Retired Ministers' Housing Society

Energy and environment

Find out about our environmental policy and get energy saving and recycling tips for your home.

The RMHS is a part of the URC family and has adopted the URC’s Environmental Policy (PDF | 300kb). This policy expresses the URC’s commitment and determination to take care of, contribute to caring for, sustaining and nurturing God’s creation.

Our Board considered how it would apply this policy into workable solutions, ensuring that our housing stock wherever possible adopt environmentally friendly options. We are also looking at green electricity and similar cleaner alternatives longer term.

Everyone has to play their part in ensuring that our actions and the way we live do not have adverse impact on the environment and the quality of life of future generations.

 

Recycling imageConsider the environment when you fill up your weekly refuse bags, which may end up in landfill or be incinerated. What could you recycle? Most local authorities provide recycling facilities. Your local council should be able to advise on recyclable items, such as paper, glass, textiles and cans.

Many people keep items for the future that may never be used, filling up loft space needlessly. If you have not used something for a few years, consider donating to family, charity or recycling it. 

  • Turning your central heating down by 1°C could cut your heating bills by up to 10% and save you around £85 a year.

  • Turning off the lights when they are not in use. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential utility bill.

  • Don’t overfill your kettle; boil exactly the amount you need, and you could save up to £7 a year on your electricity bill. This is one of the easiest ways to conserve energy.

  • Don’t leave the tap running while you’re cleaning your teeth, shaving or washing your face or dishes. A running tap wastes more than six litres of water a minute.

  • Did you know refrigerators and freezers operate most efficiently when full, so keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible (using water bottles if nothing else). Be careful about overfilling them, as this will reduce airflow and cause the appliance to work harder.

  • Whenever possible, use a cold cycle in your washing machine. It’s a simple way to save money and energy. Unless your clothes are particularly greasy, it should work just as well as a hot wash. Most washing powders work better on a cold wash.

  • If your shower draws hot water straight from your boiler or hot water tank (rather than an electric shower), get a water-efficient shower head. This can cut down the amount of hot water you use, but still feels like a powerful shower.

  • Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking time runs out. Your food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity and will save you about 10% each time you cook.

  • Swap your incandescent light bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs, which will save you money in the long run.

  • Don’t peek in the oven while baking! Every time you open the door, the temperature can drop 25°F/5oC, making your oven use more energy to bring the temperature back up.

  • Dust and vacuum your radiators. Layers of dust stop heat from flowing freely.

  • Closing curtains and blinds when you are using the heater stops heat from escaping through windows and can save you up to 5% on your heating bill.

One of the first things the RMHS Board has approved is the insulation of all our properties that require it. This energy-saving improvement will contribute to the reduction in waste gases that damage the environment. Where insulation grants are available, the Society would encourage eligible residents to apply for them.

We will also explore low-cost cavity wall insulation schemes. Residents who have equity in the property will be expected to contribute their pro rata share of the cost.

Condensation and Mould imageCondensation is a result of warm moisture in the air hitting a cold surface where there is inadequate ventilation. When air in the room gets colder, it cannot hold all the moisture, therefore it forms tiny droplets.

These are noticeable on windows, windowsills, corners behind wardrobes and cupboards, and gradually lead to mould forming or may cause dampness.

While a small amount of water might seem harmless, if condensation is not dealt with immediately, it can lead to black mould or airborne spores (which appear as a cloud of little black dots) starting to grow on your walls, ceilings and around your windows.

Not only is this unattractive, having a lot of it in your home could induce health issues, including sinus problems, skin rashes and even bronchitis.

Prevention is better than cure. You can limit condensation and mould growth by reducing moisture and increasing ventilation.

The following tips are helpful:

  • Wipe down surfaces where moisture settles.

  • Avoid drying clothes on radiators and/or inside the house.

  • If mould has already appeared, use bleach to remove the staining and, when dry, apply anti-fungal spray, always following the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • Keep bathroom and kitchen doors closed when they are in use.

  • Keep all airbricks clear of obstruction.

  • Do not use portable gas and paraffin heaters – these are prohibited.

  • Where installed, use extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Use lids on saucepans when cooking, and ventilate the area.

  • If using tumble dryers, connect the vent properly to the outside.

  • Heat your home sufficiently in cold weather where possible.

EPCs imageThis is a rating scheme that assesses and provides details of the energy efficiency of your home. The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) is required for properties when constructed, sold or let. From April 2020, it became mandatory for all landlords to ensure that their properties meet the minimum energy performance rating of E. Anything below E is inefficient and must be addressed.

Various energy efficiency initiatives are required to increase the energy rating. Our surveyors are trained to carry out this assessment and their findings inform our future planned works to improve your home.