Fairmilehead Energy Hub: Ideas for Energy Saving

Themes of energy saving idea for Fairmilehead Energy Hub.


  1. DIY small improvements
  2. Energy performance of home
  3. Electrification of heat
  4. Monitoring energy use
  5. Sharing progress, information and Q&A
  6. Small scale passive solar
  7. Supporting solar power
  8. Install PV panels on your roof
  9. Working from home, cutting commuting, estimating fuel saving
  1. DIY small improvements
  • Check for draughts and put in excluders
  • hang thick, lined curtains at your windows, and shut them after dark
  • put an aluminium foil heat reflector between radiators and outside walls
  • use a shower timer ( or even just an egg timer ) to make family aware of hot water used by long soaks
  • make sure appliances are not left on standby.

2. Energy performance of home

Energy Performance Certificate.

Home Energy Scotland will do a report for free.

https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/scotland/home-energy-scotland     0808 808 2282.

In 2018 my EPC stated that average in Scotland was level D.

 A government statement is :’ We are proposing that all owner-occupied properties should meet the long-term domestic standard of EPC C by 2040. To do this, it may be necessary to mandate action for homeowners from 2030 depending on the success of the programme in encouraging ‘action.

The links below give more information.

Owner-occupied homes account for 61% of domestic housing, and around 38% of these properties are EPC C or above.



Levels of insulation (both loft and wall) are higher in the social sector than in the private sector. 56% of homes in the private sector have wall insulation compared to 72% in the social sector. In the private sector, 60% of lofts are insulated to 200 mm or more compared to 75% in the social sector; both of these figures are similar to 2016.

Can Fairmilehead do better ?  If you sell your home you need an EPC. You can employ an independent assessor, which will cost about £50. At least one local estate agent includes an EPC in their survey. Home Energy Scotland does home reports for free,  including suggestions for actions, but gives no EPC rating.

A pilot chat with neighbours found , of 10 conversations:

6 did not know their EPC

2 were moving, so had them  y level C  did not remember but will tell me

2 had been assessed although not moving  2 Level C.

Your EPC will benefit if

  • your loft insulation is 200mm thick
  • you have double glazing
  • you have cavity wall or other wall insulation
  • you use LED lighting, or at least energy efficient light bulbs
  • you have solar panels
  • you have a heat pump, not a gas boiler for central heating

  • Just use electric heaters, and may be wood burning stoves. Electricity is expensive compared to gas. Infra -red heaters are more efficient.Wood burning has air pollution implications

We installed infra red heating 5 – 10 years ago using Redwell panels. The whole system power rating is 6 – 7 kW in a fairly modern 4 bedroom house. The system is controlled by a Honeywell home heating controls. Each room is zoned with a programmable temperature regime 24/7. The heat the panels produce is very pleasant especially on the skin. Infra red heating heats the objects in the room, not the air. Together with our heat recovery ventilation system, it produces a very healthy living environment. When we first switched I monitored our heating bills and they were broadly in line with what we had paid for gas.

2.Wall mounted air source heat pump

Wall mounted air source heat pumps From my experience provide lower cost energy for Smaller shops , are safer than plug in electric heaters / gas fires and work effectively to keep rooms at ambient levels.

Major heat pump installation, which may involve changing the central heating pumps.

Changeworks and Warmworks,are running a project to install a range of different heat pumps, which are a renewable form of domestic heating technology, in around 250 homes across Fife, East Lothian, Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Midlothian.

The cost of the heat pump and installation is fully covered through funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Having this technology installed means homeowners can live more sustainably, reduce their carbon emissions and help to future proof their homes against energy price rises. Homeowners can also benefit from smart controls, detailed advice, and expert support to help them optimise their new heating system, as well as an independent quality inspection and full aftercare support for 12 months after the heat pump is installed.

They  have ,since June successfully met over 50% of the allocated applications for the project and the first set of installations is currently underway.. Participating in this project ensures Edinburgh benefits from reduced carbon emissions and allows householders to future proof their home with this renewable technology.

Households can register their interest and apply through Warmworks’ website, emailing heatpump@changeworks.org.uk or calling us on 0131 539 8609.

Please get in touch with Donna Marshall if you have any questions

Donna Marshall
Senior Project Manager

4. Monitoring energy use

The simplest monitoring strategy is to read your meters weekly, keep a record and act on any surprises.

Smart meters can show your use of electricity in real time. This can be motivating, when the reading  looks high , you can see how to cut it down at once.. Anecdotally this works when the system is new, but once familiarity sets in the meter is ignored more often.

5. Sharing progress, information and Q&A

It is motivating to feel that we are working together and making progress.

A brief report could be produced to share on line, with a few hard copies available in local shops, churches and schools. It could be updated, monthly, bi monthly or quarterly. A regular feature can be sharing tips and asking for advice on specific questions.

6. Small scale passive solar

Passive solar energy uses sun to heat up and store the heat within an interior space without relying on external devices. Passive solar energy system can be added to already existing house (retrofitting a house). This is achieved using materials, such as glass of a conservatory on the southern side of a house to capture the heat from the sun. The heat is retained by materials of high thermal mass such as stone or concrete on the floor of the conservatory, or external wall of the house. The heat can be directed into a house by a modest system of vents or by opening windows or door if the conservatory encompasses them. 

Passive solar system also uses the physics of absorption by coloured materials, where light colours reflect the heat while dark colours absorb the heat. Dark external colour on the  house contributes to heating while light colours prevent the heat being absorbed by the internal walls. 

Solar gain of the house can be modulated over seasons using angle of the sun. Low winter sun exposure should not be obstructed, while exposure to high summer sun can be limited by over conservatory canopy or roof overhang. Summer heat gain can be reduced also by planting deciduous trees shading the conservatory from the south. Loss of leaves over winter does not, however, obstruct solar gain in winter.   

Passive solar system requires adequate insulation and ventilation to be effective. 

Advantages of passive solar energy: 

  • Unlimited lifetime 
  • Limited use of materials with harmful effect on the environment  
  • Relatively easy for DIY 

7. supporting solar power

There are three possible ways of supporting use of the sun to generate electricity.

  1. Using an electricity supplier of renewably generated electricity.  If you do not already an internet search will find a wide choice. Some even claim to provide green gas too. Switching is not difficult.
  • Invest in a small generation group, for example the Edinburgh Community Solar Coop.

The Edinburgh Community Solar Coop already has photo voltaic panels on 24 city owned roofs; 18 schools,3 leisure centres and 3 community centres.  Buckstone primary school is one the the Coop’s sites.The council pays for the electricity used , contributing to the Coop’s income, and the generation reduces the carbon emissions so moving Edinburgh towards the target of being Zero Carbon by 2030.

The share launch for phase 2 is planned for early September and will be open for six weeks.  This will be to install  PV on another six buildings. These will include Waverley Court offices, Craiglockhart and Gracemount Leisure centres and Bankhead road depot.  Together the generation potential should be about 900kW. Work has already started at Craiglockhart and Bankhead. Investing by buying shares gives membership of the Coop, earns about 4.5% interest and is the capital allowing the work to progress. The minimum investment is £100. This link enables you to register an interest with out committing to any investment. You should be sent the share offer document.

If there are problems search for the Edinburgh Solar Coop Facebook page.

If their shares are no longer available see what Energy 4 All has available, or again see what an online search throws up.   Sun Amp is an East Lothian company that makes heat batteries.

8. Instal PV panels on your roof.

This is best if the roof faces south, but pairing east and west facing systems can also work well. The Feed in Tariff is now nearly non existent but having panels still means you use less from the grid so your bills go down. Modern systems will use any electricity not needed by your appliances to heat your hot water – if you have a hot water tank. The PV panels are much less expensive than they were a few years ago. There are several local homes will PV. Be nosy and ask if they will tell you about their sun using experience.# Our Facebook page has more.

      The Craigdon Mountain Sports Centre near the Lothianburn junction of the bypass has PV.

9. working from home, cutting commuting, estimating fuel saving

Working from home results in lower car use. It may also lead to active travel to school. When we put our application in to the Climate Challenge Fund it was clear that carbon savings from cutting car use were greater than might be expected from small improvements to buildings. Many people will have worked from home during lockdown. Some may do a day or two from home more permanently.

If you estimate your reduced mileage or fuel consumption and tell us we can monitor the combined result from the community