British Gas to close energy efficiency businessInsights from Social Housing ProjectsEnergiesprong Supply Chain Opportunities WorkshopGrants to improve health for residents living in cold or damp homes and more...
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Issue 430
Wednesday 3 February 2015
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Insights from Social Housing Projects: Building Performance Evaluation Meta-Analysis
The Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) programme was an £8 million competition funded by Innovate UK to evaluate and assess the post-construction and in-use performance of both domestic and non-domestic buildings.
We were commissioned by Innovate UK to undertake an analysis of the data arising from all 28 registered provider-led projects. These projects were made up of a total of 83 test dwellings. 
Findings from the study identified:
  • Key success factors (where things worked well and not so well).
  • Practices which resulted in a significant performance gap.
  • The relative impact of specific attributes such as defects and building services on the performance gap.
Our meta-analysis revealed the trigger points resulting in social housing projects failing to deliver on the designed performance targets, and identified a number of key issues for the future. Our research will empower registered providers who have the means to champion and combat the ‘performance gap’ in buildings, and allow them to apply lessons from the BPE to their new developments.

A Transformative Approach to Whole House Refurbishment - Energiesprong Supply Chain Opportunities Workshop. Coventry. Tue 23 Feb
This workshop is organised by the Refurbishment as a Manufacturing Industry (REMI) Project and supported by Innovate UK. Energiesprong is a revolutionary approach to delivering attractive 'whole-house' refurbishments that have a guaranteed net-zero-energy performance - they produce at least as much energy during a year as they consume. The afternoon will introduce the nature and scale of this opportunity and provide a forum for companies to come together to think about innovative products, systems and services for the UK market. The event is aimed at anyone working in: the building envelope, building services, refurbishment process delivery (logistics, surveying, transport, installation and finishing) and building operation (energy monitoring and feedback, ongoing maintenance and support).

Grants to improve health for residents living in cold or damp homes
The National Energy Foundation launches ‘Better Housing, Better Health’ - a new service to help those whose health is affected by living in cold or damp homes. The Foundation is working in partnership with eleven local authorities across Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to provide:
  • Grants of up to £2,500 for energy efficiency measures.
  • Free surveys to identify potential risks to health where someone has a respiratory illness or cardiovascular disease.
  • Support with benefits checks, fuel debt mediation and switching energy tariff or supplier.
The project is funded by the British Gas Energy Trust.

NEF’s WHISCERS insulation system helps cut energy
The National Energy Foundation’s WHISCERS internal wall insulation system helps Bicester Town Council cut its office’s annual gas and electricity use by 67% and 22%.

Ecobuild 2016
Our staff will be taking an active part in Ecobuild again this year. On 8 March, Adam Tilford (Senior Energy Specialist) will be one of the speakers presenting in a session chaired by Rob Pannell, Managing Director of the Zero Carbon Trust, on closing the loop on building performance in new homes. Adam’s presentation will be entitled: Developing a robust process to close the performance gap at Whitehill & Bordon.

On 10 March, Arno Schmickler will present at a seminar on Energiesprong in the UK. This session will include a number of speakers on Energiesprong and will be chaired by our Chief Executive, Kerry Mashford. Arno will present: The business case and potential for an Energiesprong approach in the UK.
How Government policy is keeping bills down
DECC issues five short messages about what the Government is currently doing to keep energy bills down, and what it's going to do in the future.
Transitional year for ECO
In oral evidence to the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee, Lord Bourne describes 2017-18 as a transitional year for ECO before the new scheme is fully introduced - but it’s not clear what this really means. See p 8.
Opposition to FiT cuts
The Government’s proposed solar cuts get a rough ride from the opposition in the Energy Bill’s second reading.
No FiT for London
Despite London having the lowest level of deployment of any region in the UK, the city’s Mayor, Boris Johnson, pours cold water over the possibility of a top-up feed-in tariff scheme for the city.
A call to bring back ZCH
The Solar Trade Association urges the Government to replace the scrapped zero carbon homes policy, in order to avoid higher emissions and energy bills for years to come, as well as costly retrofits in the future.
Latest figures on ECO and Green Deal
DECC releases the latest provisional headline statistics on the ECO and Green Deal household energy efficiency schemes.
Lord Bourne appears before Commons ECCC
A transcript of the oral evidence given to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee by Lord Bourne on energy efficiency and demand reduction on 19 January.
£14m for Scottish energy efficiency
£14 million is to be made available to Scottish local authorities to make buildings and businesses more energy efficient. The fund will help to pilot new and innovative approaches to energy efficiency with community groups and businesses, which can then be taken forward from 2018.
ECCC chair wades into the Government
The Head of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee launches a scathing attack on DECC, its policy and its lack of a coherent strategy.

EPCs top 15m
The latest EPC statistics from DECC show a total of 15,053,794 have been lodged since 2008, of which 96% are for domestic properties.
British Gas to close energy efficiency business
British Gas announces the closure of its energy efficiency business with the loss of 500 jobs. Any future ECO work is to be outsourced.

Another call for insulation to be national infrastructure policy
The two extremes of cold and warm homes, and why Policy Exchange believes domestic insulation on a large scale should be part of the Government’s national infrastructure priorities.

Cold Homes Week
As part of this year’s Cold Homes Week, Age UK is asking members of the public to join a social media candlelight vigil against fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.

No Cold Homes
Labour MP for Norwich South, Clive Lewis, launches his No Cold Homes campaign to end fuel poverty.

Action needed on excess winter deaths
Despite their much harsher weather, all the Scandinavian countries have far lower winter mortality rates than the UK - so why is one older person dying here every seven minutes during the winter?

Energy bills, the Big Six and people dying of cold
With so many elderly people perishing in cold homes, why doesn’t the Prime Minister act and force suppliers to cut their prices?

Cold weather leaves elderly worried about energy costs
In a survey of 2,000 people, 46% of those over 65 concerned that the recent cold weather could lead to higher energy bills, and 61% of those surveyed said that they’re likely to cut down on their energy use to cut the cost of their bills.

Boris boiler cashback
Londoners have the chance to save £400 on a new boiler thanks to a £2.6 million cashback scheme recently launched in the capital.
Help with energy bills
A House of Commons Briefing Paper sets out the sources of financial and practical help with domestic energy bills.

Understanding homeowners’ decisions on energy efficiency
In the UK, just one in 10 renovations is undertaken for the explicit purpose of improving energy efficiency. How homeowners make decisions about energy efficiency and the need to 'piggyback' on home renovation projects.

NEA announces first health and innovation projects
The fuel poverty charity, National Energy Agency, announces the first projects to be funded under the £26.2 million health and innovation programme.

SSE cuts cost of domestic gas
Big Six SSE announces a 5.3% reduction in domestic gas prices – the equivalent to a saving of nearly £33 per year on the average bill.
Scottish Power cuts price of gas
Scottish Power is to cut the price of its standard gas tariff by 5.4% from 15 March. It’s the third of the big suppliers to do so this year and customers will save an average of £32 a year.

TILs, TCRs and Personal Projections
What are Tariff Information Labels, Tariff Comparison Rates & Personal Projections? How do they help consumers get the best deal on their energy bills?

”Efforts clearly have not been enough”
The words of Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of Energy Union, in his speech at the launch event of the European task force on energy poverty.

Winter Warmth packs distributed
Local housing staff deliver Winter Warmth packs to 200 residents in Hull.
LA toolkits on energy efficiency finance
Three new toolkits have been launched for local authorities on financing solutions for energy efficiency renovations in buildings.

Quality standards for insulation installers
The National Insulation Association launches new quality assurance standards for its members installing external wall, internal wall, cavity wall and loft insulation, plus also draughtproofing.

Two US states tackle retrofit
How California and New York are approaching the problem of energy efficiency in old and existing buildings, by using a mix of rebates and tax breaks to help offset the costs.

A Eureka lightbulb moment
A handy infographic on everything you need to know about lightbulbs.

Large energy efficiency savings for NHS Trust
Salford Royal Hospital aims to save £1.9 million a year with an extensive energy efficiency upgrade.

Large-scale refurbishments for Hull
2,000 homes in Hull are to benefit from lower energy bills and better living conditions after Willmott Dixon is appointed as the city's energy partner and large-scale refurbishments are planned.

Large-scale PV for Sunderland
5,000 Sunderland homes are fitted with solar panels in time to beat the Government’s cut to the feed-in tariff. 
Sunflower houses follow the sun
In Portugal, houses have been developed that rotate and have tilting roofs that follow the sun in order to maximise their electricity generation, which can be up to five times that of a home of the same size would typically require to run.

Electricity from slow-moving water
A UK entrepreneur develops a new system for generating electricity from slow-moving water in places where space is at a premium.

Energy benefits from self-cleaning windows
Researchers in London develop intelligent self-cleaning windows that regulate a building’s temperature, reduce glare from the sun and save energy.
Only 60% ESOS compliant
The Environment Agency  reports that less than 60% of 10,000 businesses are ESOS compliant by the extended deadline date, with a further 1,000 notifications of intent to comply.
Energy efficiency in industry to increase
A study predicts that the uptake of energy efficiency will rise up to 2050 in industries that, in 2013, accounted for 25% of total EU final energy consumption, or 98% of industrial final energy consumption.
IMechE calls for assessment of electricity demand reduction incentives
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers calls on the new UK Infrastructure Commission to assess the necessary incentives (both industry and public) to reduce demand for electricity through introducing efficiencies into processes and equipment, awareness-raising and advocacy.
Home Quality Mark
The Home Quality Mark for new-build residential properties (which includes an assessment of energy efficiency and costs) and was originally announced by BRE last March is launched and is now open for registrations.
Report finds energy storage nearing economic
An independent report commissioned by the Renewable Energy Association finds that energy storage in the UK is very near to being economic, and looks at the steps needed to expand the market.
Boom for energy storage
Near exponential growth is predicted for the UK energy storage sector with a possible 1.6GW capacity by 2020.
EPC software change
A change to the software used to produce EPCs is made after it was discovered that wrong ratings had been given to around 10,000 properties with solid walls and uninsulated cavity walls.
Solar costs continue down and generation up
The cost of solar panels will continue its recent downward trend by falling by 10% per year, putting solar on course to meet 20% of global energy needs by 2027.
Solar surge
The number of solar installations in the UK surged by around 63% between October and December last year in a rush to beat the subsidy cut-off date.
Online personalised PV savings
The electronics giant, Panasonic, launches an online platform that gives homeowners personalised estimates of the potential savings from having solar PV fitted.
Solar PV in record time
Brighton University installs rooftop PV in 'record time' before the feed-in tariff is reduced.
Hybrid energy generates renewable energy in Wales
Solar is being combined with existing wind farms in Wales to create hybrid renewable energy parks capable of generating electricity for around 3,000 homes.
De-mything the idea that Passivhaus is expensive
An attractive, two-storey house near Barnsley proves that building to Passivhaus standards doesn't have to be expensive.
Energy efficiency popular among SMEs
A European survey shows that 40% of SMEs reckon that resource efficiency reduces production costs, and finds that energy efficiency is one of the most popular actions.
Three countries combine to develop massive marine energy system
A large-scale marine renewable energy system is planned by Ireland, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The facility will generate 6.2GW a year by 2020, enough electricity for around 1.8 million homes.
Green mortgages for the UK?
Green mortgages are quite common in the US. What are they are will they take hold in the UK?
Energy efficiency not zero carbon
Why aiming for zero carbon buildings is the wrong target, and why the focus should be on energy efficiency.
Energy-positive housing courtesy of TV presenter
The housebuilding company chaired by TV’s Kevin McCloud commits to delivering its first energy-positive housing scheme by 2018.
Passivhaus guides
Guides for anyone wishing to build their own Passivhaus house but don’t know where to start. Useful guides, events, links and projects to start the Passivhaus journey.
Passivhaus e-learning
The Passivhaus Institute announces that its e-learning platform will be going live soon with its first course becoming available in March.
UK Energy Efficiency Trends
The latest 'UK Energy Efficiency Trends' shows a surge in energy efficiency projects commissioned in the third quarter of 2015.
Biomass to heat water
Although using biomass to generate steam and heat water is contrary to conventional wisdom, with the right combination of expertise, there could be major opportunities ahead.
Energy hungry data centres
Experts warn that data centres, which currently consume about 3% of global electricity, will consume three times as much energy in next decade, thereby putting an enormous strain on energy supplies and dealing a hefty blow to efforts to contain global warming, 
New social media data centre 100% renewable
Facebook is to build a new data centre in Ireland that will run on 100% renewable energy, thanks to Irish wind.

Peterborough EfW goes live
A state-of-the-art energy-from-waste plant in Peterborough goes live and starts converting 85,000 tonnes of black bag waste per year into enough electricity for over 11,000 households.
Jobs across the UK
Various energy-related jobs across the country are available on the following websites. Take a look at:
Tackling Energy Demand and Management to Achieve Real Reduction in Non-Domestic Buildings. London. Wed 10 Feb
This one-day conference organised by Ashden, and in partnership with Arup, offers new ideas, solutions and inspiration that will allow delegates to move ahead with systematic energy reduction programmes for their own buildings. Chaired by Jonathon Porritt, the event includes some high-profile speakers.

NEA Wales Annual Conference. Looking to the future: Warmer and Healthier Homes for All. Cardiff. Thu 11 Feb
The conference will bring together representatives from a diverse range of organisations and sectors in Wales including the private, commercial, health and voluntary sectors to debate and explore the key actions needed to create warmer and healthier homes. There will also be an opportunity to find out what is happening across the UK, looking at different schemes and approaches to tackling fuel poverty across the four nations.

Retrofitting Traditional Buildings: Principles and Practice. London. Thu 11 Feb
A one-day technical training course covering emerging research, best practice and case studies in the field of upgrading traditional and historic buildings.
  • How do we protect our traditional buildings but make them fit for the future?
  • What are the risks for large-scale retrofit projects?
  • How can solid-walled buildings be insulated without causing unintended consequences?
How to Gain a Commercial Advantage with Behaviour Change. Webinar. 11am, Thu 11 Feb
  • Discover why behaviour change produces the best results as part of an integrated series of measures.
  • Learn how to apply a behaviour change programme which is relevant and realistic in a commercial setting.
  • Gain insights and tips on how to conduct behaviour change that can produce measurable, replicable results whilst lowering risk with limited CAPEX.
Building Performance Evaluation – Understanding the Performance Gap. London. Mon 15 Feb
Building Better Buildings: 50 years of Environmental Design and Engineering at The Bartlett.
UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering hosts the last event in Zero Carbon Hub's ‘Building Better Buildings’ series. This full-day conference will look back at the successes of the Innovate UK Building Performance Evaluation Programme, answer questions about the ‘performance gap’ and look forward to the future of education for built environment professionals, whilst celebrating 50 years of Environmental Design and Engineering at The Bartlett, UCL.

New Horizon 2020 funding opportunities in advanced manufacturing, energy efficiency building, nanotech and Factories of the Future. Manchester. Tue 8 Mar
An information event to present new funding technologies in the nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing and processing (NMP), energy efficiency and factories for the future arena for 2016-2017 under Horizon 2020, the €79 billion innovation programme funded by the European Commission. Places are limited to 50. Registration closes on 26th February 2016.

ESOS Showcase. London. Tue 15 Mar
This UK-GBC event will take a detailed look at the debut year of the scheme. The first half of the event will focus on learning lessons from the policy itself: what worked and what didn’t, and how the scheme could be improved ahead of the next audit cycle. The second half will focus on how industry responded: showcasing ambitious action taken by those covered by the scheme, and how the supply chain rose to the challenge of supporting that ambition.
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