With Easter only five weeks away and spring hopefully around the corner now is the time for householders to think about cutting their bills and making their home more green.
Firstly, residents need to know if their home is energy efficient and where, if any, the problems lie.
Stourbridge energy adviser Colin Priest, who lives in Quarry Bank, says a thermal imaging camera will show up any weaknesses without having to cut into plasterboard or concrete or search through the attic.
The camera scans the temperature distribution of surfaces and generates accurate, high resolution images of a home revealing where energy is lost.
It reveals air leaks and moisture in cavity wall insulation, water problems in flat roofs, defects in pipes or under-floor heating systems and inefficient seals around door and windows.
“It is as easy to use as a camcorder and shows what needs to be fixed,” said Colin, who works for Noreus Ltd in Stafford. “It saves time and money and helps find faults before real problems occur.”
He is so confident with the new technology that he is offering home owners a free thermal imaging survey to help reduce their energy bills. Up to 60 per cent of heat lost in a home is through the roof and the walls and Colin, pictured, says the first home improvement should be to spray foam the attic with the environmentally-friendly Icynene Insulation System.
It forms an air-tight seal and reduces heating bills by up to 50 per cent as it literally stops heat going up through the roof, saving up to £600 a year every year. Another improvement is to invest in solar panels, particularly as the cost has fallen by half in the last two years from around £14,000 to £7,000 today for a 2.5 kilowatt system with 12 panels on an average semi-detached house.
This could fall further after scientists at the University of Sheffield and the University of Cambridge announced this week that they had developed a spray-coating technique using plastic rather than silicon for solar panel cells in a similar method to that used to spray paint cars.
The main advantage of installing solar panels the Feed-in Tariff or FiT payment, which is the money the Government pays people for generating electricity every year. It is index linked and householders receive 15.44p per kilowatt hour for 20 years plus the Export Tariff, which adds an extra 4.5p per KWh for electricity exported to the Grid.
The not-for-profit energy group Ebico calculates that the annual income generated by the investment is up to seven per cent; the solar panels will pay for themselves within 14 years and the householders would receive an extra £3,000 every year for the remaining six years.
The Energy Saving Trust, a non-profit organisation jointly funded by the Government and the private sector to promote the use of green energy, points out that those residents would also save on average £237 a year in energy bills.
For more details about energy-saving or to book a free thermal imaging survey which would take about an hour and a half call Colin on 0845 474 6641.