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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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. 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.
‘Closer to home’ presents the results of a study commissioned by Citizens Advice to investigate national models for locally-led delivery of energy efficiency and fuel poverty services. Led by the Association for the Conservation of Energy with support from CAG Consultants, the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Dr Joanne Wade, the research comprised in-depth interviews with 40 expert stakeholders, five workshops and a survey of 70 local authorities – to develop proposals for a framework to govern greater locally-led delivery.
New research by ACE for the Energy Bill Revolution campaign has found that in the last five years, 46,700 people in the UK have died due to living in a cold home. Our research used official data on Excess Winter Deaths. This is an assessment of how many more people die in the winter than at other times of year. These deaths are primarily due to illnesses brought on by the cold. It is estimated by the World Health Organisation that 30% of these Excess Winter Deaths are due to people living in cold homes.
ACE Research have been working with The Children’s Society to investigate the problem of energy debt for families. The research found that almost a million children are living in families in energy debt and too often energy companies are not following their legal obligations to help these families.
ACE Research has completed the project “Reaching Fuel Poor Families”, which was conducted in partnership with The Children’s Society and funded by Eaga Charitable Trust. The research shows that Children’s Centres can play a significant role in engaging fuel poor families, especially if schemes are long-term and work in partnership with other local organisations. The report makes recommendations for how local authorities, government, energy companies and the third sector can support engagement with fuel poor families through Children’s Centres.
ACE Research and the Energy Bill Revolution have prepared a high-level briefing outlining the flaws of DECC’s draft fuel poverty strategy for England and setting out what the objectives of the fuel poverty should be. This is especially recommended reading if you are in the process of responding to DECC’s fuel poverty consultation, which closes on October 7.
ACE Research, in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust and Solstice Associates developed a Renewable Heat Incentive calculator for DECC and the Scottish Government. The tool was designed to provide a reliable estimate of the DRHI payments for biomass heating systems, ground and air source heat pumps and solar thermal systems.
Today ACE and the Energy Bill Revolution publish a set of slides and a briefing which assess the impact of the Government’s current energy efficiency policies and compare them against past performance and what needs to happen to effectively tackle fuel poverty and meet the recommendations of the Committee on Climate Change.
Commissioned by the Green Construction Board’s Valuation & Demand Group, ACE Research, in partnership with Sweett Group, has delivered a comprehensive but high level qualitative and quantitative review of energy policies targeted at residential buildings over the last 20 years. The main purpose of the work is to help the civil service maintain a long view on ‘what works’ in residential energy efficiency programmes as staff are turned over. The outputs have been brought together in an interactive dashboard designed as a tool to bring officials up to speed on residential energy efficiency programmes quickly. To date, the tool has been presented to, and tested with, DECC, BIS and the Cabinet Office.
Bozhidar Bozhkov joined ACE this spring for an internship. He is an MSc student in Economics and Policy of Energy and the Environment at the Energy Institute of University College London. Currently, he is working on his dissertation project and a joint briefing paper with ACE (based on the dissertation), which is intended to offer a systemic review of the Green Deal energy efficiency programme. To achieve a panoramic review of the policy, a number of interviews with experts from government, industry and consumer society will be brought together in an innovative conceptual framework that will capture the intricate dynamics steering the Green Deal’s emerging story.
Eaga Charitable Trust has funded The Children’s Society and the Association for the Conservation of Energy to carry out the project “Reaching fuel poor families: Informing new approaches to promoting take-up of fuel poverty assistance among families with children”. This research will review a range of fuel poverty schemes aimed at families, especially those run through Children’s Centres. It will also involve an in-depth evaluation of one specific scheme based in a Children’s Centre run by The Children’s Society.
What skills and know-how do people use to keep warm at home? Where does this knowledge come from? These questions are addressed in a new article by ACE researcher Sarah Royston, published in the journal Energy Research and Social Science.
Our partners, the Energy Saving Trust asked us to work with them to create a new Home Energy Check tool. Their previous tool had a high drop-out rate due to the number of questions that had to be answered, a key requirement was to provide results for those that wanted quick answers.
Consumer Futures commissioned ACE Research to model the cost and impact of introducing ambitious new fuel poverty targets. This new report presents the results of the research, as introduced by William Baker, Head of Fuel Poverty Policy at Consumer Futures. Consumer Futures has long advocated an ambitious strategy to address the fuel poverty crisis in England. We also consider a national programme to install extensive insulation and efficient heating systems in the homes of low income consumers would make a major contribution towards eliminating fuel poverty. The UK Government’s proposal to develop a new Fuel Poverty Strategy for England provides an important opportunity to introduce just such a programme.
In the context of a growing political debate regarding the best way to cut energy bills, this briefing shows that a family could be wasting around 41% of their gas every year if they live in a typical fuel poor home, due to a low standard of energy efficiency. They could save 41% of their gas costs each year by installing energy efficiency measures. There are over 6.7 million homes in England (one in three) which have very poor levels of energy efficiency, representing an E, F or G rating on an Energy Performance Certificate. In England, 1.41 million fuel poor homes (more than half) fall into this category.