We have recently experienced strong winds, and cold weather has been forecast. The government has been encouraging us to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings, and now those of us who have upgraded our insulation and installed more efficient boilers can rest on our laurels feeling snug and smug.
If you have a new building, or have recently bought or rented, there should be an Energy Efficiency rating on the Estate Agent’s details. This gives a letter for the current performance, and a letter for the potential energy efficiency if improvements are made (A being most efficient, G being the least efficient). We use our in-house software to calculate the energy efficiency of new houses as we design them, and produce Energy Performance Certificates for them. Fundamental things such as the volume to surface area, and positions of windows have a big impact, so it is good to consider them at an early stage in the design process.
It was good to see that the majority of rooftop solar power installations survived the recent strong winds. The next test will probably be snow. Snow should quickly slide off the warm smooth surfaces of the solar panels, and reflected light from the ground should keep them working even when there are snow clouds overhead. The roof structure should be checked at the time of installation to ensure that it can support the additional weight of the panels, so snow should not cause a problem.
A final consideration; a lot of our Clients have installed wood-burning stoves. Where these have a traditional Chimney, Father Christmas can gain access in his normal manner. However, some have an external flue rather than a chimney. The manufacturers have assured us that they have been tested and approved as accessible by Father Christmas. It is not clear how they have managed to achieve this, as in some cases the diameter of the flue is extremely narrow. There is no British Standard for Father Christmas accessibility, and we understand that the each new flue design is sent off to the Lapland for testing under their own regime.