Now where did we put that stepladder?
One issue that comes up time and again in our advice centres is hard-to-treat homes. In fact, much of Britain’s housing stock is old and energy-inefficient, which makes refurbishment a challenge. Lots of people want to increase the energy efficiency of their home but find that it isn’t going to be that easy to do: maybe it’s a big house, or a terrace, or a flat, or an old house with solid walls and rattly old windows.
With a cold winter coming and fuel bills once again on the rise, we’re happy to see the owners of perhaps the hardest-to-treat homes in Britain setting a good example. You don’t get much harder-to-treat than the Tower of London.
Yes – the royal family are cutting out the leaks in William the Conqueror’s Tower, along with Hampton Court Palace and the Kensington Palace Orangery, with a complicated programme of insulation.
We’re not saying the royals will be worrying about their winter fuel bills as much as many, but like everybody else they’ll be wanting to cut down. And by insulating these historic properties they’re following recent precedents set across the pond in the White House and the Empire State Building.
The numbers alone are huge: 11,000 rolls of insulation going into more than 4,500 square metres of roof across the three buildings, expected to cut £130,000 in total from the palaces’ gas bills. The insulation is expected to cut carbon emissions by 850 tonnes over its lifetime.
It’s going to require specialist expertise to install insulation in rafters that are more than 500 years old.
Jon Kimber, of British Gas, which is supporting the installation, makes a good point: “Whilst this project is a massive undertaking, insulating modern homes is the quickest and easier way to cut energy bills, reduce your carbon footprint and save money. Whether it’s a 500-year-old royal palace or a suburban semi-detached house, installing insulation makes financial and environmental sense.”
Quite. And they do say every Englishman’s home is his palace – so maybe it’s time for the aspiring royals around the nation to stop making excuses, grab a grant and lag up that loft. You might not save £130,000 – but at least you know you aren’t going to find any skeletons!