Dear <<First Name>>,
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Wirksworth Transition Community Land Trust

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Charity number 1178158
Newsletter 9 -  May-June 2022

Link to our website.
NEWS FLASH!  Scroll down...
In this issue
Welcome to our new trustee!
What should we call our thermal imaging project?
What is the Passivhaus building standard?
Modern methods of construction are key
Some videos on the theme of retrofit
Relevant national news about housing and energy efficiency
Mary Ann's retrofit - progress report
Useful links
Our Board
Roger Shelley has joined our Board

Roger Shelley, former manager of the Heritage Centre during its extensive upgrade with a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, is a heritage professional, historian, site and team manager and fundraiser. He brings to us his skills in research, organising, report writing and public communication. We are delighted he's joined us.

What should we call our thermal imaging camera project?

Volunteers needed! No tech skills required!

We are now planning our project in Wirksworth and Middleton to set up a service offering a range of information on retrofitting houses, including why it is so important. 

News Flash: Ofgem just announced (6 May) an Innovation Fund for projects that help households reduce emissions through energy upgrades. Deadline for applying is one month. Help us decide exactly what to apply for!

Retrofit is the introduction of new materials, products and technologies into an existing building to reduce the energy needed to occupy that building (and can be included in other work being done, such as an extension.)

The 24 million existing houses in the UK, expecially the ones built before the 1980s, are likely to need a lot Trustmark logomore work than, for example, installing loft and cavity wall insulation. This work is essential for meeting our carbon emission reduction target of net zero.

Projects such as this are springing up around the country. Some have grown out of community land trusts and climate action groups. Others have come from extending the work on fuel poverty to those "able to pay". Did you know that there are grants for people who don't qualify for benefits but have a health condition exacerbated by a cold or damp home?

We would welcome help from members on a better name for the project and help with planning it and publicising it. We aim to launch it in early autumn. We will also need help with leafletting, putting on events, and other tasks. You can get training in how to use our thermal imaging camera if you like but that photo of display posterrsis only part of the work that needs doing. Have you already thought of a name? See below!

We have been learning from our attempt to start a project that we should do more work on the best ways to engage with local residents. How do we persuade people to find out more about what changes are needed to their houses, even if they already have loft and cavity wall insulation. A thermal imaging camera is a draw mainly for people who are already aware of where their house is leaking heat but want confirmation from the camera. For others, the camera is useful for showing where their house might be leaking heat, as part of an effective home energy information service.

3 men looking at displayAt the Eco Fayre held last October, the session where local residents were able to share their experience of having an Air Source Heat Pump was very popular. We could put on similar events for a range of energy efficiency measures. Is that a good idea?

Please contact us either by email: or text Mary Ann on 07792 121202 to say that you would like to come to a meeting or find out more about what would be involved. Give us your suggestion for a name. We will then set a date for a first meeing sometime in the next few weeks. If you would like to help but do not want in-person meetings, we can use Zoom or Facetime with individuals. Let us know.

What is the Passivhaus building standard?

Why are  we promoting Passivhaus?     gold-coloured Gold Standard

The energy efficiency of a building – its ability to use less energy to perform a certain task – is critical. It is far more cost-effective to save energy than to generate it. That is true for alternative energy sources as much as for fossil fuels. The Passivhaus standard reduces the energy demand dramatically - at a time when the national grid is under pressure to supply more electricity for heat pumps and electric cars.

(In this article, we make the case for Passivhaus in new builds. A Passivhaus standard for existing houses has been devised and called EnerPhit, explained here.)
Passivhaus is best known for being an exemplar standard for producing high performance buildings that minimise energy demand. Research by the Trust has found 50 types of benefits divided into six distinct areas, backed by detailed research papers.

Building performance and decarbonising in individual buildings adds up to Passivhaus potentially being a major contributor to meeting climate targets. It can enable better health and well-being for residents, improved learning outcomes in educational buildings and better productivity at work. It saves money on fuel and building maintenance.
                                   tea cosy looking like a cottage
Many in the British construction industry dismiss the Passivhaus building standard as too expensive. But the extra cost is coming down as British builderrs get more experience of building to this standard. The extra cost is currently about 8% more. If the standard is adopted and used as mainstream the extra cost will drop to about 4%.

Trustees of the WTCLT Board hope to persuade the Derbyshire Dales District Council to adopt this standard, starting with social housing – housing authorities around the country are beginning to do so. Find out where and how HERE. We also think the government should make the Future Homes Standard use Passivhaus.
Read more on the Passivhaus Trust website, where you can download reports about their research on both the costs and the benefits. 

Passivhaus Trust UK Click here

By Richard Rowlatt (trustee)
Modern methods of construction
are key
Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is a blanket term to describe a process of innovation. It is not exclusive to any one material or method but a way to focus on developing new ways of building more high quality homes faster.

There have been many analyses of the UK construction industry that have recommended structural change. The Latham Report in 1994 and the Egan Report in 1998 both highlighted inefficient practices and structural problems that were holding the industry back.

In 2016 Mark Farmer published the latest such report: 'Modernise or Die' starkly sets out the need for reform and endorses the widespread adoption of Modern Methods of Construction as a solution. For a summary of the report CLICK HERE

Government has responded by smoothing the path and encouraging investment in and development of MMC.

In 2019 the MMC Working Group of the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government published the first official definition of MMC.

This recognises a range of innovative practices that can be described as MMC, describing seven categories of innovation that can be described as robot for underfloor insulationmeeting the definition. These range from complete modules built in a factory to engineering and robotic solutions for improving performance on site. The photo on the right is a very small robot installing underfloor insulation!

There is no compulsion for any builder to adopt MMC and many reasons why incorporating the more extreme MMC solutions (Categories One and Two) may never be acceptable to many developers.

MMC will aid builders to achieve Passivhaus standard because of the ability to be precise in achieving the detail necessary to meet the standard.

By Noel Mayes (Trustee)

Some videos on the theme of retrofit

Surprising things are happening in Ireland

Retrofit Ireland


Manchester Carbon Coop are going into the business of retrofit
People Powered Retrofit


Find out what the new post of Retrofit Assessor does (but first click on Skip ad)

Retrofit Assessor   [See Useful Links below for finding a retrofit assessor.]

Relevant national news
about housing and energy efficiency

The British Energy Security Strategy

A useful summary of the recently announced Government Energy Strategy (and a link to the strategy document) can be found HERE

Two points to note are the reliance on nuclear provision to supply a substantial proportion of the requirement and the minimal support for on-shore wind generation. The other glaring omission is any programme to improve energy consumption in existing buildings.

The UK history of nuclear energy production is a start/stop one where targets have been set and then abandoned according to the varying economic, political and environmental climate of the last seventy years. Mostly it has been stop or stall so relying on nuclear is dodgy.

Reluctance to promote on-shore wind generation is mostly to do with nimbyism. Imagine turbines on Barrel Edge or the The Gilkin!

Existing buildings use energy so inefficiently and in such large amounts that the omission of a strategy to deal with them is negligent.

By Noel Mayes (Trustee)

Boiler Upgrade Grant

The £5,000 grant for changing a fossil fuel boiler to an alterrnative is now active. CLICK HERE

Have any members applied for this yet? Let us know what the process has been like so we can compare it to earlier boiler upgrade grants.

Energy measures that are no longer fit for purpose for domestic properties are being revised.

The government have asked the Building Research Establishment to develop a new methodoogy to better measure the energy performance of UK homes. At present, sellers of a house are required to give a current EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) to any potential buyers.

Letters and colous of an EPCThe new methodology – ‘SAP 11’ – will be more suited to technologies designed to decarbonise homes, such as heat pumps, renewables and smart technologies.SAP 11 is due to be ready in time for the Future Homes Standard in 2025.

(Can't the government and the BRE introduce it sooner? The current EPC is no longer fit for purpose because low carbon heating is already being installed in many houses. MAH, Trustee)
Mary Ann's retrofit - progress report
Since the last newsletter, my architect looked into the issues I had raised and came to see me in early April to talk through the possible solutions.

The most important item is the cold bridge in the eaves and the ventilation. He gave me a drawing (cropped and shown below) which shows my loft and the eaves now and after what could be done.

We also realised that each of my four roof edges might need different treatment, and he wasn't sure whether the builder would be able to remove enough tiles.

In the end, he said it would be helpful to have the builder look at it. He has an experienced and trusted builder on another project and he will ask if he is prepared to look at my job. (Builders are so busy these days.) I am very pleased to say that he and the builder are due to come next week.

drawing of house eaves
By Mary Ann Hooper (Trustee)

For a good source of information on help with high fuel costs, try Warmer Derby and Derbyshire, a service run by Marches Energy Agency. Click here

How much electricity am I using? Click here

Find a Retrofit Assessor*: Click here.

*The link may or may not work! Qualified retrofit assessors must be listed on Trustmark, the official certifying agency, where you put in your postcode or town and select Retrofit Assessor from an extremely long alphabetical list of trades. (Retrofit Coordinator also.) Eventually I got the list of 238 retrofit assessors (alphabetical by first name) in the East Midlands and there seem to be some in the Sheffield and Nottingham area. If it doesn't work, start from scratch on Trustmark Find a Tradesman.
Our Board
Noel Mayes (Secretary)
Mary Ann Hooper (Chair)
Alison Clamp (Treasurer)
Ivan Dixon
Mike Whittall
Richard Rowlatt
Roger Shelley

Vacancies: 3
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