Green discount on stamp duty and council tax?Parliamentary motions attempt to annul FiT changesWhich? energy customer surveyE.on cuts price of gas and more...
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Issue 429
Wednesday 20 Jan 2015
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VACANCY - Volunteer Project Officer (Energy Envoys)
The role involves supporting the promotion and roll-out of our Energy Envoys volunteering opportunity, which is offered to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants to complete the Bronze, Silver or Gold volunteering section of their Award. The Volunteer Project Officer will build relationships with schools and centres, raising awareness of the scheme using social media and blogs, and develop opportunities for professionals to mentor Energy Envoys during their volunteering.

VACANCY - Trustee (with specific knowledge of legal matters)
We're looking to strengthen our Board with a Trustee with specialist legal experience. This is an unremunerated role, although reasonable expenses will be reimbursed. The Trustee appointed is not expected to be involved in day-to-day matters, but will take a non-executive oversight of the legal and regulatory matters affecting the charity. Expressions of interest by no later than Sunday, 14 February 2016. We hope to meet the shortlisted candidates in time to recommend an appointment at our Board meeting on Tuesday 8 March 2016.

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.
Green discount on stamp duty and council tax?
In an answer to the Climate Change Committee, Lord Bourne reveals that Ministers are considering incentives such as reduced stamp duty and council tax for household energy efficiency measures.

Parliamentary motions attempt to annul FiT changes
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Featherstone both lay motions in both Houses of Parliament in an attempt to block the Government’s controversial feed-in tariff cuts.

Solar PV still worth it
The industry still sees solar PV as a good investment option despite the double Government policy whammy of reduced FiT incentives and a proposed increase in VAT.

Guide to implementing ESOS assessments
DECC issues a guide for businesses on how to implement the results of their ESOS assessments and maximise the benefits.
Call to cut prices
Pressure mounts on the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers to cut their customers’ bills following falling wholesale costs - with the energy regulator, Ofgem, accusing the energy companies of overcharging by failing to cut prices sufficiently.

E.on cuts price of gas
A 5.1% reduction in its standard gas price for residential customers is announced by E.on. 

Which? energy customer survey
The UK's biggest energy customer survey – undertaken by Which? - reveals what people really think of their energy companies on customer service, value for money, clarity and accuracy of bills.
Further energy savings possible
UK households are using less energy but could save even more with further energy efficiency measures, better technology and increased behaviour change.
Mobile provider launches home heat app
O2 launches a service to its 25 million customers that allows them to manage their home's energy system via a mobile app.
Switching pays off
Practical advice on switching energy supplier, which could save domestic customers up £291 a year if they’re on a standard tariff.
Licence to rip off customers?
Citizens Advice slates a CMA proposal to force households to choose an energy deal each year and brands it a licence to 'rip off' customers.
Renewable energy top of the list
In a recent survey of 2,000 Brits, 43% put renewable energy at the top of their wish-lists for the new National Infrastructure Commission priorities.
Scotland to cut its fuel poverty budget?
An accusation from Scottish Labour that the Scottish Government is planning to cut its fuel poverty budget by up to £15 million in the next year.
2015 record high for switching
Over 3.8 million customers switched energy supplier in 2015, beating the figures for both 2013 and 2014.
Retrofit praised
A couple of Wigan and Leigh Homes housing association residents speak about how pleased they are with their retrofit improvements and the many benefits they bring.

Council scraps solar plan
Sheffield City Council decides to scrap plans to fit solar panels to 6,000 council homes after the recent Government cuts to feed-in tariff rates.

Housing association invests to improve
Hanover Housing Association invests around £2 million in retrofit measures to improve residents’ well-being and help reduce both fuel poverty and energy bills.

LEAF (Low Energy Apartment Futures)
LEAF – an EU project aiming to improve the energy efficiency of apartment blocks by overcoming the current barriers through the development of technical and engagement toolkits.
Solar cells from discarded car batteries
Researchers develop a simple procedure for making a solar cell using lead recovered from discarded lead-acid car batteries.
Solar cones improve efficiency
Cone-shaped spinning solar cells have the potential to be much more efficient and generate much more electricity than flat PV panels.
Bring back filament light bulbs
Researchers reveal a possible come-back for old filament light bulbs – albeit a much more energy-efficient type that recycles the waste energy they produce.
Origami buildings potential to maximise energy
A US engineering student comes up with the idea of folding buildings, which have the potential to maximise the sun they receive and the energy they generate, thereby reducing their energy use.

New material stores and releases solar energy
US researchers develop a new material that can store solar energy and release it as heat whenever it's needed. The transparent polymer film could be applied to different surfaces such as clothing or window glass to de-ice car windscreens.
‘Moving towards net zero buildings’
At the recent COP21 Paris Climate Change talks 16 leading firms commit to nearly zero energy buildings for new builds by 2020 and refurbishments by 2030.
Huge deal to build zero-carbon homes
A £1.1 billion housing deal to build 8,000 low-cost zero-carbon homes is to go ahead.
Energy Secretary calls for cut in bills
Energy Secretary, Amber Rudd, calls on the ‘Big Six’ energy companies to "look after their consumers" and reduce their bills, after a drop in wholesale energy prices.
More focus on the ‘performance gap’ post VW
On the back of the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the case is made for a rigorous approach to identifying and solving the building energy ‘performance gap’.
New solar code of practice
The Institution of Engineering and Technology launches a new code of practice, which sets out the requirements for the design, specification, installation, commissioning, operation and maintenance of grid-connected solar PV systems installed in the UK.
Better solar knowledge for National Grid
The National Grid enlists the help of specialists at Sheffield University to better understand how much power the UK's solar panels are producing.
Another “solar revolution”
London Mayoral candidate, Zac Goldsmith, promises a “solar revolution” in the capital and to do everything in his power to support a clean energy revolution.
53,000 batteries go live
The UK's largest energy storage project (with 53,000 batteries) goes live in Northern Ireland.
Huge potential for energy storage
Energy storage provides huge potential across the national grid and in both the commercial and domestic sectors to help move the UK to a low-carbon, secure and sustainable energy system.
Concern over EPC ratings
Concern is raised by the Residential Landlords Association over the fact that EPC ratings for homes with solid walls and uninsulated cavity walls could be understated.
'Securing Energy Efficiency to Secure the Energy Union'
This EU report quantifies the impact of reducing energy demand (under a number of different scenarios) on energy security in terms of European import dependency, as well as the possible reduction of GHG emissions.
New thermal bridging guide
The Zero Carbon Hub’s new thermal bridging guide will lead to improvements in energy efficiency standards and will also help to close the ‘performance gap’.
UK-GBC to lead on non-dom industry study
A UK-GBC research project is to examine how the industry designs, constructs and operates non-domestic buildings, with a view to reducing the ‘performance gap’.
LAs should get ‘passiv aggressive’
The case is made for local authorities to take on board Passivhaus building principles and standards when constructing new housing.
First Passivhaus school in Wales
At the end of its first term, a report on the first Passivhaus school to be built in Wales, costing £3.8 million.
2016 – year for solar?
Could 2016 be the year solar storage takes off? Fvie solar storage trends to watch out for in Europe, at grid level and in both the residential and commercial sectors.
Go-ahead for two more solar farms
The green light is given for the construction of two solar farms in Lancashire and Leicestershire, which will produce enough electricity for 2,750 homes.
Solar farm clayly good
A 50-acre, 32,500-panel, 8MW solar farm owned by Good Energy and situated amongst Cornwall’s historic china clay pits generates clean electricity for over 2,000 homes.
Largest solar in Scotland begins
The construction of Scotland's largest solar farm begins. The project, which will have a 14MW capacity, cover 70 acres and include 55,000 panels, will generate enough electricity for over 3,500 homes.
Multi-million pound DH for Glasgow
A £10.6 million district hearing scheme in Glasgow is to reduce the energy bills of 700 housing association tenants and help tackle fuel poverty.
EfW plant goes live
A CHP energy-from-waste facility in Plymouth begins using 245,000 tonnes of household, commercial and industrial waste per year to generate electricity and steam, for heating.
Shopping around for big savings
A real estate company reports a 23% energy reduction over three years across its portfolio of eight shopping centres, which equates to a saving of 21,152MWh and £985,000.
Heat from the Tube
Building work is to start on a ground-breaking £6.2 million scheme to use waste heat from London’s Tube to heat homes in the north of the city.
National newspaper removes office energy monitors
After spying fears from staff, the Daily Telegraph newspaper removes under-desk monitors installed for energy efficiency and energy management purposes.
Jobs across the UK
Various energy-related jobs across the country are available on the following websites. Take a look at:
Building Better Buildings. Bristol. Wed, 3 Feb
A free Zero Carbon Hub event organised in collaboration with Innovate UK and a number of leading industry partners. The event aims to demystify the ‘performance gap’ and highlight the latest learning from a number of domestic and non-domestic Building Performance Evaluation (BPE) projects. It also includes speakers discussing cutting-edge research findings on building performance.
Low Energy Know How. Liverpool. Wed 3 Feb
This free event provides delegates with the latest policy updates and practical support to deliver energy-efficient new homes. It also looks at commercially viable, practical examples to help deliver to current and future regulations. Attendees will also receive the Zero Carbon Hub’s good practice “Builders’ Book”, an easy-to-read guide to improving site processes, reducing risk and constructing high-quality, healthy homes."
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.

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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