Green My Manse

Below is some easy and practical advise to consider if you look after a manse or live in a manse. It may also be relevant to your own circumstances if you are simply a member of public and wish to do what you can to save energy. If further assistance is required, you are welcome to approach the Synod Property Office staff and financial aid is available from the Synod Manse Fund. Some of the small changes you make to the Manse can be claimed back using the Synod Annual Manse Grant. An application to the Synod Manse Fund can be made for those larger items. Further details can be found in our Synod Manse Policy.

Insulating your loft area gives the best return on investment. If you increase your insulation depth to 270 mm at a cost of around £300, this will save you up to £165 each year on heating and also reduce your Carbon-Footprint by around 580 Kg of CO2 each year.

If your home has cavity walls and is more than 40 years old, you may be losing as much as 30% of your heating energy through the external wall cavities. (Newer homes are built with cavity insulation). Insulating your cavity walls by injecting insulating foam from the outside is a quick and easy way to stop this heat wastage and reduce your energy bill.

If you live in a bungalow, it may be worth considering insulating below the floorboards which could save you up to £40 each year on your energy bill.

Stopping heat loss through external walls behind heating radiators is very simply achieved by fixing reflecting sheets to the walls. This could save up to £19 each year on your energy bill.

Make sure that your hot-water-storage-cylinder is well insulated to minimise heat loss. Also check that any hot water pipes between boiler and cylinder have pipe insulation sleeves fitted, which will save up to £10 each year. You can do this yourself with sleeves from a DIY store. These sleeves may also help protect against freezing in the cold weather.

Thorough Draught-Proofing around your home could cost up to £200 but would save your heating energy costs by around £25 each year and if you have an unused chimney, fitting it with a draught-excluder, Chimney Sheep or Chimney bag could stop additional heat loss worth up to another £17 each year.

Drawing curtains or blinds as soon as darkness falls will also reduce heat loss.

Turning down your room thermostat setting by just 1 degree could save up to £60 each year on your energy bill.

New condensing boilers are 30% more efficient than the previous non-condensing boilers. A new gas boiler costs around £2,500 but will recoup its costs over four to five years in energy savings. If your manse boiler is coming to the end of its natural lifespan, the Synod will consider replacing it using the Manse fund.

You could consider installing an air source heat pump to replace a fossil fuel boiler. Although costing around £10,000 at the present time, it is expected that the price will come down as more and more are produced. External grants may be available to offset the cost of installation which the Synod will wish to see these avenues of funding explored. If you install solar PV panels on your roof, they will help to offset the energy required to drive the heat pump, minimising your energy costs.

If your manse heating controls are more than 15 years old, you may need to install a modern programmer, room thermostat and thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s) to make most efficient use of your heating energy. You could make savings of up to £75 each year by making sure each room is set at the minimum temperature needed at any time.

A ‘Smart’ meter could also help you save energy (and money) by making you aware of how much energy you use at any particular time.

LED lamps are now available to replace any existing light bulb or other unit. Although they are more expensive to buy, they use a minimum of five times less energy and last 10 times longer, so they are much cheaper to run and can save up to £40 each year on your energy bill.

Turning off lights when you are not using them will also save you up to £15 extra.

Taking a short shower rather than bathing will save both energy and water. Using a shower timer will help you reduce the time spent and save you more. Replacing an inefficient shower head with a modern water-efficient version will again save both water and energy.

Using a bowl to wash up rather than leaving the tap running will save water. Turning off the tap when cleaning your teeth, washing or shaving will reduce water wastage – only use the tap when needed.

Making sure machines have full loads before using, will save water and energy. Using one less washing cycle a week could save £36 each year. Always use cold water if possible.

Only fill the kettle with the volume of water you need.

A dripping tap can waste 5,300 litres of water a year, costing you £16, so check taps are completely off and renew any leaking tap washers.

Consider the environment when you fill up your weekly refuse bags, which may end up in landfill or be incinerated. What could you recycle? Most local authorities provide recycling facilities. Your local council should be able to advise on recyclable items, such as paper, glass, textiles and cans.

Many people keep items for the future that may never be used, filling up loft space needlessly. If you have not used something for a few years, consider donating to family, charity or recycling it.

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Note: The recent sharp increases in energy prices means that the savings will be higher than those quoted above.