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A behind-the-scenes look at the retrofit process with Andy Pedley

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire client, Andy Pedley, shares his experience so far working with us to make improvements to his home in Kidlington.

We are all very aware, from huge publicity, that there is a climate emergency – carbon dioxide levels are increasing and this is leading to global warming – on a scale that has already changed the climate and will continue to do so in the future. It will impact on our own, our children’s, and grandchildren’s lives. 

We owe it to them to hand the planet over in the best possible condition – but are failing to live up to that responsibility. 

A major contribution to our carbon footprints are the homes that we live in – many were built years ago when there was not a thought for thermal efficiency. Fortunately upgrades are possible – and it’s essential that we do them if there’s any chance of meeting the deadlines to avoid catastrophic climate change. 

But – what to do … where to go for advice and information … and we’re all worried about builders giving poor advice or service, how do we make sure the work we’re having done is appropriate and done well. 

“I was delighted to hear about Cosy Homes Oxfordshire. We had wanted to improve the thermal efficiency of our home to reduce our carbon footprint, and finding this dedicated service that provided great expertise, makes recommendations, and are able to organise & supervise contractors able to undertake the recommended work was brilliant.”

Andy Pedley, Cosy Homes client

We moved to Kidlington in September 2019, and our new home needed improvement. A quick win was the loft insulation, which was severely deficient (completely absent in areas) – so a quick and fairly cheap win was a few trips to a DIY store, to buy rolls of loft insulation and a fairly simple DIY job of putting it in place. An immediate improvement in our comfort, reduction in our heating bills, and our carbon footprint was the result. 

But … what else, and how to get it set up? My brother introduced me to Cosy Homes Oxfordshire who describe themselves as “a one-stop home retrofit service, making it simple to make energy efficiency improvements to homes in Oxfordshire.” 

They were offering a deal of a preliminary survey for £75*, and we duly signed up and were visited by Richard, one of their Retrofit Assessors – he did a full survey of the house, noting all the important information – type of wall, type of window – and even the age of the glass, and came up with a preliminary Whole House Plan report, with their suggestions for retrofit improvements.  

“The Whole House Plan report was obviously prepared by someone skilled and contains all the information you need, to follow through to commissioning the work.”

Andy pedley, Cosy homes client

It seemed that, for us, cavity wall insulation, solar panels, and a smart heating control system, was possible (there are several versions of this out there including Nest, Hive and the one we’ve installed, TADO).

Once we accepted this, another member of the Cosy Homes team, Alex, produced a detailed Building Performance Requirement (BPR), and sent it out to their approved contractors for pricing. It was about this point that the Covid-19 pandemic kicked in so everything went into s-l-o-w mode! But, eventually we had a cavity wall installer visit to assess and price, as well as some prices for solar panels. There were immediate improvements in comfort, reduced heating bills & carbon footprint, plus the house is now much better protected against frost as all the pipes and the tank in the loft are properly lagged. 

Another quick win was to replace all the lights with LEDs. Most were conventional “incandescent” lamps, so replacing a 60 watt lamp which costs about £18 per annum to run, with an LED one with the same light output costing £3.35per annum to run was both a financial and a carbon saving, and very quick and easy to do.

We installed the TADO system as a DIY project, though you do need to replace the 230 volt heating timer, so this is really a job for an electrician. There were a couple of other simple DIY jobs – humidity sensitive vents in the bathroom, and a “chimney sheep”. 

Cosy Homes Oxfordshire will supervise the contractors once we’ve commissioned the work. Of course, there are fees to be paid for this service, but it has made improving our energy efficiency, and our comfort, easy, and given us confidence that we’re doing the right job, properly! It will reduce our heating bills (the Smart heating is saving us about 10%) and our carbon footprint – its all good. 

*Please note that as of April 2021, the price for a Cosy Homes Oxfordshire home assessment and Whole House Plan ranges between £250-350 depending on the size of your home – more details on our ‘How it works’ webpage.

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