Project helps homes save on energy bills

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RURAL cottage dwellers, taking part in an energy efficiency pilot scheme in Coleraine, could save up to £500 on their annual energy bills.

The Housing Executive launched the pilot scheme at three of its pre-1919 rural cottages, two at Bog Hill Road and another at Ballaghmore in Portballintrae in the Causeway area.

The scheme, which began in March of this year, saw external insulation provided as well as replacement windows and doors, fascia, soffit, gutters, downpipes and loft insulation.

The pilot scheme will assist the Housing Executive in determining its policy on refurbishment for other solid wall properties across Northern Ireland, according to the organisation’s Energy Conservation Manager, Noel Rice.

He said the initial results show that savings are already being made by tenants.

“Energy bills before and after the work are being monitored,” said Mr Rice.

The completed energy performance assessments of the first property have indicated potential savings in heating, lighting and hot water costs of up to £518 per year.

“Additionally, there has been a carbon dioxide emission reduction of 2.4 tonnes per dwelling and the overall energy use in the cottage reduced by nearly 44 per cent.

“It’s the intention of the Housing Executive to monitor energy costs of these three properties,” added Noel Rice.

One of the tenants said the work had made a marked difference.

“I noticed the difference immediately after the work was completed on my home. The first thing I had to do was turn down the thermostat from 25 to 20 because the house is too warm,” she said.