We’ve just had the compulsory EU energy survey done on the house. The results were fairly predictable, more loft insulation and change of light bulbs.
We could “typically” make and annual saving of £34 by increasing the loft insulation to 270mm. A quick google for some prices and fag packet calculation shows a cost of around £150 if I do the job myself, a 5 year payback. This doesn’t take in to account the cost of me going to buy the stuff or the extra generated CO2 in that journey*.
The only problem with this typical saving is that I’m not convinced. When it snowed heavily last winter the snow on my roof thawed at about the same rate as the snow in the garden, which, to my simple mind, shows that the current insulation is fairly effective.
I could also save £45 a year if I replace all the lights with those low energy light bulbs. Well that is being forced on us and will have to happen over time, but I refuse to destroy the value of the existing bulbs and replace them with those damned things that make it impossible to read comfortably any sooner than I have to so I’m not going to bother working out a payback period.
Under the measures that cost over £500 I am told that if I replace my boiler I could typically save £39 per year. So even if I could get a boiler that meets this threshold of £500 that is a 13 year payback, but a new boilerof the size we need is going to cost over £1000 so we are now looking at a 26 year payback. Anyone want to bet that the new boiler will last that long before some new EU edict means it needs changing? Even if it lasts mechanically, which I doubt.
But there’s more. Our current boiler was installed in 2004 and cost c.£1,200. Lets say it has a life of 15 years that means it cost us about £80 a year in capital costs and as it still has about 9 years of life left that means it still has an economic value of around £560. So to make a saving of £39** a year I would have to destroy over £500 worth value in the existing boiler and find another £1200, including removing the old one and installing the new one, to buy a new one. You shouldn’t need a to do Economics 101 to figure that one out.
Next, I can save £37 if I install solar water heating. A quick google shows I can expect to pay between £1,500 and £3,000, a payback of 40 years at best and 80 years at worst. At 53 I’m unlikely to see those benefits.
Finally, if I install 2.5kWp of photovoltaic panels I can save £172 per year. Another google consultation shows that a 3.15Kw system costs £13,000. I can’t be bothered doing more detailed research so lets be generous a say that the 2.5Kw system costs £10,000 (2.5/3.15*£13000, but it doesn’t work like that) which would give me a payback of 60 years. Just as well the system comes with a life expectancy of 40 years then! Our son (who doesn’t want to be referred to as the sprog so I need a new name) might just live long enough to get that benefit.
And if I do all of this I can improve my CO2 rating from E48 to D61, or E52 if I am such a bad citizen and enemy of Gaia that I don’t install solar water heating and power. Apparently this will cut my CO2 emission from 6.6 tonnes per year to 6 tonnes but it doesn’t say what impact this will have on improving Gaia’s health or reducing global warming, my guess is the square root of sod all.
Well, I’m really glad that I was forced to part with £75 plus VAT to be told all that and they left me to carry out my on cost benefit analysis. Just think, if I hadn’t paid for that survey I could have bought 12 bottles of my favourite white wine and still had some change. So I suppose that’s the health fascists ans as well as eco-fascists placated.
*Two and a half years of that payback will pay for the report!
**What’s the betting this is at the top end of the guesstimate as well?