By improving the energy and thermal efficiency of our homes, we are helping improve the well-being of out tenants, including their physical and mental health.We are committed to understanding how our tenants interact with their homes, to establish how best to maintain a healthy environment.
The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) makes a requirement that our homes must be adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated. There are a number of measures that ensure our homes remain warm and healthy, save on fuel bills and improve tenant well being.
We provide energy efficient boilers to all our mains gas homes and LED lighting to communal areas.
We are replacing windows in our homes and are working towards our specification including the introduction of triple glazed windows in the next 3 years. We also undertake retrofit programmes with the latest technologies in External Wall Insulation. All our properties have loft insulation installed during roofing renewal works.
VENTILATION AND DAMP
To help ensure air quality remains optimal, we fit mechanical ventilation systems to all bathroom and kitchen areas. If further intervention is required to help prevent condensation(and associated mould), we install positive input ventilation methods, which help balance the volume of fresh air that enters and leaves a home. We constantly review the conditions of our homes to inform innovative damp solutions suitable for each property to remove and damp issues that may exist.
PROMOTING SMART METERS
In order to make our tenants more aware of how their energy usage affects their bills, we support and promote the roll out of the UK Governments Smart Meter Programme.
An energy efficient home is vitally important to you and Merthyr Valleys Homes. We have some fun and simple tips for saving energy, along with explanations of the energy saving work Merthyr Valley Homes has carried out and are pursuing.
Being green is both good for you, our environment, and your bank balance. Taking some simple steps can cut your bills by hundreds of pounds, as well as help reduce the effects of climate change.
BE EFFICIENT WITH HEATING
Stay warm while cutting costs. Turning your thermostat down by 1°C can save you as much as £60 per year. Also, keeping your heating on constantly on a low heat could potentially save you more money than switching it on and off for big blasts of heat. This is where getting to know and understand the timer settings on your thermostat will really pay off.
Get cosy. Wearing more jumpers, socks, and slippers around the house, and putting an extra blanket on the bed means you won’t be tempted to turn the heating up.
Lower Water Pressure. Turn the pressure down on the power shower. A high-pressure power shower is a great luxury to have but you’d be surprised how much water they use – sometimes even more than a bath.
Be efficient with cooking
Save time and stock up. If you’re going to use the oven, bake a few meals at a time to get the most out of having your oven on. After all, ovens don’t allow us to heat one shelf at a time so why waste your heat?
Heat your home with cooking. Leave the oven door open after cooking to let the heat warm your kitchen, if it is safe to do so. The oven might give off enough heat for you to adjust your thermostat, a far more efficient use of that stored heat than throwing it out of your home with an extractor fan.
Let the dishwasher do the dirty work. Avoid pre-rinsing the dishes in hot water. Save water and energy by just scraping the dishes before they go in.
Make things easy for your fridge and freezer. Keeping them full means they don’t have to work as hard and therefore they use less energy. Empty space in your fridge or freezer wastes not only space but energy too.
Use the right ring for the right pan. If your cooker has a small ring, use a small pan. You might only be heating up a small meal and doing so in a big pan wastes a lot of energy. Conversely if you try and heat a large pan on the small ring, you’re more likely to end up heating for longer than saving any money or energy.
BE EFFICIENT WITH WASHING
Shrink your bills, not your clothes. 90% of a washing machine’s energy expenditure is spent on heating the water, so if you wash your clothes at 30-40°C you’re saving significant amounts of money.
Hang up your laundry. Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble drying it, in a well ventilated room or outside, particularly if there’s warm or windy weather. Nothing smells better than air-dried clothes.
Save yourself ironing time. Take your clothes out of the dryer before they’re completely dry – they’ll iron much quicker and you’ll use less energy on your drier.
BE EFFICIENT WITH APPLIANCES
Switch it off and save. Unplug all the appliances that you aren’t using regularly – even chargers continue to use electricity when they aren’t charging. Also, make sure you’re not leaving appliances on standby; it may be easier but it’s a guaranteed way to waste energy compared to turning things off at the socket.
Get the kids involved. Play energy-saving games with your kids. Get them to spot the areas in the home where energy is being wasted and where lights, switches, or appliances have been left on.
Let the sunshine in. On a sunny day, opening your curtains will let warmth into your house, but when it’s colder or the sun goes down don’t forget to close them to keep that heat in.
Don’t overpay for the energy you’re using. Compare gas and electricity prices on a price comparison website to make sure you’re on the cheapest tariff for you. It only takes a few minutes, and we do all the paperwork for you, and you could save up to £458.
All energy companies measure how much energy you’ve used in kilowatt hours (kWh). When you use 1000 watts of energy for 1 hour, that’s a kilowatt-hour.
A kilowatt hour gives you:
- 9 uses of a kettle
- 4 hours watching TV
- 24 hours gaming
- 286 hours phone charging
- 27 minutes ironing
- 31 hours on a laptop
- 1-2 cycles in a washing machine
- 80 minutes using a microwave
So, choose your appliances carefully. Some appliances use more energy in an hour than others. The more energy they use, the more they cost to run.
Here are some recommended articles with more tips and tricks to be more energy efficient while saving money:
Energy Saving Trust (Wales)
Warm Home Discount Scheme
Winter Fuel Payment
Optimised Retrofit Programmes (ORP)
Merthyr Valleys Homes is part of collaboration with 25 other housing providers across Wales working together to kickstart large scale decarbonisation across Wales.
Optimised retrofit is a retrofit of an existing home undertaken in any number of coordinated steps over time using a combination of building fabric improvements, low/zero carbon technologies, and intelligent ongoing operational controls. The aim is to take the home to it’s lowest achievable carbon footprint.
The approach plots the planned upgrade of a home over time, each home is unique and is assessed in significant detail to understand the measures that could work towards net zero carbon.
In 2020 – 2021 we started completing Whole Home Surveys in some of our homes to understand what measures could be introduced to improve their thermal performance and move them to a net zero carbon position over a period of years. This work will continue in the coming years as the project develops and we learn more about the measures that work on different property types.
Examples of some of the measures we already take to improve energy efficiency and provide affordable warmth are as follows:
We are still proactively looking to install loft top ups to properties. If you think your loft needs to be topped up to today’s standard, which is about 300mm, please contact us.
EXTERNAL WALL INSULATION
WHAT IS IT ?
An External Wall Insulation system (or EWI) is a thermally insulated, protective, and decorative exterior cladding procedure which involves the fitting of an insulating layer, such as expanded mineral wool.
The insulator is then covered with a reinforced cement based mineral or synthetic finish and then plastered and finished.
As part of the installation of the EWI system, the contractor will need to carry out a full survey of the property to identify any features, fixtures, or issues that need to be addressed before the work starts.
This could include the removal of pipe work and repositioning of satellite dishes. These items will be re-fixed following the installation.
The contractor will arrange for scaffolding to be erected and for windows, doors and other features to be protected.
The basic installations of external wall insulation systems consist of a layer of thermal insulation being fixed to your property walls.
To fix the insulation, the contractors will need to use an electric drill which may result in some noise being heard inside your home.
The insulation is then coated with a base coat render and reinforcement mesh and left to dry for a minimum of 48 hrs, this may take longer in cold or wet weather.
The final step is the application of the top finish coat, and this needs to be done in dry weather conditions. Depending on the finish you have chosen, smooth render or spar, the drying time will vary.