Domestic Retrofit: Start by making a difference

Have you been considering a retrofit on your home but don’t know where to start? In this month’s blog, we talk for the first time to HIES Executive Assistant, Louise Auld, about her recent domestic retrofit and include some top tips about how to get started.

Having moved into a new build detached property 4 years ago, Louise and her partner recently retrofitted solar panels and battery storage fitted. With an already impressive B rating for her Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) prior to the works taking place, Louise was also looking to save money on future energy bills and protect them against any supply issues.

“In my day to day life I am conscious of my impact on the environment and reuse bottles and bags and recycle where I can’t reuse. I never knew a scheme such as HIES existed prior to finding out more whilst applying for my role. Then, when I started working at HIES and found out more about the protection the scheme offers and the benefits of having solar and battery fitted at home, it seemed like an obvious thing to do, so we took the next step. The internet is a minefield of information, so it’s definitely better to have an organisation like HIES to support you on the journey.

Initially we had a complete lack of understanding about how the system would actually work and what all the technical terms meant. There’s always that fear of the unknown and a temptation to keep the status quo as it is easy, but with knowledge sound decisions can be made. I was lucky to be picking up lots of useful information in my day to role, but for help and information, the HIES website provides information for consumers about the protection that is available to them when they use a HIES member.”

What’s your end game, Louise?

“It’s important to understand your ultimate goal before you set out on your retrofit. Do you want to become Carbon Neutral, save money or add value to your home. Once you know that, it makes it easier to find a way to achieve those goals as you have set your expectations. Then you need to get 2/3 quotes and compare them to see if they are within tolerance of each other. Especially when it comes to monetary figures because they should all be within 10% of each other. If the variance is greater than that, then something is wrong and needs further investigation.

As we have a new build, we knew that structurally, our roof would be in sound condition and not need any works prior to the solar panels being fitted. But as well as considerations in and around your home, you also have to consider the area in which you live and surrounding areas, in case there is anything around that might impact your decisions. For example, we’re about three miles from the coast and live very close to a BAE Aerodrome where they test their latest planes, so we needed to consider any restrictions in place there relating to solar installations in our area.

During the process of quote collecting, the installers were also able to advise us about the angle of our roof and the fact we are South/Southwest facing with no shading across our roof, which is ideal for solar panels. Should you need to have panels on an East or West facing roof then your installer would be able to provide the calculations of the estimated generation. Prior to signing any proposal, it’s important to ask as many questions as you feel you need to, as it’s important to iron out any queries before you agree to proceeding with the work. If you’re considering a retrofit project on your home, the most important thing to consider is using an accredited installer to ensure you benefit from the extensive range of protection mechanisms.”

Read part 2 here.