Sunday, 20 January 2013

Home energy saving advice

Home energy saving advice

Installing domestic insulation measures and reducing the energy we use in the home, can help make big savings on our fuel bills.
For example by installing cavity wall and loft insulation measures and switching off unused appliances and lights, you can save energy, money and in the process reduce your carbon footprint.

Energy saving advice booklet

We produce an energy saving general advice booklet to help residents save energy and reduce their fuel bills. See booklet attached below.
General Advice Booklet.pdf (32 pages, 3039kb)

Simple tips to help you save energy

  • Turn down the central heating thermostat by 1ºC and the hot water cylinder thermostat to 60ºC - this can reduce heating bills by up to ten per cent and save you around £50.00 per year on your heating bills.
  • Turn off the central heating if you are not in the house.
  • Never open windows or doors to cool down a room, instead turn down the heating thermostat.
  • Close your curtains at dusk and tuck them behind radiators, which will reduce the heat escaping through the windows. 
  • Check that your furniture is not too close to radiators or heaters as this blocks heat reaching the rest of the room. 
  • Mount aluminium foil on cardboard and slip behind your radiators fitted against outside walls. The foil will reflect the heat back into the room.
  • Always turn off unused lights when leaving a room.
  • Never leave appliances on standby or charge unnecessarily.
  • Use the half-load or economy programme on a washing machine, tumble dryer or dishwasher where applicable.
  • Only boil as much water as you need, but remember to cover the elements if you are using an electric kettle. 
  • Install low energy light bulbs in lights that are left on for long periods.

Home insulation measures

The quicker heat escapes from your home the higher your heating bills will be. However, if you insulate the walls and the roof in your home, the heating system will need to produce less heat and this will save you money and reduce your carbon dioxide emissions.
Priority areas are loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and draught-proofing. Insulating your walls and loft could save up to £120 a year on your energy bills. 
Visit our page on Home insulation grant schemes for more information on the grants available to residents of County Durham.

Central heating programmer and room thermostat

Whatever form of heating you have, it needs to be properly controlled to ensure it only produces the heat when and where you need it.
By fitting a central heating programmer to your boiler you will only heat your home when needed. Remember that your home will still stay warm longer if it is well insulated.
Turning down your room thermostat by just 1°C can reduce your heating bills by 10 per cent and you will be unlikely to notice the difference in comfort.

Thermostatic radiator valves

Fitting thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) on each radiator will help you keep each individual room at the right temperature - cooler in bedrooms if you prefer and warmer in living room.

High efficiency central heating boilers

Modern high efficiency boilers use much less fuel than old boilers. If your boiler is more than 15 years old you should think about replacing it, especially when it next needs major repairs.
New boilers are rated for their energy efficiency to show their running costs. Before buying a new boiler check how energy efficient it is as this could save you money on your heating costs. 
Whether you upgrade your heating system or not, regular annual servicing will prolong the useful and efficient life of your boiler and can prevent any disasters.

Water heating

An average home uses about 20 per cent of its energy bills on water heating.
There are a number of ways to cut bills while still having enough hot water for your needs.
Fitting a hot water tank jacket costs only a few pounds and will pay for itself in lower fuel bills in a matter of months. If you have a thermostat on your hot water storage cylinder, you can turn it down to 60°C and reduce your heating bills. Take a shower instead of a bath - it only uses about 40 per cent of the amount of hot water.

Domestic appliances

Remember cheap does not always mean energy efficient and the energy efficiency of electrical appliances vary considerably from model to model. So if you are buying a new appliance it is well worth looking for those which are energy efficient - even if they cost a little more.
Always check the energy rating of the appliance before purchase as this will show the approximate running costs.

Fridges and freezers

Fridges and freezers are the most hardworking appliances in our kitchens as they are on the go 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Buying an energy efficient fridge could save up to £45.00 a year on your electricity bills.


Remember not to leave televisions, DVDs, stereos, computers and mobile phones on standby or on charge unnecessarily. But check the operation manual to make sure that this won't reset the appliance's memory.

Washing machines

Wherever possible always wash a full load or use a half-load or economy programme if your machine has one. Use the low temperature programme as modern washing powders will be just as effective at lower temperatures.


Choose the right size pan for the food and cooker (the base should just cover the cooking ring) and keep lids on when cooking. With gas, the flames only need to heat the bottom of the pan. If they lick up the side then you're wasting heat.


Heat the amount of water you really need and try to prevent over filling your kettle and if you are using an electric kettle, make sure you cover the elements. Jug-type kettles need less water as they have smaller elements.

Domestic lighting

Always turn off lights when you leave a room and adjust your curtains or blinds to let in as much light as possible during the day.
If you use a particular light for an average of four hours or more a day, fit an energy saving light bulb. 

Double glazing

Double glazing traps air between two panes of glass, reducing heat loss, noise and condensation. If you cannot afford to replace the glazing in the whole house, why not choose the rooms that cost you the most money to heat and you could reduce heat loss in your home by up to 20 per cent.
Double-glazed windows come in a variety of sizes and styles but it's worth checking any restrictions on your house due to age and location.

How to choose or change an energy supplier

There are many competitive schemes to supply gas and electricity and it is always best to check if you are receiving the most competitive deal from your energy supplier.
See the attached leaflet for steps to choosing or changing your supplier.
How to Choose or Change Your Energy Supplier.pdf (2 pages, 248kb)

Home truths about energy and climate change

Every time we turn on our heating, switch on lights, heat water, cook, or use any gas or electrical appliance in our homes, we may be damaging our other home - the earth - by adding to the threat of global warming. Using our cars could make the problem even worse.
Over a quarter of the carbon dioxide produced in the UK comes from energy used in the home. This figure increases to around 40 per cent if we include the use of cars.
We burn fuels such as coal, oil, or gas for energy; in power stations to make electricity for running electrical appliances and lighting; to heat the home; and for cooking. If we cut the amount of energy we use in our homes and cars, we reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that increase the risk of global warming.
Most of us are using much more energy than we need, and therefore producing unnecessary carbon dioxide emissions. The energy used by the average home creates 7.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. This can easily be reduced by one-fifth, or even up to a half, by taking some of the steps recommended in this web page. At the same time, you will reduce your fuel bills by a similar amount - so benefiting the planet and your pocket.
 Warm Homes Healthy People Oxfordshire
The Warm Homes Healthy People initiative has been set up to tackle the adverse effects of cold housing during the winter months. Across Oxfordshire we want to help people stay warm and well.
Taking steps to keep warm is not just for when you are heading outside.  Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health and one of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.  Being warm and well during winter can keep coughs and colds at bay, but can also protect you from serious illnesses such as pneumonia.  The chances of these problems are higher if you are vulnerable to cold related illnesses because of one or more of the following:
  • You are over 60 
  • You struggle to find enough money for fuel bills
  • You have a long-term health condition such as heart disease
  • You are disabled

Follow these top five tips to stay warm and well this winter:

  1. Keep the heat in your home: Insulating your home helps to keep the heat where you want it, and ensures your money goes as far as possible.  Ensure your heating is set for the right time and temperature: recommended to be between 18 and 21 degrees centigrade.
  2. Get financial support: There are grants, benefits and sources of advice available to make your home more energy efficient, improve your heating or help with bills.  Financial help, such as the Winter Fuel Payment, is available to people finding it hard to meet their heating costs. For more information call 0800 107 0044.  
  3. Eat well and keep moving: Food is a vital source of energy, so try to ensure you have hot meals and drinks regularly. Keeping active will generate body heat, helping to keep you warm.
  4. Get a flu jab: Available for free from your GP to protect yourself against seasonal flu if you are over 65, have a long-term health condition, or are pregnant.
  5. Look after yourself and others: On cold days, try to avoid going outdoors; but when you need to, remember to wrap up warm. If you have older friends, neighbours or relatives, look out for them during winter to make sure they are safe and well.
We are pleased to announce that Oxfordshire has been awarded £152,754 as part of the Department of Health’s Warm Homes Healthy People Fund. This will allow the Oxfordshire WHHP partnership to build on its successes from last year, to continue to identify and support vulnerable local people through the winter. 
A range of community and voluntary sector organisations will work in partnership to deliver the following initiatives:
  • A campaign using media and direct marketing to promote and give advice on keeping warm and well this winter 
  • General help and information is available by calling the Affordable Warmth helpline on 0800 107 0044. Friendly staff are available to answer this freephone helpline 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but an answer service is available outside of these times.
  • Oxfordshire Citizen’s Advice Bureaus will be offering quick checks of benefit entitlement to see if individuals can claim extra support to help keep on top of fuel payments.
  • Community action schemes to help identify vulnerable isolated older people in local communities to help deliver practical preventative support.
  • Home Improvement Agencies will be able to provide and install a range of practical measures to keep homes warm. These will be provided to those over 60 and those in vulnerable groups. Measures include emergency heating repairs, heating controls, draught-proofing, and radiator panels.
  • Oxfordshire Community Foundation will be expanding its ‘Surviving Winter Campaign’ offering financial support to nominated individuals who are on low incomes or having to use a high proportion of their income on heating bills.
  • Offer of free interactive talks for social groups on how to keep fuel bills under control whilst keeping warm and well over winter. For more information and to book a slot for your group, please e-mail or telephone 01993 894 834.
  • Oxfordshire Rural Community Council  will be working with residents who use oil for thair heating fuel, reducing fuel bills by recruiting households to bulk oil buying schemes. Also the use of 'smart meters’ in oil tanks will be piloted in selected households to test their effectiveness in better managing and monitoring fuel use.

Wake up to a warmer home with the Home Heat Helpline
Advice and benefits for disabled people
Why worry?
If you are disabled and are worried about your heating bills, you are not alone. However, it is never too late or too early to prepare for the winter months and find out how to save money on heating your home. This guide tells you how the Home Heat Helpline, a free advice line for people worried about their fuel bills, can help you.
What am I entitled to?
If you’re receiving benefits such as the disability living allowance or council tax benefit, you may be eligible for additional grants to insulate your house and improve your home’s energy efficiency. In addition, energy suppliers may have special tariffs to help those in financial difficulties pay their bills, rather than getting into debt. If you are visually impaired, bills and advice are available in large font, Braille or as ‘talking bills’. And if you have manual dexterity problems you may benefit from specially adapted controls for some of your household
appliances. You can also ask to be put on the Priority Service Register, which gives free access to a range of services designed to make your life easier. It makes sense to find out about the services that you’re entitled to.
What can I do?
Your first step is to call the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99. The Helpline is staffed by experts who can help you find information on grants to insulate your home or install new heating. They can also help you cut down on your bills by saving energy around the house and applying for grants from the government and from energy suppliers. If you have a question about staying warm or paying your gas and electricity bills, the helpline can put you in touch with somebody who can help.
The advice they can provide about getting insulation fitted for your loft or walls, installing double glazing and replacing your central heating system, can cut your bills and make sure you can stay warm through the winter. If you know anyone who might go cold this winter, you can help them by visiting them to check that they are keeping warm. You can also call the Home Heat Helpline on their behalf for advice, or give them a copy of this guide. Download extra copies from our website at :
This guide is available in other languages, Braille and as an audio book - call the helpline to find out more
0800 33 66 99
Minicom: 0800 027 2122

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Our Vision and Services

Our vision is of a society where no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health.

Mental health problems are extremely common across society, with one in four of us experiencing them in any year. Despite being so common, people from all communities will still experience discriminatory attitudes and behaviours that can prevent people from speaking out, seeking support and playing full and active roles in our communities. The impact of mental health stigma and discrimination will vary between communities as mental health has a cultural context that affects the way communities talk about the subject and engage with people who have mental health problems. In some cultures depression, for example, doesn't exist and in others an experience of a mental health problem can be attached to a sense of shame.

For the African and Caribbean communities a key issue is the overrepresentation of young African and Caribbean men in mental health services. Misconceptions and stereotypes have led to a perception that this group is more likely to pose a risk of violent behaviour and, as a result, they are more likely to be treated as inpatients and sectioned when compared to other groups. It is well documented that this has led to a fear of talking about mental health issues more openly and a fear of using mental health services. Research by the Race Equality Foundation (2011) also highlighted fears that discrimination against Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) communities and migrant service users will increase in the austerity climate and whilst commissioning arrangements change.

Our Services

· Provide information, advice, advocacy

· Represent diversity communities in Health Care services, policies and strategies

· Organise training in health and social care in collaboration with local colleges

· Provide human resources ( including interpreters) who are suitable to the diversity communities especially to break language and cultural barriers

· Provides domiciliary care and support

· Provide services such specialised support for people with mental health needs, including people who suffer from short-term memory problems, Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

· Provide visits to elderly people and help them with outings and home services

· Participate in local authority and NHS consultations , research events and programmes to voice the needs of diversity communities.

· Increase access to services and rights for disadvantaged people and the most vulnerable of our society

· Help and support unemployed people to look for work, including training and job preparation

· Provide legal advice in a range of issues from on Immigration and Asylum , welfare benefits, housing, health, education, community care, and training, employment, etc.

· Provide advice and guidance, information and practical help so that our service users can access opportunities they are entitled to

· Organise training and other community learning opportunities that provide new skills, increase confidence and motivation

· Support our service users to overcome barriers to learning, employment and training

· Provide support for young people with their education, training, confidence building, employment and social needs.

Objectives of our Diversity Living Programme:

· To promote the inclusion and participation of diversity communities* in integrated care.

· To inform policy, locally and nationally, and assisting in the formulation of effective policies, strategies and good practices in integrated care in order to contribute to improved health outcomes for the people from the diversity communities (e.g. Black and minority ethnic communities) and to ensure health services are able to meet their specific needs.

· To improve the quality of life for diversity people with disability, mental health problems and their families and carers through integrated care by providing inclusive advocacy and information.

· To provide service that enable diversity groups and individuals with disability /elderly and their carers to make the right choice for themselves and have an influence on decisions made about their future.

· To promote the rights of diversity people with disability, their families and carers and make sure their rights are safe and protected.

· To promoting access to information regarding healthcare issues and to raise awareness of the needs of diversity disabled children, young people, older people and their families.

· To promote the rights of older and disabled diversity people, helping them overcome and enable them to participate in decisions about their future

· To provide support and information to those suffering the isolation and loneliness that can be associated with disability and old age

· To fight against mental health stigma in refugee, black and minority ethnic communities and ensure no one should experience discrimination on the grounds of their mental health or disability.

*Diversity communities are older people, disabled people, Black, Asian, refugees, migrants, asylum seekers and other ethnic minorities.