Much of Energy Alton’s advice and guidance to home owners involves homes connected to the gas grid. That applies to the majority of houses in the UK. But 15% of homes nationwide are off the gas grid and in Hampshire the number is much higher. Did you know that in East Hampshire the figure is 33%? And in four other Hampshire districts/unitary authorities it is over 30%. On a recent visit to Kingsley Centre I was surprised to find that 50% of Kingsley homes have no gas and so solid fuel back boilers are common.
So what is the alternative? Well the biggest heat source by far is oil or electricity and the rest liquid petroleum gas, renewable energy including wood and of course coal. In many cases this involves bulk oil or LPG tanks or night storage heaters.
The clear goal for Energy Alton is to help our communities reduce carbon emissions by becoming more fuel efficient – using less and changing away from fossil fuels. That’s why we are focussing on off grid properties in 2019. Our simple aim is to raise awareness and help homeowners move to more low carbon heating systems. Its not easy because switching is expensive and needs planning. When your oil- fired boiler breaks down in the middle of winter is not the moment to research new heating options so we aim to get people to think ahead.
We are composing a simple leaflet to be sent to as many off grid properties as is possible suggesting the renewable alternatives of biomass, heat pumps, solar thermal and PV with information about cost and the reduction in carbon emissions. We will include links to more information including the availability of subsidies including the Renewable Heat Incentive (e.g. for an air source heat pump – see photo). In some cases the best option is to arrange for a grid connection especially if the distance to a gas main is short and several householders could share the cost or claim a subsidy. Or if the renewable options are not affordable upgrading to the latest night storage heaters could be worthwhile.
We are hoping to get East Hants District Council to help with the design and production of a leaflet and then seek funding to pay for sending it out to off grid property owners. Then we will share the leaflet with the Hampshire Climate Action network to be used across Hampshire where appropriate.
If you would like to be involved in this project or would like to receive a leaflet when it is published please contact us via the website.