Government announce increased cashback rates for Green Deal

The Government have announced increases to the incentives available to encourage participation in the Green Deal scheme. Our guide shows the new rates available to any cashback applications made or redeemed on or after 13 December 2013. They will be available until 30 June 2014.

The increases are especially useful for those who would like to install solid wall insulation where the cashback rates have increased from £650 to a maximum of £4000 and room-in-roof insulation for which the rates have increased from £220 to £1000. This should help to make these relatively expensive measures easier to fund.

The cashback administrators have confirmed that households claiming cashback before 1st April can also claim ECO grants, but from April onwards the two funding sources will not be able to be combined. Cashback is also not available for those benefiting from GD communities funding. cashback

For more information call us or email   

Useful links:
Government cashback leaflet:
Government cashback press release:

Environment and Ethics week at the University of Southampton

tEC were part of the Environment and Ethics week at the University of Southampton last week. We had a couple of stalls at the E&E Energy and Transport event on Friday and gave away lots of draught proofing materials and advice leaflets to students.

We also attended the Southampton Hub Sustainability Festival on Saturday. During the festival we carried out a workshop, showing guests how to draught proof doors and windows, and demonstrating how to thermally line curtains. Everyone also had a chance to try the different types of draught proofing for themselves on our demo doors, windows and curtains and we provided free materials for them to use in their own homes.

Photos from the events:

Local MP visits day care centre to highlight issue of cold homes


Back row, L to R: Alan Oade and Brian Williams (centre volunteers), Maria Vicente (centre manager), Alan Whitehead MP, Peter Bennie (Age UK Southampton), Amy Liff (Age Concern Hampshire), Adam Goulden (the Environment Centre (tEC)) Front row, L to R: Padwell day centre users Colin, Mike, Eileen and Betty

A cold wind was blowing and the rain was falling yet again but the mood was warm at Southampton’s popular day care centre, Padwell Road, when local MP for Southampton Test Alan Whitehead dropped in to visit some of the city’s older residents last Friday.

Every day, 30 of the city’s physically and mentally frail older people come to the Padwell centre to enjoy good company, lots of activities and a warming lunchtime meal.

Colin Laker (64), Mike Preston (75), Eileen Humpleby (91), and Betty Lloyd (89), pictured above, have all found the day centre a godsend. Some users have even christened it Costa Padwell, because it’s where they feel on a welcome holiday from the worries of daily life.

But this was more than a social visit. Scarves were donned and placards waved in support of the charity Age UK’s national campaign to highlight the urgent need to ensure warm homes for all, especially older people. Age Concern Hampshire runs the centre, working closely with Age UK.

Peter Bennie, the new chief officer of Age UK Southampton presented Alan with a hand-knitted scarf to highlight how much keeping warm matters at this time of year, for older people in particular.

“We are really grateful to Alan for coming along and showing support for Age UK’s campaign for warm homes,” he said. “The charity is calling on the government to commit to a major programme of investment to make millions of homes much more energy efficient.  It’s the only way to ensure warmer homes and lower bills for everyone.”

“Tens of thousands of older people in the UK die prematurely every winter, and more than a million older people are unable to afford enough heating for their homes. In Southampton alone, 100-150 people aged 65 and over die unnecessarily every winter.

“At the same time, nearly ten thousand households in the city spend over 10% of their income on fuel to keep warm. For them, ‘fuel poverty’ often boils down to a choice between heating and eating.”

As senior manager of the Environment Centre (tEC) Adam Goulden explains: “Homes with solid concrete walls are particularly hard to keep warm, and Southampton has lots of them, all part of a major rebuilding of the city after it was badly bombed in World War II.”

“But instead of speeding up our warm home efforts, nationally we’re slowing down. Loft insulation can make a huge difference, but UK retrofits plummeted by 93% between 2012 and 2013, while work to insulate solid walls with special cladding fell by nearly 80% in the same period.

“Yet we all know that energy-efficient homes are the only real way to prevent fuel poverty in the long term, especially for older people who are at home much of the day.”

Alan Whitehead, who also chairs two parliamentary committees on environment issues, thinks that long term planning is the answer. “Across the UK, we have over 2 million fuel-poor households,” he points out. “We badly need in a long-term, co-ordinated strategy to upgrade this country’s dreadful housing stock, and that’s what I’m pressing for.”

Sources: Excess Winter Mortality in England and Wales, 2012/13, ONS, published 26 November 2013.

Practical advice:

If you live in Southampton and are struggling to keep warm this winter, you can:  
  • Call Age UK Southampton’s Money Matters service on 023 80368 636. The charity has teamed up with the Environment Centre (tEC) to offer people aged over 50 lots of good practical advice about keeping your home warm and your fuel bills manageable
  • Call the Environment Centre (tEC)'s freephone advice line on 0800 804 8601. The organisation offers practical advice about how you can live sustainably, including keeping your home warm, conserving energy, and avoiding polluting our environment.
And if you are interested in day care for yourself or someone you know:
  • Padwell Road Day Centre (T: 023 8022 7166) provides day care for the older people of Southampton city centre, including social and craft activities, hairdressing, laundry, bathing and podiatry services. Funded by Southampton City Council and run by Age Concern Hampshire, working closely with Age UK, it is currently managed by Maria Vincente

Press release from Age UK Southampton

Energy Action North Hampshire Launch – 15th February

Energy Action N Hampshire

On 15th February Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, in partnership with Hart District Council and Climate Energy will launch Energy Action North Hampshire, a project to reduce fuel poverty in the borough. This project will enable access to ECO funding to provide free home energy efficiency improvements in households where homeowners and private housing tenants are in receipt of the required benefits.

Council Officers and Climate Energy staff will be taking over Unit 2, Castle Square (next to Jessops) on Saturday 15th February to publicise this offer. Drop in if you are in town or want to talk to someone about what you can have done in your property.

For agencies who work with people who might be eligible for this project, there will be two briefing sessions in the Civic Offices on Thursday 13th February at 10.30am and 11.20am in the Council Chamber, when Climate Energy will be providing an overview of the project and answering questions.  Please go along if you would like to learn more about the project and/or they can also provide you with leaflets and posters to help promote the project.

For any further information, please contact Lucy Martins, Climate Change Officer by email:  or phone: 01256 845620.

Southampton Fuel Poverty Event – Tuesday 11th February

SCC logo

On Tuesday 11th February Southampton City Council will be hosting an event for local community and voluntary groups about saving energy and keeping warm at home. The Environment Centre (tEC) will be there, will you?

The aim of the afternoon will be to: “Raise your awareness of the impact of cold homes on health and what local solutions are available.”

The high cost of energy and being able to keep warm at home at a reasonable cost is a big concern to many Southampton residents. There is help available but is often tricky to identify if you don’t know your Green Deal from your ECO!

NEA logo National Energy Action (NEA), a leading national charity working to eradicate fuel poverty and improve investment in energy efficiency will be on hand, as well as other local organisations working to reduce fuel poverty in homes in Southampton, for you to learn more about what help is available to Southampton residents.

This event is on Tuesday 11th February 2014, from 2.00 until 4.00pm, in Conference Rooms 3 and 4, Municipal Block, Civic Centre. To book a place please contact Claire Roberts on either 023 8083 2677 or

Draught-proofing at the Repair Cafe

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Photo credit: Ann MacGillivray
During November we held DIY workshops in conjunction with Transition Southampton and their Repair Cafe at SOS Hardware, in Bitterne Park Triangle.

On Saturday 2nd November there was a ‘Sew and Save’ curtain-lining workshop, where people brought along their unlined curtains and we helped them make a cosy thermal lining for the curtains to keep the cold out this winter. Thick curtains are an effective low-tech way to prevent heat loss at home, not just from windows but also external doors, and by lining them yourself rather than buying new ones you save even more money.

On Saturday 23rd November there was a ‘Repair Cafe’ draught-proofing workshop, with practical DIY demonstrations and free giveaways of materials. These included self-adhesive draught-proofing tape to stick round windows, doors and loft-hatches, reflective radiator panels that go down the back of your radiator and reflect the heat back into the room rather than heating the outside wall, door and letter box brushes to stop cold air coming through gaps in the door and secondary glazing film for a short-term cheaper alternative to double glazing. For more information on these measures and more, we have handy DIY guides available here. For some local coverage of the event, have a look at the article on the Bitterne Park info website.

To see what events we have coming up, have a look at the project page on our website. If you would like to book a workshop for your community group or would like help draught-proofing a community space, please phone: 02380 336172 or email: to find out more.

Residents in Whitehill Bordon get ready for winter

Draught-busting event_Sat 16th Nov

On Saturday 16th November tEC’s energy advisors teamed up with the Whitehill Bordon Eco Town project to help local residents learn how to get their homes ready for winter.

Residents who called in to see us at the town’s Eco Station came away full of new ideas and armed with the materials they needed to make their homes cosy in time for winter.

Our practical demonstrations of installing draught proofing, reflective radiator panels and secondary glazing and our handy how-to guides were gratefully received. One happy customer said:

“I’m so glad I came. It’s been really useful and I have learnt lots of new ideas. Thank you so much!”

Cosy Homes Roadshow at the Friends Meeting House

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In October the Cosy Homes Roadshow visited the Friends Meeting House in Southampton.

Working with Southampton’s Quaker Group we held public drop-in events on Tuesday 1st and Saturday 5th October, providing DIY advice and free draught-proofing materials, to help people get their home ready for winter.

To see what events we have coming up, have a look at the project page on our website. We also have some  handy DIY guides available here.

If you would like to book a workshop for your community group or would like help draught-proofing a community space, please phone: 02380 336172 or email: to find out more.

Hitting the Cold Spots Launch Event


Hitting the Cold Spots Winter 2013 -2014

Invitation to the Launch Event
Friday 11th October, 2013
Winchester Discovery Centre

For the third winter Hampshire County Council with its partners, are running the Hitting the Cold Spots campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to reduce the effect of cold housing and fuel poverty, and promote the health and wellbeing of vulnerable families and individuals, by providing a range of practical local services accessed via the helpline – 0800 804 8601.
Two briefing sessions are being held on Friday 11th October at the Discovery Centre Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB

Morning 10.00 – 12.00 pm
Afternoon 1.00 – 3.00 pm

The sessions will include
• Details of this year’s “offer” from each of the partners involved
• Help to identify priority areas and vulnerable clients
• Promotional materials available to take away

To book a place please email or telephone David Harris on 01962 847982 detailing your name(s) and which session you would like to attend.

Please respond by Friday 4th October, 2013

For more information please go to the following webpage

Black Heritage Centre gets Energy Makeover

Faced with another year of expensive heating bills and a limited budget to spend on improving their building, members of Southampton’s Black Heritage Centre teamed up with the Environment Centre (tEC) last week to ‘do-it-themselves’.

An action-packed day saw tEC’s energy advisors helping the group to draught proof external doors, fit temporary secondary glazing to cold single glazed windows, and install reflective panels behind radiators. Not only will this help to make the centre warmer and easier to heat this coming winter, but several members now plan to put their new skills into practice at home. And, thanks to Energy Action Southampton, they have been provided with all the materials they need free of charge.

This event was one of a series of workshops and roadshows taking place in Southampton over the next six months. To find out about upcoming events please click here.

The Team

Draught proofing the door


Fitting radiator reflectors


Fitting secondary glazing film