Goodbye to DECCShould energy teleswitching be switched off? Cheaper energy tariffs go following EU voteSaving a Royal Mint and more...
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Issue 442
Wednesday 20 July 2016
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Bookings open for SuperHome Open Days in September
SuperHome Open Days this September promise to be extra exciting with at least six recently refurbished homes opening to the public for the first time. Around 50 pioneering households are preparing to open their doors across the UK. If you’re considering improving your own home, this is a golden opportunity to visit a similar property and get a real feel for the type of home energy improvements that you could make. When it comes to exploring your options ‘Seeing really is believing’.

National Housing Federation Development, Asset Management and Maintenance Conference and Exhibition 2016. Birmingham. 21-22 September
On the first day of this NHF conference, our Principal Energy Specialist, Luke Smith, will be presenting as part of the 4:30pm session: Innovation in Asset Management. The aim of this conference is to help social housing providers accelerate housing delivery and manage their homes and services to ensure they meet the needs of their tenants and the housing regulator. The conference outlines how associations can develop and integrate new build and asset programmes to deliver great homes and strong and resilient communities. It also provides delegates with up-to-the-minute sessions on current asset management policy development and practical sessions about practice on the ground. It focuses on how asset management can help to deliver sustainable homes and communities, and how to maximise affordable housing delivery in an era of ‘Starter Homes’.
This is an annual event that has a strong audience of asset managers and development practitioners. It also has the added benefit of being part of the first Housing Week, which consists of four huge events:
  • Annual Conference and Exhibition.
  • Young Leaders’ Experience.
  • Health and Housing and Development.
  • Asset Management and Maintenance Conference.
Social housing energy efficiency retrofit – ‘state of the nation’ survey 2016
Against what is arguably a backdrop of the toughest market conditions in a decade for domestic energy efficiency, the ‘state of the nation’ survey - the largest study of retrofit activity in the UK - is seeking the social housing sector’s views on the opportunities, challenges and progress in energy efficiency retrofit. The survey is being undertaken by The National Energy Foundation in partnership with Capita, the University of Salford and Customer Plus. Please take the survey (which should take no more than 10 minutes) and enter a prize draw to a win an iPad mini.

Sustainable Cities: Assessing the Performance and Practice of Urban Environments. New book now available at 30% DISCOUNT
With more than half the global population now living in urban areas, one of the key issues confronting us today is how we make our growing cities sustainable. A new hardback book Sustainable Cities offers valuable insights for addressing this vital challenge. It evaluates our urban environments and assesses the progress that is being made towards achieving cities that are sustainable.
Our Chief Executive, Kerry Mashford, has written the chapter on energy use in buildings and the book is essential reading for academics and professionals in: urban planning; energy and environmental policy, practice and management; urban geography; climate change; and environmental science and technology.
Sustainable Cities is available to buy at a 30% discount using the promotional code CITIES30

Getting ready for HECA
Dale Hoyland, our Strategic Development & Affordable Warmth Manager, considers the next round of Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) reporting, the deadline for which is 31 March 2017. He looks at how the National Energy Foundation can help councils report on their actions from their last reports, set out their energy-saving ambitions and targets, and outline the key actions and partnerships needed to deliver them.

The Retrofit Academy Retrofit Coordinator Diploma courses
The Retrofit Academy is the leading provider of training for businesses involved in the sustainable refurbishment of buildings, and provides Retrofit Coordinator Diploma courses on the following subjects in London, Manchester and Milton Keynes:
  • Assessing Dwellings for Retrofit.
  • Building Fabric and Solid Wall Insulation.
  • Building Services for Retrofit.
  • Introduction to Domestic Retrofit.
  • Retrofit Building Physics.
  • Retrofit Coordination and Risk Management.
  • The Business Case for Retrofit.
  • Ventilation and Air Tightness for Retrofit.
Goodbye to DECC
The Government abolishes the Department of Energy and Climate Change and Greg Clark becomes Secretary of State in an expanded department for business, energy and industrial strategy.

Former ministers condemn DECC abolition
The scrapping of DECC is condemned by former ministers as a major setback to the UK’s efforts to combat global warming.

Comments on DECC
Leading green sector figures react to the scrapping of DECC.

What now for UK environment policy?
The key question now for UK environment policy under the shadow of Brexit is whether it can match/exceed EU ambitions - or whether it will decline and whither.

Green alliance calls on BEIS to commit to EU energy targets
An alliance of trade bodies, pressure groups and NGOs calls on the new Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to give assurances that the Government will continue to meet the European Union’s energy directives and targets until Brexit terms are in place.

Government responds to ECCC
The Government responds to the House of Commons Committee on Energy and Climate Change’s inquiry into home energy efficiency and demand reduction, and the recommendations it made.

Joined-up approach to home energy efficiency
Post ECO, the Energy Saving Trust calls for a new 'joined-up' way forward in the UK’s domestic energy efficiency agenda, on the basis that it’s an investment that pays for itself. With the existence of such a large body of evidence, it maintains that we now need to stop discussing options and start implementing.

In the midst of an energy revolution
The National Grid sees the UK adopting solar, electric vehicles and batteries faster than previously expected resulting in a rapidly changing landscape for the UK energy system and the likelihood of an energy revolution.

Lack of government incentives single biggest barrier to uptake of energy efficiency
The TFT Energy Survey 2016 looks into the current barriers to delivering truly energy efficient real estate. The report found that 80% of commercial property landlords claim a lack of government incentives is the single biggest barrier to widespread energy efficiency measures being introduced across the UK’s commercial real estate. 

DSR provides the potential to save billions
A new report claims that Britain could save billions of pounds by paying businesses to shift their power usage to less energy-intensive times of the day, in what the industry calls Demand Side Response.

Bayesian analysis to investigate impact of UK boiler policy
A paper investigates the impact of the UK policy to require new boilers to be high efficiency and condensing, and uses a novel method to analyse policy performance. A technological uptake model is combined with four physical and economic models, and Bayesian techniques are used for data analysis to find best fit parameters and compare performance.
Review of Ofgem penalty payments process
When energy suppliers either flout the rules or let their customers down, it usually involves a ‘fine’. Ofgem is reviewing the way these ‘fines’ are distributed to charitable organisations - so that consumers get the most out of the money. Ofgem is proposing changes that involve a more diverse number of charities receiving funding but is calling for responses from all interested parties.     

Should energy teleswitching be switched off?
Consultation on whether the energy teleswitching service should be switched off next year. The service allows energy suppliers to switch payment rates for customers on tariffs such as Economy 7, and remotely switch on and off electric heating systems in households using the tariffs. The technology providing the service and is obsolete, and it would cost £1.5 million in immediate maintenance and around £1 million per year to keep the system in operation. The consultation closes on Friday, 5 August.
Five tips to save energy when renting
It’s very common for tenants to pay the heat and electricity bills themselves, so what can they do to keep their bills under control?

Energy chiefs call for bill levy overhaul
Two of the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers call for an overhaul of the regressive and unfair way policy and network costs are charged to consumers on their energy bills, on the basis that they place a disproportionate burden on the poorest customers.

Changes to what price comparison sites show
A new CMA ruling means that energy price comparison sites can now just show deals that earn them commission – so consumers are advised to make sure they shop around for the best deals.

Cheaper energy tariffs go following EU vote
After the EU Referendum result, 12 energy companies pull some of their fixed-rate tariffs and replace them with more expensive deals.
Following research, party walls join ECO
New research from Knauf shows the energy-saving potential of party walls, which are now available for ECO.

Exemplar retrofit for historic university building
A case study of an exemplary retrofit of a 200-year-old, Grade I listed halls of residence at Trinity College, Cambridge University.

Schools benefit from on-brand insulation
The installation of an insulated render façade for seven Telford schools both saves energy and is right on brand.

Moves to increase London’s solar power generation
According to a recent report, only one in 200 London homes is currently powered by solar energy. Various community projects in Hackney are taking action to increase the percentage of the UK’s solar output that is generated in the capital.

Welsh tourist venue in on-site utility agreement
Celtic Manor Resort near Newport signs a 15-year on-site utility agreement worth around £4.11 million that includes a new, very efficient combined heat and power system.

Museum benefits from lighting upgrade
New energy-efficient floodlighting at a South Wales museum and heritage centre (and former colliery) reduces energy consumption by 75% and lowers costs.

Saving a Royal Mint
The factory in South Wales that produces the coin of the realm is to save a mint following the installation of solar panels.

Fracking village goes solar
Balcombe village, previously threatened by fracking, goes solar. It started with 69 solar panels on a cow shed, but quickly grew as the community put solar in four local schools and built a solar farm, run by the community, producing enough electricity to power Balcombe and a neighbouring village.
New molecule has potential to make solar cells much more efficient
Researchers achieve a milestone in their quest to develop efficient solar technology as an alternative to fossil fuels. They investigate a new molecule that can be used to increase the lifetime of organic solar cells – while also making them more efficient.
Call for Ofgem to improve scrutiny of new energy suppliers
Established energy companies raise fears over the ease with which new suppliers can be set up, especially after the regulator, Ofgem, proposed making them pick up the tab if a rival goes bust.

UK now has enough solar to provide electricity for 3.8m homes
Analysis shows that UK solar power hits new record highs in June, providing almost a quarter of its electricity at one point. The solar industry estimates that the country now has almost 12 gigawatts of solar panels on buildings - enough to power the equivalent of 3.8 million homes.

'Touching the voids’ in the social housing sector
New research based on data from over 500,000 homes looks at the impact of energy efficiency on social landlords’ income and business plans. It finds that, as homes become more energy-efficient they are void for shorter lengths of time - on average, 31% shorter for band B properties compared to those in bands E and F.

Social landlords should ditch 'paperclip approach' to buying energy
With over 90% of social housing providers purchasing their energy through fixed-price contracts, it’s argued that a more flexible method would produce greater savings and reduce the providers’ risk.

ESOS - a lot of wasted energy?
Six months on from the original ESOS deadline, what has the scheme achieved? One energy specialist believes that as few as 5% of those companies that went through the process are fully acting upon recommendations.

Energy value in youth
A survey finds that significant added value will be generated for those energy providers that embrace the younger generations.

BPE reveals some home truths about the performance gap
The Innovate UK Building Performance Evaluation study throws light on why buildings don't perform as their designers expect, and why the energy performance gap is so widespread.

Convert Leeds gas grid to hydrogen?
A new report proposes converting Leeds’s gas grid to all-hydrogen, as a test of the viability of helping the UK meet its emissions targets and move to a low-carbon energy system.

WWHR potential
Industry is increasingly recognising the potential of waste water heat recovery as part of the UK’s efforts to reduce both carbon emissions and heating bills.

SWSHP code of practice
In association with the Heat Pump Association and the Ground Source Heat Pump Association, CIBSE launches a code of practice for surface water source heat pumps, to ensure professionals have access to the best and most up-to-date information. 

Post Brexit concern for UK’s ability to take part in EU best practice 'library' for energy efficiency
The EU-MERCI project is a Europe-wide effort to create an industrial best practice database of energy efficiency projects, procedures, methods and tools, with the aim of accelerating the adoption of energy efficiency standards. The project is scheduled for completion in February 2017 (ie when the UK will still be in the EU) but the UK’s ability to access this new resource could depend on whether it chooses to stay in the single market as part of the European Economic Area (EEA).

Solar PV guide launched
In an effort to make better use of an estimated 250,000 hectares of south-facing commercial roof space in the UK, BRE launches a good practice guide for owners and developers of solar PV on commercial buildings.

NZE toolkit for hotels
The Nearly Zero Energy Hotels (neZEH) initiative develops a practical e-toolkit for hotel owners. The tool helps them benchmark their energy consumption and suggests both energy efficiency improvements and the integration of renewable energy in order to turn their hotels into nearly zero energy.

Curve – pooling data on commercial energy projects
The Curve is a collaborative project that brings together information about 646 commercial energy projects from 90 organisations in an effort to improve business energy management and share best practice across sectors.

WGBC strengthens on net zero emissions
In an effort to reduce emissions from the building sector, the World Green Building Council is to launch net zero emissions building certification and training.

B&D Energy agreed
Barking & Dagenham Council decides to establish its own energy services company. The new company will develop heat networks across the borough and the council aims to cut the borough’s carbon footprint and to generate both savings and investment for the local community.

Largest Passive House in east London
A new 51-unit social housing development in Rainham is east London’s largest Passive House scheme, and will result in tenants energy bills being slashed to around £350 per year.

New AD plant for Tamar
Food waste treatment firm, Tamar Energy, opens a new anaerobic digestion plant in Hertfordshire capable of dealing with 66,000 tonnes of food waste per annum.

EfW plant in Cheshire
DONG Energy is to open a new energy-from-waste plant in Cheshire with enough capacity to treat waste from almost 110,000 UK homes and generate electricity for around 9,500 typical households.

Two more wind farms for Scotland
The Scottish government approves the construction of two wind farms that will produce enough electricity for 62,000 homes.

Dirty concoction converts to clean
The farmer who uses an anaerobic digestion concoction of cattle slurry, chicken litter and waste from a cereal factory to produce clean electricity.

New Dutch pilot for self-sustaining eco living
A new-build Dutch eco village has a long waiting list from people wanting to live in an off-grid, self-sustaining community that will harness new technology to produce its own food and energy.

Bond offer for community solar farm near Buckingham
A new 16,000-panel, 4.2MW not-for-profit community solar farm has been built near Buckingham. The project secured feed-in tariff payments before the cuts and electricity is already being supplied to the local grid. Over its lifetime, the project could generate over £1.5 million in community funding for local projects. A bond offer is launched to help raise the capital required with investments available from £250 and with no limit.
Jobs across the UK
Various energy-related jobs across the country are available on the following websites. Take a look at:
STBA masterclass. Ventilation, energy efficiency and old buildings:  the risks and challenges? London. Tue 6 Sep      
Increasing airtightness, either by virtue or as part of a strategy, can significantly change the way moisture behaves in a building and, without due consideration, might be detrimental to the health of both the occupant and the building fabric. In these situations a planned ventilation strategy is essential. But what strategies are available, and what is appropriate for the age and type of building? What are the challenges?

Zero Carbon Buildings Annual Conference. Birmingham. Thu 8 – Fri 9 Sep
Zero carbon building projects are becoming less of an exception and more of a norm. This international conference and exhibition provides a forum for exchange of knowledge, and for establishing collaboration networks and partnerships in this rapidly developing field.
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