Notes from Catherine Rowett, former Green Party MEP for East of England and deputy coordinator of the Eastern Region Green Party*(UK). Biographical reflections on life as an MEP. Longer reflections and discussions on issues relating to policy, the good life, justice, equality, anti-austerity economics and the future of the planet. This is also a forum for exchanging ideas on how to tread lightly on the planet and avoid supporting exploitation and corrupt practices. Here we go...

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Heating 4

In Cambridge we've turned down the thermostat on the heating from 20º (that's roughly where we had it mostly last winter) to 19º. So far, not a problem, except that the way thermostats work it has to get down to quite a bit less than 19º before the heat comes on again. When the weather isn't very cold, the process of going down below 19º can take a very long time and we seem to sit at about 18º for ages. Then you get chilly, especially since you hadn't put on your largest woolly jumper, since it was a mild day. So ironically, it's warmer and more comfortable in cold weather than in mild weather. And this winter has been mainly composed of mild weather.

In Norwich I typically keep the panel heater set quite low, and on a time switch, and then use the coal fire to make the main living room feel warm when I'm there. The rest of the house is generally quite cold. The bathroom is always very cold, hopelessly cold.

Is this an efficient way to do it, I wonder? In 2005/6 the cost of gas and electricity for the Cambridge house was £873.79 and for the Norwich cottage it was £366.12. In Cambridge we have 9 warm rooms for that price; in Norwich we have one warm room (some of the time).

Umm. This might have something to do with double glazing and other things regarding insulation. I think I need to do some experiments. Would it be worthwhile installing central heating in Norwich I wonder?


Richard said...

"In 2005/6 the cost of gas and electricity for the Cambridge house was £873.79 and for the Norwich cottage it was £366.12."

I don't know about your energy supplier, but Powergen scale their prices depending on the amount of energy used. Amazingly, the more you use the cheaper it gets - 3.5p for the first 1000kWh used, then 2.8p thereafter, for example.
Therefore, your Cambridge house is probably not using 2.3 times the energy as your Norwich house; it's probably more like 3-4 times, which would seem about right...
What a great incentive to save on energy usage!

Catherine Rowett said...

We don't use Powergen anymore (their estimated bills were grossly out of line with actual usage during the price wars last year). I'm not sure if the totals I quoted in this post were Powergen charges, nor whether they had the sliding scale you mention then.

In Cambridge we now use the RSPB Green energy tariff from SCOTTISH AND SOUTHERN Energy Group.