a range of resources. The support team is here to help with advice and ideas as well as supplying posters, leaflets, draft letters etc. and small grants for hall hire where necessary.

We suggest that meetings will work best in a ‘Question Time’ format – with perhaps four speakers – including an MP, a national or regional speaker on the key issues, a local speaker active on fuel poverty. But if that doesn’t work for any reason we are very open to supporting other meeting formats or activities.

National support for Energy We Can All Afford
The EBR coalition links many varied organisations. Among those now expressing active support for the meetings programme are Barnardo’s, Children England, Age UK, National Pensioners’ Convention, Girlguiding UK and the Scouts Association, MENCAP, MS Society, Disability Rights UK, the British Youth Council and the National Children’s Bureau, the TUC, NUS and UNISON, and the National Right to Fuel campaign. This shows just how widespread is concern about fuel poverty. These organisations will be urging their local branches to get involved in the public meetings: if you are organising a meeting contact us and we can put you in touch.

Website discussion forum and contacting us
The website has a discussion forum – to use it you need to register but it is a simple process. If you have any ideas or queries you can share them there – or contact us directly. Email the initiative coordinator, Chris Church –

Why are we running this programme?
We’re doing this with two aims. One is to influence the Energy Bill now before Parliament: the second is to promote the objectives of the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) coalition which is calling on the Government to use the money it gets from our carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient. This will be a powerful way to link work on energy and cutting carbon with social justice issues around fuel poverty.  One key element in this will be to show how local action on community energy and energy efficiency is a core part of this work, and to kill the myth that energy price rises are due to renewable energy investment (this is just a small part of the new costs).

National speakers list
A list of speakers for meetings is being developed. If you’d like a speaker or know someone who is an excellent speaker on energy / fuel poverty please get in touch.

New report: Energy Bill Revolution best for jobs and growth
The Energy Bill Revolution is calling on the Government to use the money it gets from carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient. This is the only permanent way to end fuel poverty and drive down household energy bills. Research has already demonstrated the social and environmental benefits of the programme: nine out of ten fuel poor households removed from fuel poverty; four times greater reduction in carbon emissions compared to the Government’s current policies. Now a new report from Consumer Focus shows that this approach is also best for economic growth and job creation:


New report: Government slashes support for fuel poor
The Government has significantly reduced the financial support it gives the fuel poor, according to a new report commissioned by Energy Bill Revolution. The report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) is the first time the Government’s fuel poverty budget has been analysed in depth by experts outside Government. For background see

It finds that the money received by the fuel poor in England has been cut by 26% between 2009 and 2013, taking into account all the Government’s new policies.  It also finds that the budget for energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor in England has been cut by 44%. This has raised particular concern because energy efficiency improvements are considered the best long term solution to end fuel poverty.


Letter received 19th Feb:
I’m writing on behalf of the Energy We Can All Afford initiative. The programme is being run by Friends of the Earth and the Energy Bill Revolution coalition. If you’ve not engaged with the EBR see their website:  You’ll see there just how large the coalition is: it includes many social care organisations including Barnardos, Disability Rights, MENCAP, Multiple Sclerosis, Save the Children, the National Pensioners Forum and Shelter. This is a unique opportunity for any local climate / energy group to make links with the local branches of these organisations.

The first of our meetings – linked on the theme of ‘Energy We Can All Afford’ are now starting. As well as these we are also keen to organise small group lobbying exercises, where 4 – 6 people visit the MP at their surgery to raise the key points. We’d like very much to have one in your area as Graham Evans MP is one of the greener Tories around and it is important that these MPs do get reminded that there are constituents who take these issues very seriously. I attach some guidance on lobbying, along with some background information.

If there’s anything you could do to organise some form of lobbying meeting large or small we’d be very happy to help.  Information and resources are on our new website –

I hope that this is of interest. You can contact us – Jan McHarry and Chris Church on 01865 236254 or 07710 409590
Best wishes
Chris Church
Energy We Can All Afford
Tel: 07710 409590

There are 2 posters promoting the freephone number to ring for advice about energy efficiency and insulation measures. There are currently many schemes that are giving free loft and cavity wall insulation. These offers will not be available when the government brings in its new Green Deal scheme, so it is a last chance to get insulated for free!!
Please circulate this information to your membership, family, friends, relatives, fact anyone you can think of!! Also, please print the posters and display in local shops, post offices, workplaces, etc. One poster is above, the other, same information but square, is here.
It will be great to get as many people as possible taking advantage of these free schemes while they last.
Tania Sayer

There are 2 new pots of funding that some of you maybe interested in.

Here are the details of the Local Energy Assessment Fund. Here's a brief extract to give an idea of the things it will fund:

“1. Commission assessments of the energy efficiency of homes and buildings in their community

2. Run demonstration projects of the type of measures that will shortly be available through the Green Deal (e.g. solid wall insulation)

3. Carry out feasibility studies for community renewable energy projects

4. Run public awareness-raising and engagement events and meetings to ensure that the whole community (a) understands the reasons for your group engaging in this work (b) has access to the findings of any studies and (c) is given the opportunity to get involved”

The application dates are really soon; 22nd December for the first round and 20th January for the second.

The second funding stream is from the Big Lottery to deliver Sustainable and Resilient Communities. Again I will not repeat what is in the link, but the deadline for applications is 31st January.

Tania Sayer, 7th Dec 2011

Home Heat Helpline

This is a free service that provides independent advice to people on low incomes on how to get help with their gas and electricity bills as well as other help such as grants for insulation or a new boiler.

Christine McGourty from the Home Heat Helpline also advises people to think about what they can do around the home to reduce their energy consumption: “As well as calling the Home Heat Helpline to find out what financial assistance is available there are some other simple steps people can take. For example:

turn radiators down in rooms which you only use occasionally

switch your lights off when you're not using them

turn appliances like TVs and phone chargers off at the wall rather than leaving them on standby when they're not being used

replace normal light bulbs with energy efficient ones

regularly defrost your freezer to make sure it's operating at full efficiency

draw curtains over windows at night to provide insulation for the room

move furniture away from radiators and heaters to allow heat to circulate around the room

open internal doors of any rooms which get more sun than others and let the warm air travel around your home”

The number for the Home Heat Helpline is 0800 33 66 99 or you can visit


Cheshire West Warm Zone

is offering free loft and cavity wall insulation in Cheshire West and Chester to those over 60, and people on qualifying benefits. Those who don’t qualify can purchase insulation for just £49 each (subject to survey). It’s supported by CWAC, National Energy Action and Scottish Power. Call 0800 033 7873,

More Energy Institute events are posted on, and on the Energy Institute website

Wednesday 3 June 2009 (retained here for interest!)
Communication strategies for managing environmental issues - evening lecture, in London and online
Andrew Griffin, Managing Director, Regester Larkin

Andrew Griffin, managing director of reputation strategy consultancy Regester Larkin, will explain why technical excellence is not always enough when dealing with environmental issues. The perception of stakeholders is as important as the technical reality, so the ability to understand and engage with key stakeholders about environmental issues and projects can be fundamental to success. Using examples, he will look at the do's and don'ts of communication and explain how these learnings can be applied, from communicating with local communities to holding successful meetings with regulators. The presentation will be relevant for all those working in the energy sector who may have an interest in dealing with environmental issues - from site remediation projects to challenges on a bigger scale.

*        The world is not scientific; stakeholders are unpredictable
*        Science is not enough to win the day when an issue arises.
Communication principles
*        Know your audience
*        Have key messages even in the most complicated documents (two clips - Exxon and Thomas Cook)
*        Make documents and presentations clear
*        Make a good impression
*        Always prepare
Applying these principles
*          Successful regulator engagements
*          Engaging with communications
*          Preparing briefing packs
Q&A session

Press Release from Frack-Off, regarding the trial of 3 protesters in Preston. Released 16th July 2012

For Immediate Release


Phone 1:    07858614861

Phone 2:    07582660353

E-mail: media[at]

Website: or



Hashtag: #FrackingOnTrial

Anti-fracking Verdict Tomorrow

The verdict in the anti-fracking trial will be given tomorrow, Tues 17th July, at Preston Magistrates Court at 2pm.

Three people who were accused of disrupting the 'lawful' activity of a fracking company, Cuadrilla Resoucres, during a banner drop and occupation of their drilling rig, for 11 hours, last November [1] face charges of aggravated trespass.

Last week the trial took place for four full days from Tuesday 10th – Friday 13th July.

The defendants all plead not guilty and challenged the lawfulness of the company's operations and also presented a defence of 'necessity'; asserting that stopping fracking is necessary in the context of run-away climate change and the damage it will cause the environment and local communities.

The defendants presented a large number of expert and non-expert witnesses from the UK and US to testify against the use of this unconventional process in the British Isles.

This included climate scientists Prof Howarth, from Cornell Univerity, and Dr Broderick, from the Tyndall Centre, speaking on the dangers of fracking on the climate; 'expert' testimonies from a geologist and public health specialist on the impact of climate change on the environment and health locally, regionally and nationally in the UK; an ex-industry whistle-blower in the US, James Northrup, speaking about the hidden inherent dangers of hydraulic fracturing on water contamination and air pollution; local residents speaking about the lack of any consultation before the industry began fracking on their doorstep and the damage already caused by earthquakes in Lancashire; and Caroline Lucas, Green MP, speaking about the failures of the political process to deal with climate change and threat it poses to our environment.

Prosecution witnesses testifying in favour of fracking included Michael Hawkins from Department of Energy and Climate Change who issued Cuadrilla a licence to drill and frack in Lancashire, Alyn Perigo from Lancaster County Council who rubber stamped several planning applications in the area and Eric Vaughn, Chief Operations Manager of the shale gas company, Cuadrilla, which is fracking in the UK.

Climate Change

The International Energy Agency have warned the world is on a trajectory to warm by 6 degrees Celsius in the next 100 years. [2] Despite a long array of commitments, targets and 'mechanisms' to tackle climate change from governments, financial institutions and industries alike, recent years have seen the highest ever emissions of green house gases on record. [3] The latest 2010 estimates are that over 350,000 people per year are dying as a result of climate change and this figure is set to grow in coming years. [4]

During the fracking trial last week leading academic Prof Robert Howarth from Cornell University in the US provided a testimony of the damage unconventional gas extraction will have on exacerbating climate change, stating, “methane emissions are 40% to 60% greater for shale gas than for conventional natural gas... the greenhouse gas footprint of shale gas is worse than that of either coal or oil.” In a leading scientific paper co-written by Howarth research shows that the footprint from shale gas could be 20% – 50% worse than coal when looked at over a 20 year time horizon. [5]

Another expert witness, Dr John Broderick from the Tyndall Centre in the UK, also provided a testimony stating, “exploitation of UK shale gas reserves is incompatible with avoiding dangerous climate change greater than 2 degrees Celsius... Although the UK has adopted national cumulative emissions budgeting as a principle, through the Climate Change Act (2008), the levels set in current budgets will likely give rise to warming greater than 2 degrees”.

Despite rhetorical and legal commitments the government has made to climate change targets nationally and internationally, the government continue to steam-roll ahead supporting the extraction of more fossil fuels. Caroline Lucas “My direct, personal, experience of the political process, both at UK and EU level, has led me to conclude that successive governments have failed to represent the concerns of the public in relation to climate change and environmentally polluting industries”. She called for non-violent protest not to be criminalised.

Fracking unconventional gas

Cuadrilla continue to maintain that hydraulic fracturing is 'absolutely safe'. In their submission to Parliament [6] in February 2011 and again repeated by Eric Vaughn, Cuadrilla's Operations Manager, in Preston Magistrates on Tuesday 11th July 2012, the company state there have been 'no documented cases of hydraulic fracturing causing water contamination in the US'.

This is  despite a mass of evidence showing that fracking has, and does, cause water contamination. In the 1980’s the Environment Protection Agency issued a report linking fracking to contamination of water. [7] In 2008 in Wyoming tests showed 88 out of 220 wells were contaminated. In many areas fracking companies are now delivering water to local residents, because their water has been contaminted. In New York last year there was a moratorium on fracking because of water contamination issues. In the US there has been over 1,000 cases of water contamination documented by courts and state and local governments in Colorado, New Mexico, Alabama, Ohio and Pennsylvania. [8]

Ex-industry insider from the US, James Northrup, provided testimony warning of the inherent dangers of the hydraullic fracturing process, stating, “all wells will eventually leak, creating a pathway for methane and other pollutants to enter the groundwater tapped by shallow water wells. Unplugged wells will leak sooner than plugged wells, but as long as ferrous metal rusts, all of them will leak – it is simply a matter of when”.

Local impacts

Residents from around the Cuadrilla Resources sites in Lancashire testified to property damage and health effects caused by the fracking operations last year that resulted in several earthquakes, and to the total lack of notice or consultation they received before planning permission was granted. Other witnesses raised issues around environmental permitting and planning permissions for Cuadrilla’s activities.

“There was no notification that fracking was going to be on my doorstep! When I found out chemicals were going to be put into the ground I was horrified”, said one local resident who can see the drilling rig from outside of her window.

In the US many residents are now speaking out about the damage fracking has caused to their lives. [8] There have been a large number of blow-outs, explosions, fires and spills associated with the practice. [9]

One worker released an emotional testimony three months before he died of pancreatic cancer, warning of the dangers of fracking chemicals at a waste water site in Colorado. [10]

In the US Centre of Disease Control found counties with the most shale gas production to also have the highest breast cancer rates, increasing 20% from 2005 – 2008, when nationally rates are decreasing. [11]


The trial raised a number of issues regarding the legality of unconventional gas extraction. The licencing system that DECC administers has not changed significantly since 1934 and it is questionable whether the new technology of massive slickwater hydraulic fracturing is even permitted by the current legislation.

Since the only person who has any duty to do anything under the extremely weak Climate Change Act 2008 is the Secretary of State in charge of DECC who is also issuing the licences and since the development of unconventional fossil fuels would almost certainly cause that target to be missed, it is possible that the whole licencing process could be rendered illegal.

There are also a number of issues relating to adherence to European Directives on such points as conducting Strategic Environmental Assessments, groundwater protection and treatment of waste. Finally the extent to which Cuadrilla has been economical with the truth in the description of their activities in the planning applications could potentially mean they are in breach of planning control in carrying out massive slickwater hydraulic fracturing.

Extreme Energy

Fracking for shale gas is part of a new and dangerous trend towards more extreme forms of energy extraction which has emerged in the last few years as energy prices has risen. This includes tar sands, deep water drilling and mountain top removal amoung others. In Britain, in addition to shale gas, the potentially even larger threats are from coal bed methane (CBM) [12] and underground coal gasification (UCG) [13], with 61 CBM sites with planning permission and 18 areas licensed for UCG.

Hydraulic Fracturing, or fracking is a controversial method of natural gas extraction, in which a mixture of water, sand and chemicals is injected into the ground at high pressure, cracking shale rock and releasing the gas [14]. It has been the subject of much contention due to numerous reports linking the method to water contamination, health problems and earthquakes [15]. The industry is in its infancy in the UK, and there are plans for up to 800 wells in Lancashire alone [16].

A website,, has been documenting the case as fracking in Britain is put on trial.



Notes for Editors:









9 and





14 Short film explaining what fracking is:




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