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Posts Tagged ‘Housing’

#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.”

 

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BIS,Building Regulations,Cabinet Office,DECC,Housing,supplier obligation

Review of energy efficiency policies in housing

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. Throughout, the work was informed and guided by stakeholders in government, industry and the NGO sector.

The main purpose of the work is to support the civil service to 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. This is accompanied by a full report and an executive summary. To date, the tool has been presented to, and tested with, DECC, BIS, the Cabinet Office.

Download the project’s resources below, and let us know what you think:

 

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Department for Communities and Local Government,Housing,Private Rented Sector

DCLG: Review of Property Conditions in the Private-Rented Sector

ACE and Friends of the Earth have long been concerned about the poor standards of energy efficiency (and high concentrations of fuel poor and vulnerable households) in the private rented sector (PRS). The PRS is a rapidly growing part of the housing market. Of the 22.8m households in England in 2011, 4 million were privately rented (17.5% of the housing stock). This was an increase of 1.6m in only six years – and is the highest level since the early 1990s. The Department for Communities and Local Government has issued a review of property conditions in the PRS, and invited stakeholder responses; ACE and Friends of the Earth have provided theirs together.

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Department for Communities and Local Government,Housing,Housing Standards Review,Merton Rule,Planning and Energy Act

Government row-back on green homes could mean higher energy bills for consumers

The domestic renewable energy industry has condemned the Government’s suggestion to do away with the 2008 Planning and Energy Act. The Act, promoted by Michael Fallon, who is now Energy Minister, provides local authorities with the ability to set specific carbon, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets for new build properties (the so-called ‘Merton Rule’). The suggestion is part of the Government’s consultation on the Housing Standards Review, published yesterday.

The recent update to national Building Regulations did not impose strict enough carbon reduction targets to incentivise the integration of on-site renewables (such as solar energy systems, heat pumps and biomass boilers) into new properties. DCLG admitted this in its Impact Assessment. The Planning and Energy Act’s ‘Merton Rule’ is therefore the only policy tool explicitly incentivising on-site renewables in new homes, and must remain available to local authorities at least until Building Regulations are sufficiently strong to drive uptake of on-site renewables in new homes (which will not be before 2016 at the earliest).

Read the full joint press release by ACE, the Renewable Energy Association, the Micropower Council and the Solar Trade Association.

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Demographics,ECEEE,Green Deal,Housing

ACE Research papers well-received at Europe’s largest energy efficiency conference

ACE Research presented two papers at the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy‘s biennial Summer Study a fortnight ago. One investigates the energy efficiency implications of an ageing population in the context of constricted housing supply. The other examines the history of the Green Deal’s development to date. Continue reading to find the abstracts, along with links to the full papers and their presentations.

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Domestic Emissions,Evaluation,Global Action Plan,Hackney,Housing

Evaluation of Hackney CO2 Reduction Pilot

Independent evaluation of the Hackney carbon emissions reduction pilot

Over fourteen months in 2010 and 2011 the ACE Research Team, in partnership with Blooming Green and Dr Joanne Wade, carried out an rolling evaluation of a pilot project aiming to promote energy use and carbon reductions in the housing stock in one Hackney ward. The project was commissioned by the Sustainable Environment Group of Hackney’s Local Strategic Partnership.

team hackney  smallThe evaluation team worked alongside Global Action Plan, the organisation that delivered the project, to provide input into the ongoing development of the approach and to produce a final evaluation of the project against its objectives. The evaluation report brings together the lessons from all stages of the project evaluation and sets this learning in the context of the future landscape that Hackney partners will face when continuing with work to reduce energy use in the future.

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Buildings,Homes Bonus,Housing

CLG Consultation on the New Homes Bonus

ACE’s Director Andrew Warren has submitted a written response to Consultation on the new homes bonus 

The Association for the Conservation of Energy represents the major manufacturers, distributors and installers of energy saving equipment. As its director, I have recently been invited by the Minister for Energy & Climate Change to chair the government’s stakeholder forum regarding maximising the impact of the Green Deal in British buildings.

I welcome the concept of rewarding local authorities for facilitating new construction , and believe that the financial rewards mooted should vary according to the sustainability standards required of such homes : the higher the standards, the greater the bonus.Those authorities which opt to require standards higher than those minimum required under Parts F and L of the building regulations should be rewarded.

There is however one question raised in this consultation which, as currently posed, has the potential to counter a key strand of government policy, regarding the delivery of the Green Deal. This question reads:Do you agree with the proposal to reward local authorities for bringing empty properties back into use through the New Homes Bonus?

Whilst this Association welcomes moves to incentivise restoring occupancy of existing homes currently unoccupied, we insist that the provision of any such bonuses for the relevant housing authoritycan only be if the home in question has at minimum an Energy Performance Certificate of C rating or above. It would be entirely contradictory for government to be endorsing financial rewards which endorse the occupancy of energy sub-standard properties.

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Buildings,Housing

CLG Consultation: Sustainable New Homes – The Road to Zero Carbon

ACE have submitted a written response to the Department for Communities and Local Government consultation: “Consultation on the code for sustainable homes and the energy efficiency standard for zero carbon homes”

In our response we put forward many ideas including the fact that ACE is disappointed that the Government has failed to deliver on its promise to maket the Code and raise awareness of it among consumers. The majority of home buyers are only dimly aware of the Code, if at all. An important opportunity has been missed to increase consumer demand for sustainable homes.

If you would like to read our response to all the questions then please click here for the full response.

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Housing

DCLG consultation: Reform of council housing finance

ACE have submitted a written response to the Department of Communities and Local Government consultation: “Reform of council housing finance”

In Summary

In principle, ACE agrees with the proposed move to a devolved system of council housing finance. However, we are concerned that councils’ ability to deliver energy efficiency improvements post-2010 may be hindered if they are burdened with excessive debt. The current consultation contains the bold assertion that, “self-financing would require a one-off reallocation of housing debt in order to put all councils in a position where they could support their stock from their rental income in future.” However, we seek further clarification on this point, along with assurances that councils will have sufficient headroom in their business plans to enable them to deliver further energy efficiency improvements in their housing stock.

ACE is deeply concerned that Government is missing yet another opportunity in this consultation to commit to improving the energy efficiency of social housing in order to reduce fuel poverty and protect tenants from rising fuel prices. ACE calls for a post-2010 ‘Decent Homes Plus’ target that includes a much more ambitious thermal comfort criterion.

Click here fot the full response

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Buildings,Heating,Housing

CLG Inquiry: Beyond Decent Homes

ACE have submitted a written response to the “Communities and Local Government Committee Inquiry “Beyond Decent Homes: decent housing standards post-2010”

In Summary

While the Decent Homes Programme has delivered significant improvements in social housing, the thermal comfort element of the current standard is woefully inadequate to provide affordable warmth. ACE therefore believes that, post-2010, a ‘Decent Homes Plus’ target should be set using a much more ambitious thermal comfort criterion. We endorse the recommendation of both the EFRA Select Committee and the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group that the Government should assess the cost and feasibility of introducing a SAP 81 standard as the basis of an improved thermal comfort level for all social housing.

It is anticipated that 95% of the social housing stock will be ‘decent’ by 2010. However, the remaining 5% should be tackled as a matter of priority – and Government should ensure sufficient levels of funding to enable this to happen.

Following the abolition by CLG of the national targets for private sector homes occupied by vulnerable households, we are concerned that there is now no means of enforcing the Decent Homes Standard in the private sector. Government should give urgent consideration to regulating the private rented sector to prevent landlords from renting out F- or G-rated properties. In the short term, we make a number of suggestions below of ways in which local authorities can bring about better energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector through more effective use of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System.

Click here for the full response

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