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The fabric first approach

Published: Wed, 4 Nov 2015
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Launching our Energy Efficiency Good Practice Guide are Chief Executive, Clark Bailie, Director of Regional Services, Siobhan McCauley and Noel Rice, Energy Conservation Manager
Guide launch photo
Improving a home’s thermal performance using a ‘fabric first approach’ is a key recommendation from our Energy Efficiency Good Practice Guide.
We are the Home Energy Conservation Authority for Northern Ireland, responsible for improving energy efficiency in all housing.  The Good Practice Guide aims to inform and influence all decision makers – from home owners to government officials, in addressing heat loss in homes.
The guide advocates a fresh approach to thermal efficiency. It is encouraging households to get the most out of the fuel used within their home and to keep heat where it is needed for as long as possible. By taking this approach, our Home Energy Conservation Unit believes it will make a significant contribution to the Northern Ireland Executive’s Programme for Government target to reduce fuel poverty as well as lower CO2 emission and at the same time enhance peoples’ health and well-being.
A list of recommendations have been made relating to the strategic context, energy issues across all tenures, fabric first approach, energy improvement and finance. The recommendations aim to contribute to the conversation regarding the refurbishment of homes and suggest ways forward for all tenures.
Our Energy Conservation Manager, Noel Rice, explained:
“The objective of energy efficiency is to get the most out of the fuel used within a home and to keep that heat where it is needed for as long as possible.  The Housing Executive firmly believes the correct approach to improving a home’s warmth is to enhance the thermal performance of the fabric of the dwelling – Fabric First Approach - and an upgrade of the heating system.  Only after this should renewable energy sources come in for consideration.”
Our Director of Regional Services, Siobhan McCauley, is pleased with the report and commented:
“As the Home Energy Conservation Authority for Northern Ireland we continue to seek ways in which to combat fuel poverty across all tenures.  It is clear from this guide that by persuading everyone to tackle heat loss in properties through improved roof, wall and floor insulation, triple glazing and draught exclusion considerable benefits can be had.  I commend the guide and trust it will encourage everyone to adopt a fabric first approach.”
The ‘Energy Efficiency Good Practice Guide (Adobe PDF 1579 KB) for refurbishment of the residential sector (low rise) 2015’ can be downloaded from our website.