An aerial thermal survey to assess heat loss from homes is being used by Herefordshire Council to raise awareness of poor home energy efficiency, reduce fuel poverty and support vulnerable residents. The survey by aerial mapping company Bluesky has been used to produce colour coded heat loss maps that are now available for residents to view on the Council’s website. By simply entering a postcode or address residents can get an instant snapshot of how their house is performing, in terms of heat loss, in comparison with neighbouring properties.
The online resource also links to guidance and advice on identifying fuel poverty, switching energy suppliers, and energy efficiency measures through the Keep Herefordshire Warm scheme – a partnership between Herefordshire Council and Marches Energy Agency. The scheme aims to reduce fuel poverty and support vulnerable customers to heat their homes at an affordable cost.
“The visibility and relative simplicity of the Bluesky data make it an excellent tool for raising awareness of home heat loss, thereby providing a catalyst for discussions around energy efficiency, fuel poverty and related topics,” commented Matthew Locking, Energy Strategy Officer at Herefordshire Council. “Our primary aim is to get residents and stakeholders thinking about heat loss and how it can be improved, as well as providing a route to explore this through our Keep Herefordshire Warm scheme.”
The survey was undertaken as part of the Green Deal Pioneer Places programme. Herefordshire Council was one of 132 Local Authorities to receive funding from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) under the scheme, which was designed to help stimulate home energy improvements, like insulation, through savings on people’s energy bills.
The heat loss data is also being used by Herefordshire Council within their desktop Geographical Information System (GIS) from MapInfo, and within the organisation wide solution Exponare. By comparing the Bluesky data alongside Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) data, officers can gain a better understanding of home energy use and the resulting carbon footprint.
The Bluesky heat loss maps will also be used by Herefordshire Council’s Planning and Environmental Health Teams, in conjunction with existing registered building outlines, to aid the identification and enforcement of illegal dwellings commonly referred to as ‘beds in sheds’.