New webinars - what do you want to see?

We’ve churned out retrofit webinars in 2020 - with over 3,000 people attending virtually. In 2021 we have a session lined up on windows but we’re starting to plan ahead. So, what do you want to see? What topics should we cover? Which improvements or technologies should we discuss?

A breakdown of past webinars can be found here:
https://carbon.coop/carbon-co-op-webinar-programme/

Let us know!

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The idea of a webinar around insulation and insulation materials is something which has come up a few times in conversation. I expect it is on a lot of people’s minds at the moment given the weather, but I would think that it could be a popular topic year-round.

Someone also suggested a webinar around choosing the right house for a retrofit. Looking at the kind of things which might make a property suitable for a comprehensive retrofit prior to purchase.

I am sure there are loads of other ideas from people on here about what they would like to learn!

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I’d be interested in an in depth case study of a retrofit. What was planned, how the process went/is going, what problems were run into etc.

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Really like this idea. We have a few good projects like this we could showcase and other people we can invite in.

Floor Insulation yes please! And draught proofing. And what to do with chimneys. These are the first steps on the action plan from our Audit, and will theoretically get our house to 50% of the national average

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The GBS windows webinar was good but I (and I think a few other people) were interested in upgrading existing windows rather than replacing. I’d be interested in people’s experience of doing this. I’ve tried replacing single glazing with double glazing by deepening rebates and am contemplating going from double to triple on some hardwood frames, but am I wasting my time?

I’m also interested in suspended floor insulation from crawl space. I’m thinking of following the Green Building Store recommended method.

And below dpc external wall insulation is another job I’m contemplating and would like to know the options for.

Oh… and air source heat pumps…what degree of insulation and airtightness does your house need before they become effective and efficient? Maybe the February webinar will cover that.

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I’d like to know more about lighting. Things have moved on a lot in lighting technology and aspects like how different lighting solutions require different treatment in terms of fire risk (so implications for insulation above ceiliings) and airtightness solutions for light fittings.

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Welcome @Ann_Kolodziejski, @Chris_Wilkinson & @Jonathan_Whitehead to our forum, it is great to have you on-board.

These are some great ideas for webinars.

I think this is definitely something which we should try and cover in future webinars. We are absolutely going to be hosting more on the heat-pumps in the future as there is a lot of energy for this topic at the moment. You might also want to check out the 4 part Heat Pumps for Beginners course which we ran last year if you haven’t seen it already.

This is a really good idea. Both insulation and draught proofing can turn out to be a lot more complicated than they first appear! Having a webinar on these would definitely be of interest to a lot of people.

This is something I hadn’t really thought about, but I have seen some images on the Thermal Imaging Camera thread where light fittings appear to be a source of cold-spots, definitely something worth investigating!

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I’d also be interested in what a “Zero carbon ready” housing stock would look like. Clearly if every house was a passivhaus that would be great but it’s not realistic. There is a lot of talk about upgrading the housing stock, but upgrade to what level?

Is it going to require most properties to have external/internal wall insulation or will insulated cavities be sufficient for the majority of houses? Does triple glazing need to be standard? Will mvhr need to be standard? What will heating / cooking look like? Will everyone be part of demand modulation schemes to manage the grid?

The sort of thing that is on a larger planning scale than the individual householder.

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This is a great idea, have you seen the talk we ran at the AGM in July: “How Do We Make Homes Zero Carbon Ready?”. It isn’t exactly what you are talking about, which would make a really good future webinar, but it might still be of interest.

I’d not seen that. I will check it out, thanks.

Thanks for the awesome webinar programme in 2020 - a huge enabler for me!

Would it be too far out there to have a webinar on getting started with the more advanced home energy stuff on GitHub like the Octopus Agile data feed? Its fantastic stuff and I just need a little guiding hand to get going. I have a Pi and succeeded in setting it up and followed @matt 's blog to monitor environmental data but have hit a dead end in terms of further development. Or perhaps someone could make a blog identifying some useful training material already on the web?

Thanks. Chris

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Some great ideas that we’re working on getting presenters together for.

Meantime this is the next one in February on Heat Pumps
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/an-introduction-to-domestic-air-source-heat-pumps-tickets-138930349415

Many thanks for asking for ideas for future webinars in the e-mail/ newsletter sent out on 29th January.

The following two suggestions may be more for ‘down-the-line’ as part of getting wider audience (of homeowners) on board as they are probably more for those only just becoming aware of adopting low carbon lifestyles.

Suggestion 1: ‘Where are we on Electric Vehicles – Developments, Benefits, Challenges/ Myths and How to Ensure Running on Low Carbon’.

This could provide an introduction to where we are now and what is likely to happen over next few years – including with charging facilities. This could help those unsure about moving from the internal combustion engine and, also, link into Power Shaper, say, as a follow-on. It could reach a wider audience and, therefore, recruit extra members.

Suggestion 2: ‘Getting On Board with a Making Your Home Low Carbon with a Phased Retrofit’ (including case studies of those undertaking this approach plus tips on financing and using reputable contractors).

This, therefore, has a somewhat different emphasis to the existing Retrofit for Beginners (which I found very useful).

While the key is whole house retrofit and everything, including a phased approach, should start with a survey/ assessment, many may be concerned that it does require the ‘big bang’ of doing the whole house in one go. This may be, for example, that they find such a project daunting, may have recently invested in works that they feel could now be inappropriate (e.g. some double glazing instead of triple, new gas boiler instead of heat pumps etc) and may worried about finding sufficient funds.

Such a webinar could include the goal retrofitting the whole house but ease the path for those that feel they are not able to do that. It might help build a wider audience for the Co-op and lead to more members and, ultimately, clients. It might also include some implications of forthcoming Govt. Heat & Buildings Strategy plus highlight pitfalls - as well as opportunities - of initiatives such as the Green Grants Scheme.

Hope helpful - I realise more general webinar topics as introductions.

Cheers

Paul (member joined 2020)

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Thanks for your really detailed suggestions Paul! I particularly like the PowerShaper EV idea (but that might just be because it is the area I am working on more).

Welcome to the forum, and glad to hear that people are reading the newsletters I send out!

@ben this is definitely worth making a note of for the next phase of PowerShaper recruitment - would also possibly tie in with developments we are making on the smart meter side of things.

Thanks for comments Matt. I was a little concerned that I might have been be too detailed for both suggestions but wanted to explain thinking etc. I feel that many people might benefit from general introduction webinars to get their thinking around issues and overcome barriers – both to EVs and home retrofits. With EVs for me (and for others I’ve spoken to) it’s things like upfront cost, lack of second-hand market (given relative ‘novelty’ of the technology) plus concerns over range and charging. Cheers Paul

I believe that we can do more with a lot less. In particular, I believe that breather membranes are underutilised especially in combination with air-permeable sheep wool, mineral wool and maybe wood fibre depending on thickness. These widely deployed insulation types are susceptible to convection currents and heat loss. I would like to see detailed discussion on where and how best to use breather membranes and the potential cost and energy savings given the number of products now on the market.

We have had a heat pump for just over a year now and would be happy to share our experiences, good and bad, how our habits have changed and how to make them cost effective.
We have installed a few far infrared heaters to work with the heat pump, and upgraded radiators.

Hi Simon, How are you getting on with these and how do you control them?

We put in an A2A system last October and are putting hard flooring down in all rooms this summer. I’m toying with using infrared UFH (Termofol) in the lounge and bedrooms as a top-up heat source as we ween off the log burner. I have one infrared panel in my office as a test and am very impressed.

I have 3 panels currently.
The first was a Klarstein Wonderwall 60x60cm 350W panel in my loft office (this appears to be the current model, though it may not have the smart phone option). They are a bit utilitarian to look at, appearing to be a white board! They do have some nicer looking ‘art’ ones, at a price.
It has a conventional plug, built in thermostat, and smart phone app, which also provides a timer for switching it on/off. That’s fine in my study where I am a metre away from it and only turn it on when I am working . I have it set to turn off at 6pm, in case I get called away and forget. I really like it - far more comfortable than the fan heater I was using, lower energy use etc. My only gripe is that the on-device control panel buttons are poor quality. Annoyingly, there is no Home Automation integration and they have repeatedly stated they are not working on any; which is why I haven’t bought any more.

The other two are a 500W and 700W version of these: infrared ceiling panels “ThermoGlass-MAX” 5 years warranty. (infraredcompany.com), mounted in our ensuite and far end of our long kitchen (6 metres from the radiator, so often chilly). They look great and are compact; they don’t seem as efficient as the Wonderwall, however. They are also bare bones - no plug, on-board control or anything else. I have them connected to the mains via Sonoff smart switches and coupled to Alexa for control (no physical switch. I have routines that turn them on for 15 minutes and 30 minutes respectively, then turn them off again (“Alexa, warm the bathroom/kitchen”).

I’m happy with the devices - they let me add some warmth when and where I need it, in an energy efficient way and with the control I want. If I find any other cool spots in the house I will look at adding more.

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