Dear <<First Name>>,
Row of cartoon houses
Wirksworth Transition Community Land Trust

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Charity number 1178158
Newsletter 2 - Mar-Apr 2021

Link to our website.

 In this issue

  • Welcome!
  • Learn more about retroffitting
  • A local resident is delighted with air source heat pump
  • Using a thermal imaging camera for finding heat loss from your house             
  • Update on  construction industry action re energy efficiency            
  • Sources of advice on energy efficiency measures at home and alternative energy sources
                           dilapidated house
                               Image by Myriams Fotos                                                   

Welcome - is it Spring?

Here is our WTCLT news since the last newsletter. (Scroll down about an online event taking place this Wednesday 17th March.)

We are in the process of creating a local builders/installers database to record firms and sole traders who have experience of energy efficiency measures and to post it on our website so residents can use this information. At present, it is hard to know where to start and to know who can do what. The database is part of our efforts to make information on energy efficiency available locally.

We are considering buying a specific house or houses to undertake a retrofit to the Passivhaus retrofitting standard called EnerPhit. We can't say more at this stage until we have carried out some surveys and had a meeting with Derbyshire Dales Housing.

Our Board is now down to six trustees (including one new trustee who is injecting welcome fresh blood!). We can have up to ten and we definitely need more! It has been hard to network during lockdown to recruit new trustees, so if you are interested to find out more, then come along to a monthly board meeting (stilll on Zoom but hopefully not too much longer)  to get a better idea of what the role involves. Contact us if you would like to attend. Email

Our next newsletter, Issue 3, will be sent in mid-May. If you know of anything we should write about or you would like to write about, please let us know as soon after mid-April as possible. Email

Learning more about retrofitting

We hoped to start organising some online retrofitting workshops for local residents via Zoom, but haven't managed to. Trustees don't at this point have the capacity to organise them, and despite a few people expressing interest in the last newsletter, we are not sure there is enough demand in a town as small as ours. 

Instead, here is a link to the online workshops that Transition Chesterfield have put on. They are in the Downloads & Info section of their website: click here then scroll down the screen to get to Eco Housing, which includes Insulation, Air Source Heat Pumps, Straw Bale and DIY Solar Lighting. See also Sources of Information below.

Local customer delighted with Air Source Heat Pump!

                                 Rosemary and pump

Rosemary Blenkinsop writes:
After a year of feeling guilty about my carbon emissions from my gas boiler and prevaricating, I made the decision to install an air-source heat pump very quickly. The company I chose were helpful, knowledgeable, non-pushy and from Yorkshire, called Project Heating Solutions.

The installation of my 9 KWh pump, my huge sophisticated new cylinder and the replacement of all my radiators with modern double-paneled ones, took less than two days, with four capable, reassuring young men doing the work.  I now have a fancy mobile digital controller which I use to keep the temperature perfect for whatever activities I am undertaking.

The day after the installation I applied for the Renewable Heat Incentive which turned out to be the easiest form I have ever filled in and again the company helped me. I found out the same day how much money I would be receiving back and the dates of the payments, enabling me to budget. I paid £12,400 for the ASHP and £500 for a Solar Boost, to link my solar panels to the hot water cylinder. I will receive £10,400 from the RHI paid in quarterly instalments for the next seven years. This money does not come from the government (mercifully given the complete mess they have made of the Green Homes Grant) but via Ofgem from a levy on everybody’s fuel bills.

I pay for my electricity via Good Energy because their electricity is entirely from alternative energy sources. I rang them and spoke to an actual person who told me about their ASHP tariff which is much cheaper and also arranged to have my gas meter removed, so I will have no standing charge to pay on gas ever again!

Best of all the house is perfectly and evenly warm, and the pump just hums away quietly when it is on. With my gas boiler the house was alternately too hot when the heating was on and too cold when it was off, and the boiler made quite a loud roar. The life expectancy of my ASHP is 25 years (longer than mine!!)

Using a thermal imaging camera for finding out about your home's heat loss

One of the main problems with most British houses is that they waste a lot of heat - which isn't properly contained within the fabric of the house. We have always had a climate without big seasonal temperature differences and relatively low historic fuel costs, so when necessary we have just cranked up the heating.

sunsetThe climate crisis has changed that. Until we stop using them, we must reduce our carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and one way to do that is by keeping the heat firmly within the fabric of the house. And for many people, the rising cost of fuel is simply not affordable. We must insulate and we must eliminate the draughts. Finding the draughts is one of the jobs for a thermal imaging camera.

This past February WTCLT (our community land trust) borrowed a thermal camera from Transition Belper. Several trustees had a go with it and tell you what they found.

Brian Hebron: "I used it to survey my house, built in 1963, and confirmed it didn't even meet the building standards required at the time. I suspect many of our homes have similar problems as air tightness is not in the standards and many of us know where draughts occur.
"Although a professional user is recommended to obtain maximum value from the camera and to interpret the results properly, it came with an easy-to-understand manual and there are videos by the manufacturer on YouTube. Basically, you get a picture showing the temperature differences of a surface, which indicates heat going out or cold coming in.
"So what have I learned about my home? I took most of my images inside, and it has given me proof of problems I suspected, such as poorly fitted windows, shown up by a blue (cold) line around the frames. It has confirmed what I suspected, that older houses are often poorly constructed and that going down the route of upgrading requires a whole house approach. Rectifying one aspect of insulation is likely to identify other issues. However, it was interesting to quantify the temperature differences at different points and gave me a prioritised list for any further work."

Mary Ann Hooper: "The first thing I discovered is that thethermal image of door camera is easy enough to use, but it is much harder to understand what it is saying! (And I didn't read the bit about the weather conditions required for good images when taken from outside.) When I bought my 1930s bungalow in 2010, i had many energy efficiency measures put in. The camera has told me that I hadn't realised how leaky a beautiful new external door can be. Now on my To Do list is to put a second door at the entrance to the porch."

Kevin Mann: "we had a lot of work done on our bungalow ten years ago, including insulation throughout the fabric and an air source heat pump. The camera showed that despite all the good design and the work done, there are still some cold bridges and missing insulation.It's hard to get all the detail right, but it's important to try. ideally, owners should get a survey of the house that looks at the energy efficiency and sets out quite detailed specifications on exactly what needs to be done.

We (WTCLT) are considering being trained on interpreting thermal images, and either raising the money to buy our own camera or seeing if Belper are willing to form a partnership. We need to know if there is enough demand here, and also whether any members would like to have the training and help us carry out surveys. Let us know your thoughts on

Derbyshire County Council launch £2million Green Entrepreneurs Fund

£2million has been allocated to the Green Entrepreneurs Fund, created by the County Council in collaboration with the University of Derby, to help coins and notesbusinesses reduce their carbon footprint, retrain in low carbon skills and develop innovative solutions in low carbon schemes.

Join the launch event being held online on Wednesday 17 March.

Capital and revenue support is available to entrepreneurs wanting to establish green energy schemes within Derbyshire. A small number of high-quality demonstrator projects are to be supported for innovative solutions that provide community heat and power solutions will be prioritised.

Delegates will find out who can apply for this funding, the levels of grants available and timescales for delivery

Businesses eligible to apply for funds must be registered within the County of Derbyshire and:
  • be a small/medium enterprise (up to 250 staff) or;
  • a micro business (up to 10 staff).
  • The funds will support existing and startup businesses

Update on construction industry action re energy efficiency

Us ordinary folk living at ground level tend to get some news about what our government is doing to make our houses much more energy efficient. (It usually starts by raising our hopes and then dashes them, leaving us in the doldrums.)

Futurebuild, which normally puts on an exhibition about the built environment every year, decided that with the pandemic preventing such an event happening, they would stage three webinars on key issues facing the construction industry. Click on the titles to watch the webinar. All three make different connections with the built environment, but the third is the most relevant for domestic housing. The Insulation Manufacturers Assn has a useful infographic which gives a flow chart on the need to make energy efficiency an "infrastructure priority." Have a look:
How energy efficiency is an infrastructure priority

zero carbon houseAn online event Zero Carbon Housing hosted by Transition Chesterfield on 27 February featured two speakers setting out the case for new zero carbon housing definitely being achievable in Chesterfield and Derbyshire - Martin Valentine of Positive Homes Ltd and Dave Bradley-Bowles of Pure Haus Ltd.  For a write up of the event, key recommendations and a recording of the event, click here. (It downloads to your computer.)

 Sources of advice on energy efficiency measures and alternative energy sources at home

Marches Energy Agency covering the East Midlands has a helpline by phone and email for:

  1. Checking your suitability for heating and insulation grants.
  2. Supporting you to get measures installed through green house yellow doorour trusted installers.
  3. Tariff switching advice.
  4. Energy supplier disputes or fuel debt.
  5. Accessing additional support through our partners, such as income maximisation.
  6. Thinking about energy saving tips and renewable energy options    Find out more here: Energy advice at home

From the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales find out about:
  • Energy
  • Eco-renovation
  • Building
  • Green Living
  • Water & Sanitation
  • Nature & Growing
Click here for their Free Information Service

From the national Energy Saving Trust find out about:dormer windows
  • Home Energy Advice
  • Financial support
  • Energy tools and calculators
Click here

The Association of Environment Conscious Building (AECB) has some free webinars and although they are aimed at builders, owners can also use them to learn more.
Click here.
wirksworth in snowWirksworth from top of Summer Lane February 2021

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