Why we need to talk about homes after gas – through a Horsham eco open house trial

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At our last Sussex Green Ideas Zoom event on Wednesday 16th June we learnt about the challenge of transitioning from gas and the urgent need to cut the 17% of UK emissions that come from heating our leaky homes. You can view the Homes after Gas presentation here.

It helps that we can now choose renewable energy instead of fossil fuels – and generally save money, this is our energy cost comparison and switching site www.Bigcleanswitch.org/SussexGreen it only takes about 5 minutes to switch!

But the next step is the end of gas heating. From 2025 new builds will not be connected to the gas grid. The government hasn’t yet set a cut off date for new gas boilers in existing homes but it will need to do this soon.

Electricity is the main alternative now. Hydrogen may develop as an option. Both are more expensive than gas. Homeowners and landlords will need to reduce total energy use if they want to save money.

They need a plan, firstly to make a home less leaky – through draughtproofing, insulation and/or better doors and windows. And then to install an efficient new system before the gas boiler fails!

The good news is that there will be skilled job opportunities – 3000+ in West Sussex – when more and more homeowners and landlords decide what their properties need to replace gas.

As individuals and groups, we need to talk about this, learn from each other ways we can insulate up, power down and green up our homes. People who have organised work on their own homes or rental properties can particularly help by talking about what they did, how they did it and what they think of the results.  This can be at exhibitions, or on-line – or through Eco-house trails. https://transitiontownlewes//lewes-eco-open-houses/   https://www.ttworthing.org/

Pauline, from Transition Town Worthing, explained how the Worthing Eco Homes started with three open houses in the first two years. It then became much bigger, through joint events with Steyning and Brighton and Hove – with some funding and lots of volunteer effort. Worthing’s plan for 2020, with Worthing & Adur Councils and Worthing Homes (Housing Association) included a community fringe event. She offered to mentor a Horsham team.

Horsham would like to gather eco home case studies in the first instance and put online, maybe run as Zoom events ‘meet the house owner’ and eventually develop into an eco open house trail. Contact Alison Marshall in the first instance 

Horsham District Council currently has some funding through the Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme to offer grant funding of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures to homeowners in Horsham who are on low income and living in a property with low energy performance. Please help us spread the word by distributing Warmer Homes Promotion Pack – LAD Programme 1b[68548].

And we will need more electricity. More local community energy schemes would help. There are various investment opportunities available eg through Triodos, Abundance, Ethex and Energise Africa – some with higher returns than other investment options.

District heating may also be part of the solution – but there are concerns about the use of waste to fuel them  www.ni4h.org.  There may also be electric alternatives eg. infrared heaters.

At the next meeting of Sussex Green Ideas, we will be exploring what we have learnt from two books which will have featured in Steyning’s Green Books programme. These are Chris Goodall’s “What we need to do now”. And Rob Hopkins “From What is to what if”. You can book these Green Book talks here. Then come and discuss both at Sussex Green Ideas on July 21st at 7.30pm. Regular attenders to Sussex Green Ideas use the same Zoom details every month. If you have not attended before please book through Eventbrite here.

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