IanR

Heat in Buildings Strategy Statement

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The Scottish Government managed to beat the UK Government to getting their Heat in Buildings Strategy Statement announced in Parliament

 

The key points I took from it were:

 

Net Zero target for heating buildings is 2045

2030 target to have 68% lower emissions (from heating buildings) than 2020 level, requiring over 1,000,000 homes to be made zero carbon this decade.

Vague statement that "most" homes must be EPC C or better by 2030
More definite statement that all homes (where feasible and cost-effective) must be EPC C or better by 2033
Legislation to be introduced in 2025 requiring any home changing ownership or tenancy to be EPC C or better at point of sale
Earlier date set at 2028 for all private rental homes to be EPC C or better
Ban on installing fossil fuel boilers from 2025 for off-gas properties
Ban on installing fossil fuel boilers from 2030 for all properties

 

 

The only zero carbon heating technology I heard mentioned was Heat Pumps.

 

Interesting costing stated within the 1st question after the Statement that the average investment for each home to improve to EPC C is £17,000.

 

The UK's statement is due this month, after being delayed from Spring this year.

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Thanks for this. I started listening. But Ye Gods 34 minutes 😬.

 

Might gird my loins later with a cup of coffee and a tot of whiskey.

 

(Listening, hoping most of it is questions 🙂).

 

Most of your summary seem to be very sensible points. It's good that they are not doing the titfer-tatfer England thing. The overall "68% reduction by 2030" is the same.

 

General question - how much reliance is placed on the Electrical supply being decarbonised? In England quite a lot - but in England there is a *lot* of windpower coming on stream in the next few years. IIRC for "zero carbon homes by 2030", in England decarbonisation of the power supply contributes ~20% of the journey to ZC homes.

 

2 hours ago, IanR said:

Net Zero target for heating buildings is 2045

I'm interested how they will separate out "heating" from eg "cooking" or "using the oven"?

 

Quote

2030 target to have 68% lower emissions (from heating buildings) than 2020 level, requiring over 1,000,000 homes to be made zero carbon this decade.

Difficult to judge. 1m homes is about 38% of the Scottish housing stock. According to the score-card, in 2018 43% were EPC C or better. 1,000,000 homes is roughly the total rental stock from Councils, HAs etc.

image.png.f6fb014ff2810ebd0e8a0ab72e98097d.png

 

Quote

Vague statement that "most" homes must be EPC C or better by 2030

 

That should be low-hanging fruit, based on the above. 43% already done by 2018, and looks to me to be slower than the existing trend. A conservative target to demonstrate "got there early" success? Unless they are really going to hit a brick wall getting Owner Occupiers to comply.

 

Quote

More definite statement that all homes (where feasible and cost-effective) must be EPC C or better by 2033

A shock for owner occupiers - previously talk has been of 2045 aiui.

 

Quote

Legislation to be introduced in 2025 requiring any home changing ownership or tenancy to be EPC C or better at point of sale

That may the most challenging measure by the look of it, depending on the date of the requirements. A lot will need big renovations before sale.

 

But I like it. 2030 as implementation date might be more sensible. They have to move rental and owner-occupied in tandem otherwise it would cause a crisis for renters as LLs gave up.

 

Scottish private rental rental stock is some way down from the peak (-10% by 2018 ish). This combined with rent controls could cause a problem - maybe a sell off in the next few years. A canary in the coalmine for England to watch, perhaps - if any Govt consider applying rent controls here.

 

Quote

Earlier date set at 2028 for all private rental homes to be EPC C or better

In line with English suggestion. Demanding but sensible. Will need careful exceptions.

 

Quote

Ban on installing fossil fuel boilers from 2025 for off-gas properties
Ban on installing fossil fuel boilers from 2030 for all properties

The only zero carbon heating technology I heard mentioned was Heat Pumps.

Targeting oil?

(135k oil heated homes in Scotland)

 

What are the alternatives? What counts as a boiler? Suspect that rural wood is a loophole.

 

Quote

 

Interesting costing stated within the 1st question after the Statement that the average investment for each home to improve to EPC C is £17,000.

Is that averaged across homes-needing-improvement or all homes?

 

Ferdinand

 

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5 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

General question - how much reliance is placed on the Electrical supply being decarbonised? In England quite a lot - but in England there is a *lot* of windpower coming on stream in the next few years. IIRC for "zero carbon homes by 2030", in England decarbonisation of the power supply contributes ~20% of the journey to ZC homes.


I'm not aware the UK Government have yet given date by which homes will be (net) zero carbon, it's been framed more as the steps that need to be taken with the housing stock to meet the 2050 net zero obligation.

 

Hopefully the UK Government's Heat in Buildings strategy statement starts to lay down the when and the how, so that industry has the confidence to prepare.

 

To meet the 2050 net zero obligations then yes, electricity generation de-carbonisation is front and centre. (at least it was in the white paper). 

 

5 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

I'm interested how they will separate out "heating" from eg "cooking" or "using the oven"?

 

Won't this be a natural consequence of shifting heating off of Gas. I would have thought there will be, relatively quickly, a drop of gas usage to lower than the required critical mass that makes the maintenance of the existing infrastructure economical, such that the infrastructure charge becomes a larger portion of the unit price that it has to be passed on to consumers. As usage drops further I can imagine the network owners wanting to start shutting sections of it down.

 

Somewhere on that journey households will be swapping out their gas ovens and hobs for electric versions. I can't imagine too many thinking that swapping to LPG bottles is a better option.

 

5 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

That should be low-hanging fruit, based on the above. 43% already done by 2018, and looks to me to be slower than the existing trend. A conservative target to demonstrate "got there early" success? Unless they are really going to hit a brick wall getting Owner Occupiers to comply.

 

From your excellent graph, it looks a bit harder than that. In the 8 years from 2010 to 2018, 20 percentage points of EPC D & E homes were improved to EPC C. (I'm making some assumptions there.)

Say that another 10 percentage points have been done in the four years from 2018 to 2022. There are still 40 percentage points to go, in the remaining 8 years of this decade, which from your figures is the 1m homes mentioned. It still looks achievable, but requires carrot or stick to double the current rate of improvement.

 

5 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

Targeting oil?

(135k oil heated homes in Scotland)

 

What are the alternatives? What counts as a boiler? Suspect that rural wood is a loophole.


Targeting Oil and LPG I assume. 

 

Is Biomass an alternative? It's still incentivised as a low carbon heating source, but it's not low emissions.

 

5 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

Is that averaged across homes-needing-improvement or all homes?

 

The £17K improvement cost was suggested as the average cost to each home that requires improving. The question asked was "if the cost is £17K and there is a max £15K interest free loan available, where does the home owner find the other £2K from?".

Edited by IanR

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I would love to see the details of just HOW they are going to make the huge proportion of old buildings up to an EPC C and WHO is going to pay for it?

 

A heat pump is ONLY "carbon neutral" if 100% of the electricity grid is carbon neutral.  We are a long way from that.  But if the greens want to pretend a HP is carbon neutral just like they claim burning wood is, then that is fine to make it easier to "tick boxes"

 

Just WHEN are the house buying public (and more importantly they surveyors) going to wake up to the fact a house with a poor EPC SHOULD be valued lower than a house with a good EPC, to reflect the money it is going to cost someone sooner or later to upgrade it.

 

Like we continually get, a lot of bluster about well meaning intentions, with no idea of just HOW to achieve any of this.

 

It does make me glad the 2 houses we own are EPC C and A and the poorer one should be sold within a few years anyway.  But even my new build is not quite carbon neutral.  to truly achieve that would require a house even better than the one we have just built, and I just cannot see the mass house builders ever achieving that.

 

Has anyone calculated just how many boilers need to be replaced by heat pumps each year to achieve these targets?  Then care to guess what percentage of these "upgrades" will fail as being inadequate or too expensive to use?

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4 hours ago, ProDave said:

Just WHEN are the house buying public (and more importantly they surveyors) going to wake up to the fact a house with a poor EPC SHOULD be valued lower than a house with a good EPC, to reflect the money it is going to cost someone sooner or later to upgrade it.

 

Anecdotally, that seems to be starting to happen now, at least buyers are reported to be seeking out EPC A & B homes, although probably not effecting price yet, just time to sale.

 

EPC D and over homes being devalued will happen when Banks start to lower the loan to value on them, which could happen quite quickly once the legislation is on the statute books.

 

4 hours ago, ProDave said:

Has anyone calculated just how many boilers need to be replaced by heat pumps each year to achieve these targets?  Then care to guess what percentage of these "upgrades" will fail as being inadequate or too expensive to use?

 

The 15 year period from the introduction of legislation to ban fossil fuel boilers to the target date for achieving net zero "heat in buildings" seems right for the working life of a gas boilers, which would mean 1.5 million gas boilers decommissioned per year across the whole of the UK.

 

If that was replaced solely by heat pumps, then that's a total of 1.75 million hp installs a year, incl. new builds. I guess a number will convert to a district heating setup, so that will bring the total number down a little.

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4 hours ago, ProDave said:

I would love to see the details of just HOW they are going to make the huge proportion of old buildings up to an EPC C and WHO is going to pay for it?

 

A heat pump is ONLY "carbon neutral" if 100% of the electricity grid is carbon neutral.  We are a long way from that.  But if the greens want to pretend a HP is carbon neutral just like they claim burning wood is, then that is fine to make it easier to "tick boxes"

 

Just WHEN are the house buying public (and more importantly they surveyors) going to wake up to the fact a house with a poor EPC SHOULD be valued lower than a house with a good EPC, to reflect the money it is going to cost someone sooner or later to upgrade it.

 

Like we continually get, a lot of bluster about well meaning intentions, with no idea of just HOW to achieve any of this.

 

It does make me glad the 2 houses we own are EPC C and A and the poorer one should be sold within a few years anyway.  But even my new build is not quite carbon neutral.  to truly achieve that would require a house even better than the one we have just built, and I just cannot see the mass house builders ever achieving that.

 

Has anyone calculated just how many boilers need to be replaced by heat pumps each year to achieve these targets?  Then care to guess what percentage of these "upgrades" will fail as being inadequate or too expensive to use?

 

In rentals already happening at the edges. 3-4% extra rent is possible here,  for example.

 

If houses can only be sold with a C, it will get discounted by cost-to-renovate a couple of years before.

 

The people who get spanked will be those who do poor renovations.  There is a certain amount of squealing going on in the LL community, especially about the proposed 10k you have to have spent on EE before you get an exemption. I'm wondering about penning a "grow the f*ck up, you''ve known about this since 2013" to the NRLA mag.

 

My EPC adviser told me an anecdote about a cheapskate who had drylined with 25mm of insulation, when the EPC procedure says ignore anything under 50mm 😎.

 

I'd say that the Mail are trashing EPCs because they know it is happening.

 

And I am not so sure that our housing stock is *that* terrible anymore (despite the perma-Henny-Penny lobby) - though by BH standards it is poor. It seems that the average EPC value in Scotland is 67, and in England about 63-64. now. England graph over time from English Housing survey. The drivers of the Social Sector better values are a - Investment by Govt, b - More flats, c - Newer Stock.

 

I've never looked up just how much C02 that has saved already, but it's a lot. Nor have I compared to other comparable countries (which means mainland Europe but we were nothing like so demolished in WW2 so have older stock.) Perhaps Ireland or Denmark are the only real comparators?

 

I wonder what Gas Bills would be if we were all still at EPC E?

 

 

image.thumb.png.9384e364012c938f0de59aa35d9c4bc0.png

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38 minutes ago, IanR said:

The 5 year period from the introduction of legislation to ban fossil fuel boilers to the target date for achieving net zero "heat in buildings" seems right for the working life of a gas boilers, which would mean 1.5 million gas boilers decommissioned per year across the whole of the UK.

 

I meant to say "The 15 year period..."

 

Saw it too late to Edit. Doh!

Edited by IanR

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6 minutes ago, IanR said:

 

I meant to say "The 15 year period..."

 

Saw it too late to Edit. Doh!

 

You can always ask a mod. Just PM any of us, or use the general message form. I've put Mod Cat Avatar back up.

 

In Scotland there are something like 2 million to do. In England something like 24 million. Assuming 80% of dwellings.

 

It needs an industrial strategy like the one applied to battery factories.

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That graph implies that existing housing stock is improving. I doubt that that's the case. EPCs last for 10 years and you only need to get a new one if selling, so the reduction is most likely caused by new builds with better EPCs skewing the results. (The graph also has the journalists/politicians cutting off extremes of the scale, making the improvement look better than it actually is.)

 

This house had an EPC of D 58 in 2010, the fabric hasn't changed and it is extremely difficult to improve it without massive disruption.

 

Does PV still improve the EPC? I've got the best part of 15kW of PV panels (not grid connected or MCS installed); in the previous house that would have moved the EPC from D to A.

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15 hours ago, IanR said:

 

If that was replaced solely by heat pumps, then that's a total of 1.75 million hp installs a year, incl. new builds

About the same as car sales then.

https://www.best-selling-cars.com/britain-uk/2020-full-year-britain-new-car-market-overview-and-analysis/

 

A quick look at the ONS data shows 3,800 people employed in the retail and repair of motor vehicles (which feels to me a small number, but no matter).

These people probably have the skills, after retraining, to help fit HPs. They would have to fit 450 system each year, do 10 a week.

 

So not an insurmountable challenge, but not easy.

 

These points have been made before by Al Gore (in 2006) and David MacKay (in 2008).

Banging on about who is going to pay and who is going to make, and fit the systems is not the problem.

We have had 20 years of knowing about this, there just seems a real reluctance to change.

This is not helped by the trade and media saying that HPs are only for modern houses built to the latest specifications.

That is like saying only modern cars can tow a trailer.

 

And the statement that HPs are only truely carbon neutral, in operation, if our electricity supply is only truely renewable, is just a diversion. 

Don't let energy of the best be the better.

Edited by SteamyTea

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3 hours ago, billt said:

That graph implies that existing housing stock is improving. I doubt that that's the case. EPCs last for 10 years and you only need to get a new one if selling, so the reduction is most likely caused by new builds with better EPCs skewing the results. (The graph also has the journalists/politicians cutting off extremes of the scale, making the improvement look better than it actually is.)

 

This house had an EPC of D 58 in 2010, the fabric hasn't changed and it is extremely difficult to improve it without massive disruption.

 

Does PV still improve the EPC? I've got the best part of 15kW of PV panels (not grid connected or MCS installed); in the previous house that would have moved the EPC from D to A.

 

Yes, I think solar does still make a difference.

 

I broadly take the "massive disruption" point 🙂😎. That is where mine is - extension / rebuild took it to EPC 74C in 2009, and it would be unjustifiablee to gut it for a another decade or two, so it is now tactical.

 

However - on your point quite a lot of improvement schemes have an EPC as part of the process iirc - eg for a time solar FIT was restricted to higher EPC number, some projects do "before and after", and rentals are regulated on it so have to be able to demonstrate a minimum level. Now, an E - due to  go to a  D soon.

 

Since newbuild is only about 0.7% of the stock per year, it would not shift the average *that* much, and (checking) the ECO programme has now done nearly 3 million "Energy Efficiency Improvement Actions".

 

The English Housing Survey is sample based, so quite robust.

 

However, dig into the data from the EHS and you can see the shifting between bands, and other aspects improving. Not fast enough, as ever, but improving.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/945013/2019-20_EHS_Headline_Report.pdf

 

eg EPC C's are up from 11% to 38% in 3 years, whilst the total newbuild is only about 6-8% of the stock.

 

eg 

image.png.f0a70e1436e2e640fcd3ac73531cc966.png

 

eg 2

image.thumb.png.3f2a7fef62c0a94e8741c3585e4e0823.png

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Shame they lump A and B together in that chart.  I would love to see just how tiny percentage EPC A is, especially amongst new builds now.

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9 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Shame they lump A and B together in that chart.  I would love to see just how tiny percentage EPC A is, especially amongst new builds now.

My BC officer covers an area with four large towns with a population of 160k and has been doing the job for 20 years... he's overseen ONE A rated house. Ours will be his second (if we get that rating!)

Edited by Conor

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After my as built EPC was completed and registered, I spent a few minutes searching properties on the register and looking in particular at what I know to be new builds, and did not find another A rated EPC.

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21 hours ago, ProDave said:

the huge proportion of old buildings up to an EPC C

I am not about to work it out, but would think that the order of benefits might be (mostly because they are non-invasive)

1. loft insulation.    Many houses have next to none. Pipe insulation while up there.

2. double glazing.     Astonishingly still not done in many council houses, let alone private landlords.

3. Draught reduction.   Not many points for this, but an easy improvement

4. ASHP and new rads...      not so easy in flats, although most Spanish flats have it through the wall as air blower.

 

These at least will make a big difference to comfort and fuel usage, which is not necessarily the same as scores points for EPC

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5 minutes ago, saveasteading said:

I am not about to work it out, but would think that the order of benefits might be (mostly because they are non-invasive)

1. loft insulation.    Many houses have next to none. Pipe insulation while up there.

2. double glazing.     Astonishingly still not done in many council houses, let alone private landlords.

3. Draught reduction.   Not many points for this, but an easy improvement

4. ASHP and new rads...      not so easy in flats, although most Spanish flats have it through the wall as air blower.

 

These at least will make a big difference to comfort and fuel usage, which is not necessarily the same as scores points for EPC

 

Interesting isn't it?


All of those except perhaps 4 have been on the "basics" list since the 1980s/1990s 🙄.

 

And yet, still...

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When we sold our last house, which was an A95 the estate agent said he hadn't sold a house with an A EPC before. I used the Government endorsed Simple Energy Advice site for our current house which is an old stone walled bungalow. It came up with fit PVs and use LED lightbulbs and that was it. Well we have a 4kWp PV system and are changing the lightbulbs so according to them we can't improve our house. No mention of EWI or IWI or changing the heating from oil to HP.

 

https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/energy-efficiency/reduce-bills

 

 

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2 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

 

Interesting isn't it?


All of those except perhaps 4 have been on the "basics" list since the 1980s/1990s 🙄.

 

And yet, still...

I get to go in a lot of lofts and it is rare to find one that is wanting for amount of insulation.  I do regularly find lofts that have had more added, and them previous trades who have been up there have moved some of it and not put it back so often gaps left in the insulation.

 

I went in one last week that had about 2" of insulation, not even reaching the top of the 3" trusses.  Oh it was a delight to work in, for once you could easily move around and actually find what you were up there to locate.

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On 11/10/2021 at 09:43, IanR said:

Legislation to be introduced in 2025 requiring any home changing ownership or tenancy to be EPC C or better at point of sale

 

Wow - if they manage to get that through without watering it down...

 

I can't for a moment think this will become law.

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1 minute ago, gravelld said:

I can't for a moment think this will become law.

 

No 1 recommendation in some of my rentals is fit a gas boiler!

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3 hours ago, saveasteading said:

I am not about to work it out, but would think that the order of benefits might be (mostly because they are non-invasive)

1. loft insulation.    Many houses have next to none. Pipe insulation while up there.

2. double glazing.     Astonishingly still not done in many council houses, let alone private landlords.

3. Draught reduction.   Not many points for this, but an easy improvement

4. ASHP and new rads...      not so easy in flats, although most Spanish flats have it through the wall as air blower.

 

These at least will make a big difference to comfort and fuel usage, which is not necessarily the same as scores points for EPC

 

If you do try to work it out you'll find that most of those don't actually affect the EPC all that much. Just done a SAP2012 calc on my house, which produces a D 57 as it stands. Increasing the loft insulation to 500mm, adding 100mm PIR to the solid walls and insulating the suspended floors changes the EPC to D 67.

 

Adding 15kW of PV changes it to B 86.

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My thought, with little or no evidence, is that the houses that ProDave goes into are the sort where they get the likes of ProDave in  to do something properly.

They already have insulation and other improvements.

 

The ones he doesn't get invited to are the ones with scope for easy improvement.


 

5 minutes ago, billt said:

those don't actually affect the EPC all that much.

 

Many houses have hardly any insulation, I believe, or 50mm from when it was a new idea and 2". They would benefit from another 150.

After that there is diminishing return (in my opinion but never proven) and I am surprised that 500mm is mentioned as a possibility.

 

What would be your choice for 1. cynical improvement of epc at least cost?

2. Best value for actual improvement?

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1 hour ago, ProDave said:

I get to go in a lot of lofts and it is rare to find one that is wanting for amount of insulation.  I do regularly find lofts that have had more added, and them previous trades who have been up there have moved some of it and not put it back so often gaps left in the insulation.

 

I went in one last week that had about 2" of insulation, not even reaching the top of the 3" trusses.  Oh it was a delight to work in, for once you could easily move around and actually find what you were up there to locate.

 

In mine I usually install a walkway over the bottom layer between one run of joists if needed, and put the top layer back on. With a notice.


Cheaper than repairing a ceiling a tradesman has put a foot through..

 

*polishes nails for once* 

 

😎

 

  

51 minutes ago, billt said:

 

If you do try to work it out you'll find that most of those don't actually affect the EPC all that much. Just done a SAP2012 calc on my house, which produces a D 57 as it stands. Increasing the loft insulation to 500mm, adding 100mm PIR to the solid walls and insulating the suspended floors changes the EPC to D 67.

 

Adding 15kW of PV changes it to B 86.

 

57 to 67 seems to be quite a lot to me.

 

How much C02 and kWh did that say it saved?

 

 

 

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I work in a mixture of owner occupied and private rental properties.

 

What is apparent over the time I have been self employed is how much loft insulation levels have increased.  There seems to be a lot of various grant schemes  floating about, although I have never been offered one so I don't know who dishes them out.

 

That is the low hanging fruit.  An easy and cheap way to "insulate" a house.  But it does nothing to address heat loss through the walls, floor, windows and draughts.  All these houses with their lovely loft insulation still blow an icy cold draught out of the wall when you remove a switch or socket from the wall.

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I was wondering the other day how much cumulative energy is lost through all the downlighters over the country that vent into an unheated loft space. Their popularity since the early 00s must mean there are a lot of these, and I rarely see them properly sealed.

 

I remember when I fixed my loft - first job was clearing it out, then before re-insulating, it needed massive air tightness treatment. We had around twenty downlighters just venting into the loft - put your hand over them when it was cold in the loft and you really felt it. On the other hand, if the wind is blowing the right (or wrong, depending on your perspective) way you can feel the down draught being forced into the building.

 

Did the old clay plant pot trick (and changed to LEDs of course) and I think that was the single biggest intervention I've made on air tightness!

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