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This is what ten inches of loft insulation does (photo taken this morning):



The neighbours, as you will observe, have somewhat less.

We've got insulation in the loft floor, and also between the rafters in the roof.  We've got floor boards over the floor insulation, so we also have full use of the loft as storage space - and the ceiling insulation means that although the loft is cold, you don't freeze when you go up there in winter.

Interestingly, my mother-in-law (the incomparable Molly) has a similar roof effect, although she has no insulation at all.

She lives in a very old, half-timbered house.  It can't have things like cavity wall insulation. She turned down an offer of loft insulation from the council as she didn't feel it would benefit her, and there is no double-glazing.  She's 80, lives on her own (with her dog) on her pension, and you're probably now imagining a wretched old lady shivering in the cold.

Not Molly.  We phoned her last night just to be sure she was okay, though we knew it was almost certainly unnecessary.  She replied cheerfully that she was fine.  It was so cold last night that she actually turned the convection heater on in her bedroom for the first time in ages.  She's spending the day in the lounge and only bothering to heat the one room (coal fire), thus saving costs on heating the rest of the house.

She laughingly pointed out that she still has snow on her roof whereas her neighbours with insulation had none left on theirs.  She says they waste heat, heating every room and having the thermostat set far too high.

Molly just adds a thick wool jumper, wears warm socks, and only heats the room she actually needs.  (and with a coal fire, that room is very comfortable).  She'll keep warm by walking the dog, eat well by digging up a few veg from the garden, and hopefully be fit and well for many years yet to come.  (though we're all grateful to the friend who drove her to the shops to stock up on essentials just before the snow hit - Molly has a lot of friends, she's lived a long time in her village and has helped many local causes over the years).

Therefore the Proctor family tips on saving heating bills (and CO2 emissions) appear to be: insulate as well as you possibly can, only heat the rooms you really need to, and wear warm clothing.

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Judith Proctor

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