Stronghouse – some light in the dark

19 December 2022 - Published by Deirdre Buist
It’s that time of year again…the short December days when we could all do with some extra light and warmth. While working on the theme of energy efficiency, home retrofit and the energy transition, Stronghouse has become highly aware of the increasing number of citizens for whom such basic needs are not as self-evident as a year ago. The impacts of the energy crisis are tangible - particularly for the most vulnerable. As the winter solstice approaches and the festive season’s energy consumption reaches its peak, Stronghouse wants to offer light – and some smart, sustainable solutions

The darkest and shortest days are often a time of reflection for many, a pause with more awareness and renewed motivation before the new solar cycle. It’s a transitional phase where we’ve got one foot in the old, one in the new. A parallel with the energy transition is easily made. In every journey there is a  phase of letting go, moving on and creating a new normal. We need not let go of all traditions but can adapt the narrative to concur with development.

A new narrative

Christmas lore, for instance,  would have us shroud our homes with lights, turn up the indoor heating volume and sweat it out by an open hearth while waiting for Santa’s gifts to drop down the chimney. Right now, many of these festive traditions and some of its iconic power-slurping symbols are hardly feasible or affordable for many. We must adapt and create a new legend. Santa can stay but he’s got to become more sustainable. It’s time for a lean and green make-over.

The Stronghouse goal

In terms of energy efficiency, new houses have steadily improved in recent decades as innovative construction technologies and materials are widely available. But the impact on reducing European energy consumption remains a drop in the ocean if we do not retrofit our older (pre 1960s) building stock,  estimated to be more than 40% of the region’s existing homes. The Stronghouse partners have made it their goal to support homeowners and neighbourhoods with this, by adapting existing and inventing new tools.


Warmest greetings 

Stronghouse is cocooning for the next few weeks and will return with renewed energy at the beginning of 2023. On behalf of the partners, we offer our network, colleagues, stakeholders and friends the warmest Season’s Greeting.

Meanwhile, here are a few smart and very simple tips that may brighten your day and help to keep it cosy and affordable during the holidays:

  • Use battery-powered lighting to reduce energy consumption and costs.
  • Try solar LED lights - an even more environmentally friendly alternative. 
  • Search for a pre-lit Christmas tree (batteries) and eco-friendlier tree options (fake, adopt-a-tree, grow your own).
  • Save around 3% on heating for each degree you turn down the thermostat.
  • Install a smart thermostat and app for substantial savings - energy, money and CO2.
  • Avoid blocking radiators/heat sources with furniture /decorations.
  • Use timers, remote-controlled power adaptors and sensor-driven lighting.
  • Don your favourite wooly Christmas jumper, socks and snugly slippers
  • Ask Santa for a cosy fleece or wool wrap-around.
  • Ditch the techno gadgets and devices and grab a board or card game with family and friends.
  • Tidy up those loose wires, switch off dangling chargers, electronics left on standby - saving 10% - 15% on the annual energy bill.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!