Articles and Blog
Dr Joanne Wade, CEO of the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) welcomes the aims, targets and aspirations outlined within the Clean Growth Strategy. There is recognition of the value of energy efficiency at very core of the strategy and a commitment to further developing policies, and we see the strategy as a clear step in the right direction…
Our Research Director, Kelly Greer, reflects on the publication of guidance on the minimum efficiency standards for homes in the Private Rented Sector.
BEIS has finally published the guidance for landlords and local authorities on the minimum level of energy efficiency required to let domestic property under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015. We welcome the publication of the guidance and the clear message that it sends about the benefits to landlords and tenants of improved energy performance. But we worry that it contains loopholes that will mean that action to eradicate fuel poverty and improve the energy efficiency of properties may not be taken.
As households begin to switch on their heating, we are releasing our new report Energy Efficiency in Norwich South – the seventh of our series of constituency-focused local energy efficiency stories. The report has been welcomed by Norwich South’s MP Clive Lewis as well as local businesses and charities.
Yesterday, BEIS published details of the Government’s energy costs review. If the review does not fully consider the costs and benefits of energy demand reduction, it will not deliver the lowest bills for consumers.
Higher energy efficiency makes mortgage repayments more affordable, because less money spent on fuel means more money available for other bills. This is the core message that inspired the LENDERS project to explore how the energy performance of a home could be included in calculations of mortgage affordability.
At the project report launch today, BEIS Minister Claire Perry challenged the mortgage industry to use the project outputs and help grow demand for energy efficiency. Our CEO explores whether the Minister’s expectations are likely to be met.
We all know that there is no single ‘magic policy bullet’ that will support the growth of a self-sustaining market for energy efficiency investments, and that a jigsaw of policy pieces is needed to build the necessary framework.
This is the first in a series of blogs looking at ACE’s new policy tracker, and it considers commercial buildings. It asks, are all the jigsaw pieces in place? What more can we do easily? And what is going to be a little more difficult?
Not perhaps what you would expect me to say… but of course I don’t mean that energy efficiency isn’t a wonderful thing. I mean, we should stop trying to separate it out from the other things people do every day.
The Each Home Counts review talks about setting up a separate quality system for home energy efficiency work. Why? Of course we need excellent quality control and customer assurance. But don’t we need this for all work in people’s homes? Isn’t there a risk that, by highlighting the quality control for energy efficiency work, we make it seem like something inherently more risky than other home improvements?
This report – which has been welcomed by local MP Angela Smith and by local businesses and charities – is the sixth in our series of constituency-focused local energy efficiency stories. Its release has been timed to coincide with the launch of environmental charity Hubbub’s fuel poverty project “Fuelling Connections” and has been sponsored by Calor. Hubbub’s kick-off roundtable event took place on Friday 13th January in Stocksbridge and brought together key stakeholders in fuel poverty and Angela Smith MP to discuss what has worked to date and what remains to be done.
This is the fifth in our series of constituency-focused local energy efficiency stories and the first to be launched with a roundtable event. The event occurred on Friday 4th November in Truro, was sponsored by Calor and chaired by Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton.
New research by the Association for the Conservation of Energy and the Regulatory Assistance Project paints a worrying picture of the UK’s prospects for achieving its carbon targets in the building sector: the Government’s own projections for abatement show that the UK will not meet the 5th Carbon Budget in buildings. We need to de-risk, reform, extend and expand existing policies, but also introduce new instruments – especially mandatory minimum energy efficiency standards for buildings when they are sold – in order to speed up carbon abatement in the sector. £45bn is the prize.
The overall size of Help to Heat is too small to meaningfully tackle carbon emissions and fuel poverty. Under the proposals, there will be significant under-delivery to households during the transition year. This is due to the progress made to date under ECO2, the potential for over-delivery and carryover of excess work into the transition year, and the fact that proposed deemed scores are approximately one third lower than the evidence from RdSAP assessments under ECO2. We therefore strongly recommend that the extended CERO target is increased from 3MtCO2 to at least 4.1MtCO2, and the HHCRO target from £1.84bn to at least £2.08bn.
The challenge London set itself in its 2011 Climate Change and Energy Strategy is ambitious. To reduce the city’s CO2 emissions, the target for buildings is to retrofit 2.9 million homes; retrofit public buildings comprising a total of 11 million m2 of floor space; and retrofit 44 million m2 worth of private sector workplaces by 2025. These 55 million m2 constitute two thirds of London’s current non-domestic stock of buildings. Currently, London is falling well behind on its milestones to 2025, and the rewards of stepping up energy efficiency action in the capital are too good to miss.
Irrespective of Brexit, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and her cabinet must commit to critical EU targets for the year 2020 on cutting carbon emissions and transforming the UK’s energy infrastructure.
This is the call made today (Friday) by 30 environmental and energy-related organisations in a letter to Greg Clark, the new Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Signatories leading business associations covering the renewable energy and energy efficiency sectors, two of the UK’s biggest green NGOs and Energy UK, the body representing the major energy suppliers.
In today’s House of Commons Private Members’ Ballot, some fortunate MPs got the chance to introduce a Bill of their own in Parliament. ACE – along with, among others, the Energy Saving Trust and the London Association of Local Energy Officers – is promoting the Leasehold Reform (Energy Efficiency) Bill, and we’d be grateful for your help in getting an MP to take it up! The Bill would sweep away outdated provisions in property leases to enable freeholders and leaseholders alike to make their homes warmer, healthier and more comfortable. Here is a full briefing about the Bill. And here is a list of the successful MPs for you to use. Thank you!
There are around 775,000 homes in London with a poor energy efficiency rating. We look forward to working with the next Mayor to help make sure that not only do their current ideas achieve their potential, but also that the level of ambition is raised and London becomes a world leader in its low energy building stock. In public and commercial buildings, 70% of Display Energy Certificates and 66% of Non-Domestic Energy Performance Certificated lodged across London have a rating of D or below. We look forward to working with the next Mayor to help make sure London becomes a world leader in its low energy building stock.
It is a shocking fact that hundreds of thousands of London’s renters are shivering in damp, draughty homes they can’t afford to heat. This problem could be solved by effective minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector – but national standards are weak and difficult to enforce, leaving households at the mercy of their landlords.
The Treasury was strongly criticised this week after a Panorama investigation revealed that over 9,000 people in England and Wales died from living in cold homes last winter.
Yet Government support for energy efficiency has crashed by 80%. Making homes energy efficient is considered by experts as the only long term solution to fuel poverty, which affects over 4 million households in the UK.
Our area report on energy efficiency in Penrith and The Border is the third constituency-focused report. Using a combination of national datasets containing constituency-level information, and case studies from local practitioners – Andrew Northcott of Cold to Cosy Homes and Hazel Collingwood of Age UK Carlisle and Eden – we hope there is something of interest for everyone living in and around the area.
Speaking at an event on delivering heat networks in Parliament today, ACE Director Joanne Wade made reference to a remarkably pertinent speech on energy given by David Cameron to the Local Government Association in 2006 (thanks to Electrical Review’s Gossage column in its Jan/Feb 2016 edition).
He concluded at the time: “The future of energy is not top-down, it’s not centralised – it’s bottom-up and decentralised.”
ACE has submitted its response to HM Treasury and DECC’s consultation on reforming the business energy efficiency tax landscape. We agree there is scope to simplify the landscape, but stress that in doing so, there is real emphasis on reporting publicly with board approval and ensure that cost-effective energy efficiency recommendations are acted upon.
Our response to the consultation highlights: the uncertainty following the abandonment of the zero carbon trajectory; the missed opportunities with respect to driving higher rates of renovation; the low level of compliance with EPBD’s provisions and the virtual absence of enforcement; the question marks hanging over Display Energy Certificates; the need to make EPC data more widely accessible; and the need to plug skills and capacity shortages in the energy services and energy auditing sectors.
The Energy & Climate Change Committee is investigating the factors that contribute to investor confidence in the energy sector and wants to build an understanding of how DECC’s policy making process might impact on investor decisions.
ACE has submitted its evidence to this inquiry, highlighting issues with investor confidence in the energy efficiency sector and the role it can and must play in meeting our climate, energy security and affordability objectives.
ACE has submitted its written evidence to the Committee’s inquiry highlighting the successes of past programmes, the weaknesses of recent schemes and lessons that can be learned from them, including lessons from the US and elsewhere in Europe.
ACE’s Director reflects on some of the comments in the Secretary of State’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference.
In her conference speech, the Secretary of State suggested that ‘our energy policy should once again be driven by the people who pay the bills.’ Yes indeed, but let’s not forget that we already have relatively cheap energy and our dissatisfaction with our bills is more effectively tackled by helping us to use this resource more wisely than by focusing obsessively on marginal reductions in the cost of a kilowatt hour. ‘Getting a grip to protect families from endless worry about their energy bills’ should start with ensuring that their homes are energy efficient, not with providing secure supplies.