Spy in the sky
In the main Haringey Council has been delighted by the broadly positive articles published in the national and local press regarding the aerial thermographic survey. However we have been somewhat disappointed by the allegations that it is our intention to spy on residents or to name and shame those residents whose properties appear to be emitting the most heat.
Therefore, it was felt that it was important to provide residents with some background information about the project, to allay any concerns and also to publicise our aims and objectives with regard to energy efficiency and fuel poverty within the borough.
In 2006 the Housing Strategy and Performance Team based at Apex House, submitted a proposal to the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund for a project entitled 'Tackling Fuel Poverty.' The Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) was a special non ring-fenced grant which is made available to England’s most deprived local authorities, to enable the improvement of services in collaboration with the Local Strategic Partnership, thereby improving the quality of life for residents within these areas. The project was intended to reduce the incidence of fuel poverty within Haringey, to improve the energy efficiency of residents' homes and to contribute towards Haringey's endeavours with regard to climate change.
The project proposal was approved by the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund for the financial year 2006 - 2007 with the expectation that the funding would continue for the financial year 2007 - 2008. The Housing Strategy and Performance Team has recently received confirmation that this will indeed be the case and that the funding will continue.
The funding from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund enabled the employment of a dedicated Fuel Poverty Officer to work on coordinating the council's efforts with regard to affordable warmth work. The council also has responsibilities under the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995, which obliges all local authorities to make energy efficiency improvements and to report to DEFRA annually as to progress made.
The aerial thermal survey is the central tenet of the Tackling Fuel Poverty project, which seeks to employ innovative and novel methods to reduce the incidence of fuel poverty within the borough. Fuel poverty is defined as spending more than 10% of total household income on total household fuel use, however those unable to heat their properties to a comfortable level may not fall exactly within this definition.
It was decided that an aerial thermal survey would provide information regarding home heat loss that would otherwise take a great deal of time and money to obtain. What the aerial thermal survey provides is a heat loss value for each building in the borough. This enables us to target those properties losing the most heat with advice and information via direct mail, and those properties not emitting much heat may also merit further investigation. it is this ability to target a small and manageable number of properties from the 90, 000 total in the borough that makes the aerial thermal survey invaluable.
It was further decided that the more people who have access to the data the more use can be made of it. The World Wide Web provides a fantastic platform on which to display information for universal access and therefore it was decided to publish the heat loss information. In so doing it is hoped that residents will log on to the website to find out how much heat their property is losing and be motivated to take steps to reduce these losses.
Furthermore it was felt that being the first English Council to publish the results of the aerial thermal survey on the World Wide Web would generate a great deal of publicity for the council and raise the profile of the energy efficiency work currently being undertaken in the borough.
In that you are reading these pages, and hopefully intending to better insulate your home, the exercise has been a huge success!
The Year 2000 Survey data
While researching the thermal survey project, it was discovered that Horton Levi had carried out a survey of the whole of London in the winter of 2000. The data itself was owned by Hot Mapping and available to purchase at a very reasonable price. It was decided to purchase this data as there was a risk that the new thermal survey may not be carried out in 2007 should the weather conditions not be suitable. It was further felt that it would be very useful to purchase this data to enable comparison with the 2007 data, which would hopefully show that improvements had been made in blocks that had been insulated.
The 2007 Survey
Bluesky International were commissioned to carry out a current thermal survey of Haringey, which they in fact captured on the night of Friday 16 March 2007. This survey represents the most current data available on the amount of heat being lost from each and every building within Haringey. Bluesky were selected as the preferred contractor out of a total of three companies via the council's competitive tendering process.
It is very important to remember that the two surveys were conducted under different conditions, by different companies using different equipment. Therefore the results are not comparable. if you were out on the night the data was captured in 2000 and had switched your heating off, whereas on the night of the survey in 2007 you were having a party your property may appear to be losing more heat, despite the fact that you had installed loft insulation and made energy efficiency improvements in the intervening years.
The aims and objectives of the aerial thermographic study were:
- To obtain an indication of the energy efficiency of Haringey housing stock
- To promote the work the council is doing with regard to energy efficiency
- To increase public awareness of the amount of heat lost from their properties
- To publicise Warm Front grants and increase take up by Haringey residents
- To publicise the financial incentives available to residents for heating and insulation measures
- To write to those most in need of assistance, offering advice and information
- To assist Haringey Council with the fulfilment of its duties under The Home Energy Conservation Act
For further information on any of the companies involved in Haringey's aerial thermal survey please click on the links provided in the external links section at the bottom of the page:
- Horton Levi - Provided the Year 2000 data
- Hot Mapping - Processed the Year 2000 data
- Blue Sky - Carried out the Year 2007 survey and associated data processing
Should you require further information about Haringey Council's role in the aerial thermal survey and the commissioning process then please email firstname.lastname@example.org