Archive for January 4, 2015

Building a House in Ireland What You Need to Know About Low Energy Solutions

January 4, 2015

In 2006, the residential sector accounted for just under a
quarter of all energy used in Ireland & was the second largest using
sector after transport. Energy is consumed by the sector for the
purposes of heating, cooking, cleaning, washing, drying, lighting,
cooling & entertainment.

Due to the fact that our energy is
largely imported from a rapidly-diminishing resource of fossil fuels,
there is a huge onus of responsibility on home-owners & designers to
reduce the amount of energy required to live comfortably in our homes
as well as significantly increasing the amount of fuel domestically
generated from renewable sources. Irish consumer spend ?6 billion per
annum on imported fossil fuels – if we can be more energy-efficient
and/or use domestically generated fuels, then the economic &
employment benefits are very significant. Also, the environmental
benefits will be enormous for the country & the planet at large.

For
example, a house builder looking to build an energy efficient house in
Cork, or an existing home owner looking to perform energy saving updates
should consult with a specialist builder of Eco homes and sustainable
buildings. The savings made in long term heating costs will be far
greater than the initial investment in green building materials.

With
this in mind, the Irish Government has adopted & published “THE
NATIONAL ENERGY EFFICIENCY ACTION PLAN 2009 – 2020”, the primary tenets
which are as follows:

  • 20% reduction in energy demand across the economy
  • 33% reduction in public sector energy usage
  • 10% of our passenger & light commercial fleet to be electrically powered

The Action Plan also states that the two major energy efficiency challenges that face the residential building sector are:

  • To create a generation of buildings that meet expectations of
    comfort & functionality while significantly reducing energy usage
    & CO2 emissions
  • To address the legacy of older buildings with poor energy & CO2 performance

The primary driver for improved energy performance in new buildings
is the Building Regulations which are regularly upgraded. Contrary to
some popular belief, building standards have improved thru the boom
period, particularly when measured in terms of energy demand: a typical
2007 house will require 70% less energy than a 1987 house for space
& water heating purposes. However, there are many more energy-saving
measures to be rolled out. The 2002 Building Regulations are now being
used as the benchmark against which ongoing improvements are being the
measured. The 2007 Building regulations deliver a 40% more energy
efficient house than the 2002 version, while the upcoming 2010
Regulations will increase that margin to 60%. It is envisaged that in
2013, Low Carbon Homes will become the new standard, which will increase
the margin of energy efficiency to 70% from 2002.

Obviously, it will be a little more challenging to
deliver energy efficiencies in the huge stock of existing housing, much
of which was constructed to very low standards. It is estimated that 1
million houses approx require investment to improve their energy
efficiency. As many as 300,000 houses built pre-1981 have little or no
energy efficiency features & have very significant energy demand.

However,
it is hoped that home-owners can be incentivised with a number of
measures to improve the energy efficiency of their homes in order for
the country as a whole to meet it’s 2020 targets. In particular,
homeowners are currently being encouraged as follows:

  • Home Energy Saving Scheme: Grants are available for improvements
    such as cavity insulation, external wall insulation, attic insulation,
    condensing boilers, heating controls, etc
  • Building Energy Ratings (BER): All houses or apartments for sale or
    rent now have to have a BER. As the rating will be likely to become a
    factor in the price or rent that can be commanded, it is hoped that
    homeowners/landlords will be motivated to improve their stock. This
    rating will also be critical for the incoming homeowner or tenant as it
    will indicate their annual energy costs.
  • Smart Metering: The Programme for Government is committed to
    ensuring the installation of a smart meter in every household in
    Ireland. Smart meters support energy efficient behaviour in homes by
    offering consumers information on their energy usage and make clear the
    opportunities for change & improvement. They also include features
    such as net metering which allows users to sell micro-generated power to
    the national grid. International experience suggests that smart meters
    can prompt behaviour change, leading to electricity savings of at least
    3%.
  • Warmer Homes Scheme: This scheme addresses the problem of energy
    affordability by providing attic insulation, lagging jackets,
    draught-proofing, energy-efficient lighting, cavity wall insulation, etc
    at little or no cost to eligible households.
  • Greener Homes Scheme: This scheme provides grants to home owners to
    install new renewable heating systems in their homes such as Biomass,
    Heat Pump & Solar Thermal.

The Government is also involved in other areas in their endeavour
to deliver the target energy efficiencies, such as: better spatial &
planning policies, consumer awareness campaigns, best practice design
for social housing, etc.

The drive to low energy housing is a
win:win situation for all stakeholders: energy costs are reduced, carbon
taxes are reduced, huge economic & employment benefits, huge
reductions in CO2 & Greenhouse gas emissions which will make it a
healthier & more sustainable environment for all.

How To Make Your Garden Patio Look Good Without Spending Much

January 4, 2015

Trend of outdoor living is growing rapidly and need of garden patio follows. Have a look at any magazine and you would notice patio garden at one place or other. You just need to use your imagination to make your garden absolutely beautiful and unique. Everyone would like to have best garden in their backyard but budget may be a constraint for some as garden may get really expensive. Get thrifty and use containers around your house for decorating your garden.

If space is limited and you want to have lots of plants, place all of them in different containers. Grow anything (flowers/ dwarf citrus-trees/ conifers) in containers and arrange the containers in unused corners of your garden patio as that allows you 5/6 dissimilar plants in different containers. You can also use small tables for placing containers as that would bring colour as well as fragrance in your patio. It would also give you some place where you can place your drink glasses.

Another great idea that saves lot of space in small patio is building an arbour. Use climbers to hang plants and that would reserve complete space on floor for the furniture. You can also attach shelves for small containers.

Lot of people prefer building raised beds in their garden patio using a matching material (like brick/ stone). Build raised beds all around patio and entire garden can be planted in them. Taller plants in centre with smaller plants on sides can be a delightful view from patio/ yard. If you have lot of space, you can use container plants outside raised beds and that would further dress up your patio.

Garden Patio is a superb place to have your personal vegetable/ herb gardens. You can grow in raised beds/ containers or anywhere. These would not only look beautiful but would also make a great addition to your daily meals. Picnic table can also be used for containers/ barrels for creating corner garden. After vegetables have been harvested, you can plant fall flowers/ foliage in containers as that would extend the growing season.

You can either plan for a formal garden patio to entertain your guests. It would also be outdoor retreat for you and your family. Formal gardens can use space around patio to include sculptures/ water features. Raised beds/ cascading plants/ stairways/ tree, shrub planted in ground around your patio can make your garden look absolutely wonderful. You can also apply themes by planting many plants from same family. Bonsai as well as bamboo are quite popular but are time-consuming.

People who have lot of time/ money to hire a gardener can go for lush garden patio. Hundreds of plants look awesome but you must not forget that each and every plant has some specific needs that you must take care of regularly, or your garden may turn looking like a jungle. You must group plants as per their water/ soil requirements. It requires lot of work, but it is very rewarding. You can also add water features to make it better.

Energy Saving Tips for Households

January 2, 2015


Saving electricity is one of the most important activities for
households to not only save the environment, but also save on their
electricity bills. Although many people are already familiar with the
ways one can save on energy consumption, often they are still hit with a
bill shock when winter comes.


This article introduces some simple electricity saving methods that do
not require extensive effort, but still contribute to savings in
electricity bills.

Change light globes to more electricity efficient globes

Although fluorescent lighting is cheaper to buy, they will be more expensive in the long run, as they consume more energy.


It is recommended to change to LED lighting, which is the most
energy-efficient lighting option in stores at the moment. LED lighting
is more expensive to buy, but will save more energy, thus reducing a
household’s energy bill.

Change to more energy efficient appliances when it is time to replace old appliances

Old household appliances have a tendency to use more electricity and, therefore, to increase the energy bill.


When an appliance’s life cycle has reached its end, the best option
would be to change to a modern, energy-saving appliance. Again,
energy-saving appliances may be priced higher than appliances that save
less energy, but the savings in energy consumption will make up for the
higher price.

Use timers

Timers are a
great help when trying to save electricity; they make saving much easier
for households, thanks to their ease of use.

After the initial
set up, the timers will handle the heaters, Christmas lights and so on,
which means that they will not accidentally be left on to inflate the
energy bill.

Wash your clothes in lower temperatures

Washing clothes in lower temperatures is as friendly for the environment, as it is for the electricity bill.


When washing clothes in cold temperatures, there will be less energy
consumed when heating the water, which subsequently results in lower
energy bills.

Have shorter showers


Unless a person particularly enjoys cold showers, usually taking a
shower consumes energy when the water is heated to a pleasant
temperature.

As many do not take pleasure in ice cold showers, it is beneficial to keep showers as short as possible to save on energy.

Double-glaze your windows


Many households lose a lot of heat through their windows, which means
that these households need to keep their heaters running for longer and
at higher temperatures than households with better insulation.


Although getting your windows double-glazed may feel like a large
investment, it is a one-time expense and will save a lot of money on
electricity bills in the long run.

Turn off the lights when you are not in the room


Although energy saving light globes have contributed to some
significant savings in energy usage, it is still recommended to turn off
lights in rooms that are not being used, for extra savings.

When washing dishes or clothes, wash a full load

People often wash half loads in their washing machines, which is not recommended when wanting to save electricity.


If at all possible, it is recommended to wait until you have enough
clothes or dishes to fill up the whole machine. This way there is less
water and electricity usage.

Do not leave your computer or TV in standby mode


Computers, stereos and TVs use up electricity even though they have
been turned off. Often appliances like the ones above default to standby
modes when turned off, which means they are still using up electricity.

The best way to get around this is to turn off the power in the
power board, so the electricity will be cut off completely when the
appliance is not in use.

Painting and decorating services

January 1, 2015

Painting and decorating services There are many reasons why we need to paint buildings and objects; the main reasons are to make things look nice, smart and respectable. The other reason is more of a practical reason and that is to protect the building from the elements i.e. the winds rain etc. when there is lack of paint this can cause all sorts of problems. There are many people who just choose to paint building at periodical intervals, this isn’t necessarily the best course of action. Choosing to paint a building at periodical intervals may mean that the building isn’t necessarily in need of a new coat of paint, don’t worry though there are alternatives that you can choose for instance paint inspection. This article is aimed at given you all the positive reasons why you should choose a paint inspection rather than just opting for painting things at periodical interval. The article will then set out to inform you on where you can find more information on things like painting and decorating services and painters and decorators Cheshire. Painting and decorating services – the benefits Paint inspections are the way forward if you need to keep you building looking fresh whilst at the same time being protected from the elements. These paint inspections are done very carefully to ensure their evaluations are fair and meet the customer’s needs. These paint inspections are able to detect the following: ?The condition of the brickwork or any other material. ?The condition of the paintwork – this includes which layers of paint are flaking off. Painting and decorating services – to conclude When you combine the evaluations mentioned above you are able to decide how soon the building will need painting along with how much painting is required i.e. does the paintwork need an undercoat or just a few topcoats. A paint inspection will then be able to allow you to work out the amount of work needed which you can convert into associated costs. As you can see there are many positive reasons why you should choose a paint inspection, If you are still wanting more information then this can be found by entering the keywords -painting and decorating services’ into an internet search engine. This will allow you to work through all of the options that are available to you.

For the best painters and decorators Cheshire has to offer look no further than www.homedecorcongleton.co.uk. Home Decor has built a reputation for providing the best painting and decorating servicesin the area. a.