logo

The expert voice for energy efficiency in the UK.
Follow us:

#LocalStories,Fuel Poverty,Housing,Non-Residential Buildings

Local Story – Energy Efficiency in Penistone and Stocksbridge

As temperatures plummet in Yorkshire once more, our new local story report has shone a spotlight on the energy performance of homes and businesses in Penistone and Stocksbridge.

This is the sixth in our series of constituency-focused local energy efficiency stories. The report – which has been welcomed by local MP Angela Smith and by local businesses and charities – shows how tens of thousands of local residents have benefited in recent years from proper insulation and efficient boilers, making their homes more affordable to heat and safer to live in.  But the report goes on to identify the huge untapped potential for delivering to the remaining Penistone and Stocksbridge residents the benefits their neighbours have already seen.

The release of this report 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.

Angela Smith MP added: “I know that fuel poverty is a significant issue in Yorkshire and that many of my constituents will be concerned about the cost of heating their homes this winter. I welcome the report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, which sheds light on the energy efficiency of the housing stock and businesses across the Penistone and Stocksbridge constituency and commend the work that local installers and programme managers have done in recent years to implement energy saving features in homes, such as better insulation and more efficient boilers. This report does however demonstrate the need for a long term energy efficiency policy to tackle these issues.”

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading No Comments

#LocalStories

Local Story – Energy Efficiency in Truro and Falmouth

As people once again begin to turn up their heating, our new local story report has shone a spotlight on the energy performance of homes and businesses in Truro and Falmouth.

This is the fifth in our series of constituency-focused local 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. It brought together key stakeholders in fuel poverty to discuss the findings of the report and to speak with Sarah Newton MP about what has worked to date and what remains to be done.

The report was welcomed by Truro and Falmouth MP Sarah Newton who added: “I know that fuel poverty is a significant issue in Cornwall and that, as we approach winter, many of my constituents will be concerned about the cost of heating their homes. I am delighted to have been able to work with UKACE and organisations in Cornwall to discuss what more we can do to combat this problem”

CalorPaul Worth, Area Sales Manager from Calor, said: “This is an excellent report which helps shine a spotlight on the fact that Government energy efficiency schemes have repeatedly missed households living in rural off gas grid areas. Having this sort of detailed information will help target future help to those who most need it.”

CEPDr Tim Jones, Chief Executive of Community Energy Plus, said: “A stable and long term investment plan to improve the energy efficiency of Cornwall’s coldest homes is currently desperately needed from the government in order to help eradicate fuel poverty.  It was helpful to make this case directly to Sarah Newton MP and I hope that we can work with her and the other roundtable participants to find solutions so that misery of cold and damp homes can be consigned to part of Cornwall’s history instead of our future.”

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Continue Reading No Comments

5th Carbon Budget,Climate Change Act

The UK will miss its climate targets without a step-change in buildings energy efficiency

The last 18 months have been a major set-back in the British policy landscape affecting carbon emissions from buildings: the trajectory to zero carbon new build has been paused; Government support for Green Deal finance was withdrawn with no alternative mechanisms in place to encourage and enable investment by able-to-pay households; government announced that funding from the Energy Company Obligation will be reduced again; and a review of business energy taxes has led to proposals for a new tax structure but, as yet, no coherent supporting framework to encourage energy efficiency action.

This is despite the fact that an increase in policy action is required: In June, the 5th Carbon Budget was adopted by Government setting firm carbon targets for the period from 2028 to 2032. Parliament approved them in July. Reaching those targets will require bold and ambitious policy action across all sectors.

However, 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. Taken together, policies as they currently stand are projected by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to achieve a 21% cut in direct emissions from buildings by 2030 compared to 1990, just 12% below the ‘business as usual’ emissions for 2030. This means that the UK’s emissions from buildings will exceed those recommended by the Committee on Climate Change for the 5th Carbon Budget, in 2030, by 18%.

Worryingly, a large part of the projected abatement from buildings (85%) is considered by the Committee on Climate Change to be ‘at-risk’, and after the vote to leave the EU there is uncertainty around which previously EU driven policies driven will remain. In other words, the majority of projected emissions abatement from buildings is seen as uncertain and may not be achieved. It may not be technically possible, and it is certainly not economical, to close this abatement gap in the power, transport and industrial sectors instead.

Consequently, we need to de-risk, reform, extend and expand existing policies, but also introduce new instruments in order to speed up carbon abatement in the buildings sector. Additional regulatory policies such as Energy Efficiency Standards at point-of-sale (as is currently being implemented in France and considered in Scotland) are needed and new build standards need to be tightened towards zero carbon or nearly zero energy. Alongside, a substantial financing scheme offering low-interest loans is required to enable households and businesses to upgrade their properties and make them fit for a low-carbon future.

Our research shows that the benefits of meeting the 5th Carbon Budget in buildings justify considerable public and private investment to capture them. We quantified the main costs and benefits generally considered for formal policy impact assessments, calculated in accordance with official guidance. The result is that the benefits exceed the costs to a similar degree as High Speed 2 (a planned high-speed railway linking London to the north of the UK) and the smart meter rollout. This means that there is a strong economic case for investing in upgrading the UK’s building stock.

We estimate the net benefit from energy savings, emissions savings, improved air quality and health, and comfort and productivity to be in excess of £45bn. And this figure does not include the value of employment needed across the country to deliver the 5th Carbon Budget in buildings, the value of avoided gas imports and improved energy security, the GDP boost it would deliver nor the additional revenue it would generate for the public coffers.

Ensuring this happens depends on the creation of a robust and long-term policy framework that supports the development of sustainable markets for low carbon retrofit and construction. The most strategic opportunity at which such a step-change can be signalled is in the forthcoming Carbon Plan; the Building Renovation Strategy due next spring also presents an opportunity.

Continue Reading 1 Comment

#LocalStories

London Local Story: A world-class city, but its buildings lag behind

ACE’s latest Local Story, on energy efficiency in London, has found that despite London’s world status, many of its homes and workplaces are highly inefficient, leading to inflated fuel bills, squeezed family budgets, ill health and reduced business competitiveness.

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.

Heating, cooling and powering London’s homes and workplaces is costly

  • London’s 3.35 million homes account for 36% of its CO2 emissions, and every household spends on average £1,175 on gas and electricity bills every year – a total of £3.9 billion. Workplaces – 265,000 buildings – account for 42% of London’s emissions, and companies pay a total of £4 billion each year in gas and electricity bills.
  • 830,000 homes (a quarter) and 37% of non-domestic buildings that have been given an Energy Performance Certificate since 2009 have the worst energy ratings of E, F or G and are therefore wasting a large proportion of their energy.
  • 348,000 London households are considered to be fuel poor. This means they can’t afford to keep their homes warm due to a combination of low incomes and high energy costs. In addition to being below the poverty line, each year, they are estimated to have to spend £336 more on their energy than a typical household needs to.

Significant upgrades to the efficiency of London’s buildings have been made in recent years

  • In homes, energy efficiency programmes have helped to insulate 350,000 lofts and 257,000 cavity walls in London. 803,000 efficient boilers have been installed. Also, London’s RE:NEW programme has helped to underpin energy efficiency improvements through advice provision and delivery support in 119,000 homes to date. 400 households have taken up low carbon heating, and 19,000 have installed solar photovoltaic panels.
  • Less is known about improvements made in workplaces. Public buildings’ Display Energy Certificate ratings have been steadily improving since 2009, and London’s RE:FIT programme has underpinned £93m investment in 619 public buildings, cutting annual energy costs by £6.9m. The amount of energy London uses per unit of its economic output has reduced by 40% and its energy consumption has fallen by 16% since 2005.

These improvements bring a wide range of benefits to London

  • London’s homes and workplaces spend upwards of £7.9 billion on energy bills every year – money which doesn’t stay in London’s economy. Improving efficiency and cutting energy costs means more invested in and spent on London’s economy, while further improving its energy productivity and competitiveness
  • Many of these efficiency improvements are delivered by London businesses. An ambitious national retrofit programme for homes, with London taking up its fair share, would support 10,300 jobs in the capital.
  • Thermal comfort in the work environment is now well-established as a real boon to workers’ health, wellbeing and productivity, and cold homes have been shown to be damaging to both physical and mental health. For every £1 invested in renovating cold homes the NHS saves 42 pence in reduced hospital admissions and GP visits.

Millions of homes and businesses still stand to gain from energy efficiency upgrades. A step-change in delivery is needed, combined with a panoramic view and thorough understanding of all the benefits it can bring. Capturing the above benefits simultaneously, by investing in the energy performance of our buildings, will help London to meet its targets, maintain its economic competitiveness and to be a place that people want – and can afford – to live and work.

Continue Reading No Comments

#LocalStories

Local stories – Energy Efficiency in Bracknell

Our latest local report, on energy efficiency in Bracknell – the fourth in a series of area reports –  is out now. We’re really grateful for the contributions from Bracknell Forest Council, InstaGroup and the Thames Valley Vision project.

BracknellHazel Hill, Bracknell Forest Sustainability Officer, said: “I have seen first-hand how having energy efficiency measures installed can help homes feel warmer, save money and improve people’s lives. Bracknell Forest Council’s Warm and Well scheme, which ran for two years, was a great success and was able to help almost 300 households. However, due to the short term nature of current funding mechanisms, schemes such as Warm and Well can only run for short periods, which limits the number of people they can help. I welcome this report, which highlights the massive benefits to local residents of home upgrades and shows how more of the same could cut bills and improve residents’ health and well-being.”

TVVCharlie Edwards, Customer Project Manager at Scottish and Southern Energy Power Distribution said: “As network operators, we are faced with a range of opportunities and challenges to help bring about more sustainable, reliable and cost-effective electricity solutions for our customers. Thames Valley Vision, centred within Bracknell, is just one example of the innovative projects being run all across the UK. Working closely with the local council, businesses and over 300 project participants across Bracknell, the project is helping a wide range of customers make use of low-carbon technologies in order to improve their energy efficiency.”

Snug logoBradley Isaacs, Operations Manager at InstaGroup, said:“InstaGroup’s workforce has huge pride in their work and in the visible improvements they have been able to make to their local area. But the last 12 months have been hard for businesses like ours so it’s great to see a report like this which proves that there is so muchmore that could be done in the area.” InstaGroup’s nationwide network of independent installers, the Snug Network, has also posted the Bracknell report.

Bracknell MP Dr Phillip Lee added: “I welcome the report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy, which sheds light on the energy efficiency of the housing stock and businesses across the Bracknell constituency. As a former member of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee I take an interest in the energy sector and advancements in energy-saving technology. I commend the work that local installers and programme managers have done in recent years to implement energy saving features in homes, such as better insulation and more efficient boilers. I believe the Government is right to review energy efficiency policy to ensure better targeting and I look forward to working with both Government colleagues and local practitioners to ensure that more local people benefit.”

Continue Reading 1 Comment

#LocalStories

Local stories – Energy Efficiency in Penrith and The Border

Our area report on energy efficiency in Penrith and The Border is the third constituency-focused report in our series. Using a combination of national datasets containing constituency-level information, and case studies from local practitioners, we hope there is something of interest for everyone living in and around the area, and are pleased to have seen Cumbria Crack cover it.

CAfSWe spoke to Andrew Northcott, project manager of the Cold to Cosy Homes scheme, who said: “Local householders really appreciate our visits – it gives them confidence to make the changes they need to keep their bills down and homes warm. But to reach the most vulnerable people, we need referrals from other services like the NHS. That’s why this report is so useful, as it will help us highlight the benefits of energy efficiency to a wider audience.”

We are also grateful for Hazel Collingwood’s time. Hazel is the Health and Wellbeing Coordinator for Eden at Age UK Carlisle and Eden, and said: “Having a warm home is an important factor when we assess an older person’s wellbeing. Even Age UK Carlisle and Edensmall changes, such as excluding draughts, can make a huge difference”. However Hazel is concerned that support is not always reaching people in the rural areas she works in. “There are a lot of people in this area that are very isolated. These people really need to be helped more. It is great that a report like this can draw attention to the particular issues that affect people here.”

Do you live in the area, and have any energy efficiency-related stories you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!

Continue Reading No Comments

#LocalStories

Local stories – Energy Efficiency in North Cornwall constituency

Our second in a series of area-based energy efficiency reports covers North Cornwall constituency. We spoke to local energy efficiency practitioners, and investigated national datasets that are detailed enough to tell us something about the area. We aimed to raise awareness of the benefits energy efficiency can bring locally, the hard work involved to achieve them, and the opportunities and challenges that still remain in North Cornwall. We’re pleased to have seen the Western Morning News and Business Cornwall cover it, including reference made to the report by The Plymouth Herald.

Dr Tim Jones, Chief Executive of Community Energy Plus, said: “This report is really helpful for an area like North Cornwall, where the rural and dispersed nature of housing presents us with particular challenges. Over the past 17 years we have helped thousands of households with energy CEPadvice and practical support.  But the collapse in support mechanisms for home energy efficiency improvements has meant that we have been left struggling to provide the help householders need. I welcome this report, which highlights the huge benefits to local residents of home upgrades and shows how more of the same could cut bills and improve residents’ health and well-being.”

North Cornwall MP Scott Mann added: “I commend local installers and scheme managers who’ve done so much over recent years to help my constituents live in warmer, healthier homes.  This report allows me to know what more needs to be done and how I can play my part in making sure it happens.”

Cornwall Wall InsulationsKaty Beach, Operations Manager at Cornwall Wall Insulation, said: “I have seen first-hand how having energy efficiency measures installed can help homes feel warmer, save money and improve people’s lives. The last 12 months have been hard for businesses like ours so it’s great to see a report like this which proves that there is so much more that could be done in the area.”

Cornwall Winter WellbeingAnthony Ball, Winter Wellness lead at Cornwall Council, said: “Improving energy efficiency in the county is really important for the health and wellbeing of residents. It is a useful tool for helping the local economy – money saved by energy efficiency and insulation, staying warmer for less, is more likely to go to local shops and businesses. This report is a great help in highlighting the benefits Cornwall could get from improved energy efficiency.”

Continue Reading No Comments

#LocalStories

Local stories – Energy Efficiency in Wells constituency

A new report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy has shone a spotlight on the energy performance of homes in the Wells constituency.  The report, which has been welcomed by local MP James Heappey and by Warmer Improved Somerset Homes (WISH), a local front-line scheme delivering warmer homes, shows how tens of thousands of local residents have benefited in recent years from proper insulation and efficient boilers, making their homes more affordable to heat and safer to live in. But the report also highlights that residents in Mid-Somerset have seen half as many improvements per household from recent schemes when compared to the national average. It goes on to identify the huge untapped potential for delivering to the remaining residents the benefits their neighbours have seen.

Residents in the Wells constituency have to spend a staggering £72 million on their fuel bills each year. Over recent years national schemes – working hand in hand with dedicated local businesses and charities – have helped offset this by insulating 9,000 lofts and 7,000 cavity walls, while 11,000 efficient boilers have been installed. This has benefited local people in a whole range of ways – combating the health problems associated with cold homes, creating skilled local jobs and diverting money previously spent on fuel bills into local shops and businesses.

But much more remains to be done, the report says.  Around 4,000 homes in the area are so poorly insulated they are in urgent need of upgrades. Some of those will belong to poorer households who struggle to meet the cost of their bills. The Government recently wound down some of the energy efficiency schemes introduced in the last Parliament meaning that public funding for these measures is harder to access.

Article in Weston, Worle & Somerset Mercury, February 4, 2016

Lisa Evans, Programme Manager of Warmer Improved Somerset Homes (WISH), said: “Our scheme is a one-stop shop for energy efficiency advice and we’ve helped over 1,000 households in the two years the scheme has been running. But reductions in funding mean we now struggle to take on more cases. I welcome this report, which highlights the massive benefits to local residents of home upgrades and shows how more of the same could cut bills and improve residents’ health and well-being.”

Wells MP and Energy Select Committee member James Heappey added:

“This report is a very welcome and useful snapshot of the energy efficiency of housing stock in the constituency. I commend local installers and scheme managers who’ve done so much over recent years to help my constituents live in warmer, healthier homes. There are clear benefits in making your home more energy efficient and these benefits extend well beyond simply saving money from your bills.”

“The Government is right to review energy efficiency policy as too much of the money was going in to the insulation of homes whose owners could have afforded to do it themselves and too little was going towards the homes of those who were in fuel poverty. The Energy Select Committee has had a good look at this area of policy and I look forward to working with the Government, the Association for the Conservation of Energy and local practitioners to ensure that new policy targets the fuel poor and allows many more of them to benefit.”

Continue Reading 3 Comments

Energy Bill Revolution,Energy Efficiency,Europe,Fuel Poverty

Still the Cold Man of Europe – briefing

This briefing compares the state of the UK housing stock and fuel poverty levels with 15 other European countries. It concludes that no other country of the 16 assessed performed as poorly overall as the UK across the range of indicators. The UK has among the highest rates of fuel poverty and one of the most energy inefficient housing stocks in Europe.

  • Despite the fact that it has amongst the lowest energy prices, the UK ranks very poorly in terms of the affordability of space heating and fuel poverty, ranking 14th out of 16 on both indicators.
  • It is the poor state of our housing stock that is the main cause of these problems. In terms of households reporting that their home is in a poor state of repair, the UK ranks 12th out of 16.
  • In terms of energy efficiency, out of 11 countries for which data is available, the UK’s walls are ranked 7th, roofs are ranked 8th, floors are ranked 10th and windows are ranked 11th.

The key results are shown in the table below. The latest official European data are used for this briefing, and the UK’s performance compared to our previous assessment two years ago.
Added to this year’s update is an analysis of the homes that seem to be dragging the UK’s rankings down. There are 26 million households in the UK and 21 million with a poor level of energy efficiency (Band D, E, F and G on an Energy Performance Certificate). The energy efficiency of all these homes has to be raised. The average energy efficiency of a UK home is Band D which is not high enough to protect households from fuel poverty.

Indicator 2011 (previous assessment) 2013 (this briefing)
Affordability of space heating 14/15 16/16
Arrears on utility bills in the last 12 months 9/16 14/16
Level of fuel poverty 13/16 14/16
Homes in poor state of repair 12/16 12/16
Thermal performance of…
Walls 6/8 7/11
Roof n/a 8/11
Floor n/a 10/11
Windows n/a 11/11

The least energy efficient homes in England

In this report we use the latest English Housing Survey to analyse those homes in England that are least energy efficient, with a worse than average energy rating (worse than D on the A to G scale). In England, approximately one third of homes – 6.6 million – are rated E, F or G.

The average required energy expenditure across the housing stock is £1,210. In E-rated homes, it is £1,640, in F-rated homes, it is £2,140, and in G-rated homes, it is £2,670, over twice the national average. Using Energy Performance Certificate data for England up to October 2012, the English constituencies with the highest proportions of E, F and G-rated properties are shown below. A full list of English constituencies and how they perform is available in the report.

Parliamentary constituency Share of home rated E, F or G MP Party
St Ives 50.4% Derek Thomas Conservative
Southend West 47.6% David Amess Conservative
Derbyshire Dales 44.8% Patrick McLoughlin Conservative
Ludlow 42.9% Philip Dunne Conservative
West Worcestershire 42.7% Harriett Baldwin Conservative
North Cornwall 42.3% Scott Mann Conservative
Birmingham, Hall Green 42.2% Roger Godsiff Labour
Croydon South 42.1% Chris Philp Conservative
Penrith and The Border 41.9% Rory Stewart Conservative
Southport 41.8% John Pugh Liberal Democrats

Our housing is infrastructure and the UK’s is in a very poor condition, resulting in high levels of fuel poverty and unaffordable energy bills. The solution to this crisis is for the UK Government to designate home energy efficiency as an infrastructure priority and use infrastructure funds to deliver the stable, long-term investment needed to implement a locally-led infrastructure programme to upgrade all UK homes up to Band C on an Energy Performance Certificate.

Continue Reading 8 Comments

Energy Company Obligation,Supplier Commitment

Delivering the best deal for energy consumers: options for the next supplier commitment

For the benefit of consumers and the supply chain, and unlike the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), longevity, simplicity and flexibility must be at the heart of the next supplier commitment’s design (read full position paper). Its objective must be to serve as an important and stable plank to meeting carbon budgets within a wider framework of policies and measures that support a nationwide transformation of the housing stock through staged deep retrofits. It should be capable of delivering a wide range of measures to a large number of households, and drive the best possible outcome for consumers by lowering their bills and improving their health and comfort, both in the medium and long-term. A separate and new fuel poverty programme should be established alongside it, delivered in every locality by working with the devolution agenda and preferably funded through public expenditure. This must be fit for the purpose of meeting England’s new fuel poverty targets and flexible enough to mesh with existing fuel poverty programmes in Scotland and Wales. The next supplier commitment (SC) needs to:

  • Inter-operate with a long-term policy framework for low carbon housing (which is currently lacking with respect to finance, structural tax incentives (e.g. Stamp Duty, Council Tax) and regulation) – which must also be characterised by longevity, simplicity and flexibility
  • Be set in lifetime carbon terms over a five-year time horizon, to 2022, with the five-year time horizon extended every 2.5 years and transparent penalties for non-compliance
  • Be required to satisfy customers, not respond to tick boxes in over-long and costly paper trails
  • Include the able-to-pay and have a robust but broad distributional safeguard for fairness
  • Use deemed carbon scores to enable consistent and stable offers to be made to consumers while reducing administrative cost
  • Deliver and employ individual home retrofit roadmaps to make staged deep retrofit a reality
  • Not constrain any part of the SC to only particular measure classes (such as the Carbon Emissions Reduction Obligation and insulation) and be allowed to install any Green Deal approved measure across insulation, heating and controls, lighting and renewables
  • Deliver an ambitious solid wall insulation programme with a minimum of 500,000 installations for the first five-year period, concentrating on houses and guided by quality of installation
  • Include mandatory minimum delivery through brokerage, the level of which should be kept under review

Continue Reading No Comments

CONTACT US | FIND US | US | © 2017 Association for the Conservation of Energy. CAN Mezzanine, Old Street, 49 - 51 East Road, London N1 6AH. Registered company number 01650772