Is the Cosy Homes Oxfordshire retrofit service right for you?

Addressing climate change starts at home

We can all do our bit to mitigate the effects of climate change by ensuring that our homes are as energy efficient as possible and so reduce carbon emissions. 

We know that our UK housing stock is fairly old and inefficient, accounting for an estimated 14% of UK carbon emissions.  Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) set out the energy efficiency of a property using a traffic light system A-G, where A is the most efficient – all homes that have been bought or sold in the last 10 years and all rental properties have been assigned an EPC rating.  As part of the strategy for building towards net-zero carbon emissions the government has set a target of upgrading all residential homes to a minimum C rating by 2035. However, in Oxford 58% of rated houses still fall below the target so we have work to do.  This is where home retrofit comes in. 

Understanding home energy usage and efficiency

Lifestyle is a major determinant in how much gas, oil and electricity you consume. For example, you may choose/need to keep your house heated to 24 degrees all day to care for the old or the very young; or you may be more frugal and strictly limit/control your use of heating, lighting and electricity; or if you are out most of the day your use of home energy may be restricted to evenings and weekends. 

But whatever your lifestyle, key factors impacting your energy usage are the fabric of your house and the systems and appliances installed. These will dictate how efficient your home energy use is, which in turn translates into fuel bills.  While at Cosy Homes Oxfordshire we do not presume to alter your lifestyle, we can help improve the energy efficiency of the fabric of your home, for example by reducing heat loss. This is why our initial energy assessments (whether conducted in person or remotely) are based primarily on our experience of the performance of your type of building and the systems installed, and some generic assumptions on energy use, rather than your actual energy bills as directly influenced by lifestyle.  

Starting with a clear plan

The Cosy Homes Oxfordshire Whole House Plan will help you to understand the size of the problem and the opportunities for improving the energy efficiency of your house.  Your assigned expert Retrofit Coordinator will review the basic measurements and details of your property and combine this with their extensive knowledge and experience to identify priorities and recommend an appropriate package of measures.  You can discuss and agree these before moving to the next phase – which might involve deeper analysis and calculations for every element of the building.  The advantage of the Whole House Plan is that it gives you an overview or roadmap of the journey your house will need to make over time to move up the EPC ratings to achieve an A rating and carbon neutrality. 

The cost of an initial assessment and follow-up detailed report on possible energy efficiency measures with a recommended phased strategy for implementing them is £175 – with no commitment on your part to progress any further through the retrofit process with Cosy Homes Oxfordshire.

Managing the improvements

The Whole House Plan may detail a range of improvement measures including insulation, ventilation, heating systems, solar panels, draught-proofing etc.  If you decide to implement just one of the measures suggested, you may feel confident to find suitable contractors and manage the process yourself.  You may also be able to make use of  the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme: details of the scheme eligibility and how to apply for vouchers can be found on the Simple Energy Advice website.

However older houses often require a more complex approach, where multiple measures need to be implemented in the correct sequence to be most effective and to avoid problems down the line.  This is Cosy Homes Oxfordshire’s area of expertise. Your Retrofit Coordinator will be aware of the many potential pitfalls – for example where installing internal wall insulation with inadequate ventilation risks future mould and health issues. This may require a deep-dive into the detail of your individual property to follow up from the initial Whole House Plan

If you do not have the time or the confidence to project manage a home retrofit involving multiple measures, the Cosy Homes service is for you.  Our Retrofit Coordinators are multi-skilled and experienced, and can handle the full range of technical issues on your behalf, providing the reassurance of an impartial and expert service.  From ensuring further tests (thermal imaging, air pressure etc) are carried out where appropriate, to designing detailed Building Performance Specifications and identifying suitable contractors to carry out the work, you can rely on them to deliver a quality result.  

For the implementation (ie post-Whole House Plan) phase of the process, the charge for the Cosy Homes service will be based on the cost of any further tests and design specifications required, plus a project management fee of 5% of the value of the renovations in question.  For more information, please contact support@cosyhomesoxfordshire.org