NEF wins public sector energy champions award 2016, Meeting HECA requirements with tailored and cost-effective support, The Decarbonisation of Heat and more...
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Issue 450
7 December 2016
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Season’s greetings from the National Energy Foundation
The Trustees and staff at the Foundation wish everyone a warm and merry Christmas, and a happy and fulfilling New Year. NEF is open over the festive period, except for public holidays, and we look forward to working with you in 2017.
NEF wins public sector energy champions award 2016
The National Energy Foundation has won the Local Authority/Community category in this year’s Public Sector Energy & Sustainability Awards. The aim of the awards is to showcase and reward the achievements that public sector organisations make to become more energy-efficient. Our winning entry was the £2.5 million Green Deal Communities project that we managed on behalf of 14 local authorities across Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire. By the end of the project in September 2016, it had delivered energy efficiency improvements in 577 homes, including solid wall insulation in 423.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the project. Sandra Hayes, who led the team, was presented with a certificate at a ceremony at EMEX (Energy Management Exhibition) on 17 November.
Our Chief Executive receives prestigious sustainable engineering award
The work of our Chief Executive, Kerry Mashford, has been recognised with a sustainable engineering award from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The new award was established by the institution’s Energy Environment and Sustainability Group to reward and recognise a Mechanical Engineer who has taken significant steps to bridge the gap between an unsustainable present and a more sustainable future.
Meeting HECA requirements with tailored and cost-effective support
As we approach the final quarter of the year, many local authorities will have a number of 2016-17 projects that need to be completed – not least the requirement under the Home Energy Conservation Energy Act (HECA) to submit a report to BEIS by end of March, 2017. The National Energy Foundation has over 25 years’ experience of working with local authorities in the fields of energy and fuel poverty. In the face of increasing pressures on local authority finances and time, and the burden this places on meeting HECA commitments, we can provide a range of tailored and cost-effective services to help:
  • Review and update existing policies.
  • Produce a recommendations and strategy report that is also fully compliant with HECA requirements.
  • Provide visualised GIS mapping data for more effective targeting and investment decisions.
For an informal initial discussion to see how we can help, please contact Dale Hoyland on or 01908 256926.
NEF delivers another important assessment report for a leading UK industry association
Against the backdrop of global warming and rising energy prices, there is a pressing need to design buildings that do not overheat, exploiting passive design strategies. In this context, the British Blind & Shutter Association commissioned the National Energy Foundation to assess the impact of solar shading in the UK built environment. Our Solar Shading Impact report presented an evidence-based investigation into the current and potential impact of solar shading, leveraging on the full benefits intrinsic to the optimal use of shading.
Helping local authorities get ready for ECO ‘Flexible Eligibility’
In its Help to Heat consultation earlier this year, the Government proposed a stronger role for local authorities in identifying and nominating households that could benefit from energy efficiency measures funded through ECO. ‘Flexible Eligibility’ (also known as ‘LA-flex’) would allow local authorities to provide “…a declaration to energy suppliers that they had determined a household, or a number of households, as eligible.”
Although the consultation closed in August, BEIS has not yet published its response. However, this new local authority power could be introduced as early as April 2017. To exercise it effectively, local authorities will need a robust way of identifying those residents most in need. Our experience developing local authority housing stock databases could help you to understand both the physical characteristics of your region’s housing as well as the socio-economic circumstances of your residents. The database we recently developed for Suffolk was used by the council to design and target domestic energy efficiency programmes and campaigns - and could also be used to identify households that might benefit from ECO-funded measures.
EMEX (Energy Management Exhibition). EXCEL, London. 16 Nov
As part of the afternoon session on the 16th, our Senior Energy Specialist, Dr Thomas Whiffen, presented  on the ASSEMBLE project with a talk entitled: “Case study findings from a novel BEMS installation for small and temporary commercial buildings”. Thom’s session:
  • Reported on the major findings from two unique BEMS case studies.
  • Outlined the use of TerOpta’s innovative BEMS, specifically adapted for small-scale modular implementation.
  • Provided details of the power line carrier technology that was used to control connected devices and enable communication throughout the buildings.
  • Looked at the lighting and HVAC energy savings that were identified, as well as future energy saving potential.
Building Services Summit - facing up to the REAL building performance challenge
Our Kerry Mashford was the keynote speaker at this recent event at the British Library Conference Centre, which looked at the difficult challenge of meeting legislation on energy-efficient buildings. Around 80% of a building's lifetime costs are in the operational period, but the focus is often on cutting costs in the early stages (eg design) which can then make buildings less comfortable for occupants and more difficult to run later on. Kerry’s presentation looked at the drivers and opportunities for energy efficiency; the impact of 'green' on asset values; reputational benefits; findings from the Building Performance Evaluation programme; ESOS; the Assured Performance Process; and Energiesprong.
Better Housing, Better Health presented at Public Health: Prevention in Practice event
Alexandra Steeland, our Senior Project Officer, presented on our Better Housing, Better Health project at an Open Forum Events conference in Manchester. Better Housing, Better Health works across a number of local authorities in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire to provide home energy checks and grants of up to £2,500 for energy efficiency improvements where someone’s health is being impacted by living in a cold or damp home. In particular, Alex spoke about some of the project's challenges, its evaluation and early results. Also, ahead of the event, Alex took a more general look at the practical work the Foundation does and the projects it operates that have a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.
10 quick wins to save energy
As winter draws in, our Project Officer, Richard Vale, begins a series of blogs on energy at home. In the first, he provides 10 quick and easy hints and tips that don’t require any financial investment and take minimal time, all of which save households money on their energy bills.
NEF signs coalition letter concerned about 6-8 fold tax hike for solar rooftops
The Foundation has put its name to a letter co-ordinated by the Solar Trade Association that highlights the damaging effect a tax hike on solar panels will have on schools and businesses, as well as any future investment in solar in the UK. The letter is supported by over 160 NGOs, schools, academics, energy providers, public institutions and big brands (such as Sainsbury’s and IKEA) and is asking the Chancellor to stop the proposed rise in business rates for solar panels.
Energiesprong UK vacancies
Energiesprong UK is currently recruiting for four new and exciting roles to help develop and drive forward net-zero energy retrofits in the UK. To apply for any of these positions, please submit your application with a cover letter and CV to
The Retrofit Academy diploma courses in Domestic Retrofit Coordination and Risk Management
The Retrofit Academy provides Retrofit Coordinator Diploma courses in London (Federation of Master Builders), Manchester (Procure Plus) and Bristol (Filwood Green Business Park). There are three programmes starting in January and February, with advanced courses scheduled for the remainder of 2017. The courses cover:
  • 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.
Grey rather than green Autumn Statement
Despite the UK-GBC calling for increased focus on whole-home energy-efficient retrofit ahead of the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered a package that included very little for the energy efficiency and energy in buildings sectors:
  • The carbon price support will remain in place and at the current level of £18 t/C02 until 2020.
  • The future of the Levy Control Framework (LCF) will be set out next year.
  • A green paper on will be released in Spring next year on how retail energy markets are working for consumers.

EU hits its formal target on energy consumption six years early
The European Commission has reported a big fall in overall energy consumption across the EU’s 28 states between 2000 and 2014. However, the overall picture is patchy. Although residential use is down by nearly 10%, commercial use is up by 16%.
EU backtracks on energy efficiency regulations on some electrical appliances
An EU proposal for some household and other electrical appliances to be more energy-efficient has been dropped because it was considered that the benefits were not worth the negative publicity. However, the manufacturers of electric kettles, refrigerators and hand driers don’t escape the new regulations and will have to make their future products consume less energy.
Clean Energy for all Europeans
The EU has launched a new report 'Clean Energy for all Europeans’ in which it makes a commitment to cut CO2 emissions by at least 40% by 2030 while modernising the EU's economy and delivering on jobs and growth. The proposals focus on three main goals: putting energy efficiency first, achieving global leadership in renewable energies and providing a fair deal for consumers. provides a useful summary of the package of proposals.
Article 7 EED implementation
A study by Ricardo Energy & Environment evaluates the progress in the implementation of Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive across EU member states. The report also provides a quantified assessment of the expected energy savings from national policy measures, and the expected contribution these measures make towards the EU’s 2020 energy efficiency target.
UK signs up to Paris
The UK became the 111th country to ratify the Paris climate change accord, which was agreed last December and came into force on 4 November. As a result, the Government commits itself to a policy of stemming carbon dioxide emissions with a view to keeping global warming below 2°C over pre-industrial levels, while aiming for a tougher target of 1.5°C.
2016 UK productivity audit
The latest national Energy Productivity Audit shows that the industrial, services and domestic sectors saved enough energy to heat 13 million homes and improved productivity to the tune of £1.7 billion between 2010 and 2015. However, an analysis of Government data shows the UK is not on track to meet its 2030 Carbon Budgets, leaving a significant policy gap. 
Government response to report on household energy efficiency schemes
The Government has responded to the Public Accounts Committee report on household energy efficiency schemes, which was published in July. In essence, the Government agrees with all the committee’s five recommendations:
  1. Policy decisions should be thoroughly tested and based on accurate evidence that includes a robust evaluation of stakeholders’ views. The Department should be prepared to pull back on plans if it is clear they are unlikely to be successful and risk taxpayers’ money.
  2. Forecasts laid before Parliament in impact assessments should be based on the most accurate and best available evidence, and are clear about the degree of certainty that applies to the numbers used and the likely outcome.
  3. The Department should ensure it has the means by which to measure progress towards each of its objectives.
  4. Appropriate arrangements should be in place to monitor and provide assurance that public funds provided to other bodies are spent with due regard to regularity and value for money.
  5. Any sale of the Green Deal Finance Company must secure the best deal possible for the taxpayer.

The Decarbonisation of Heat
An Ofgem analysis of what is arguably the biggest challenge of UK energy policy over the next few decades. The paper considers the nature of heat demand and supply today, together with some of the decarbonisation options that are currently being discussed by policy makers. It also looks at how decisions might be made and any potential implications for consumers and regulation.
The Future of Gas
The National Grid publishes a report on gas, the major source of energy for heating and powering our homes and businesses, and the fact that demand will need to reduce significantly if the UK is to put in place to meet its climate change targets.
The future source of UK heat
Two industry 'heavyweights' discuss the future source of UK heat. Can we (or how far can we) decarbonise our gas network? Can we move to an all-electric future? What policies do we need to meet our 2050 carbon emissions obligations?
Moving to hydrogen-fired domestic and commercial appliances
With the decarbonisation of heat posing a significant challenge for the UK over the coming decades, one proposal is to replace natural gas with hydrogen. The Government has published a study on the feasibility of developing a supply chain for appliances that could use hydrogen. The aim of the study was to investigate the technical challenges and costs associated with developing such appliances and to discuss how any barriers might be addressed.
Latest BEES from BEIS
BEIS publishes its latest Building Energy Efficiency Survey (BEES) of non-domestic premises, which are split into 10 categories. Those that use the most energy are: offices; retail; industrial; health; and hospitality.
Treasury accused of failing to take long-term environmental factors into account
MPs criticise HM Treasury for not factoring in the long-term sustainability risks of its decisions, and their effects on policy. Examples include the way HM Treasury influenced the withdrawal of the policies on carbon capture and storage and zero-carbon homes.
Additional funding and co-ordinated approach to energy needed
A UK Energy Research Centre Report calls for extra Government funding for energy efficiency to fill a UK policy vacuum. The report urges a co-ordinated, cross-government approach to energy otherwise the chances of the UK meeting its legally-binding targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the late 2020s are slim.
Secretary of State speaks at Energy UK Conference
In a speech to the annual Energy UK Conference, Greg Clark, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy launched the Innovation Board. He summarised what the UK has achieved so far on energy but said that more needs to be done to improve the use of energy in buildings and decarbonise heat in the UK.
Government’s smart meter roll-out hits problems
The energy company, SSE, has urged the Government to reconsider the 2020 smart meter roll-out deadline – not least for logistical reasons. The Government produced a cost benefit analysis in August but the overall cost of the programme is likely to rise and the benefits are already down on 2014 estimates. The National Audit Office estimates the savings on energy bills will be minimal. In addition, in October, the IT system behind the Data and Communications Company failed to go live for the third time.
Government evidence-gathering reports
BEIS has recently published reports investigating a number of industry technologies, which include a review of the available products, the current and potential market, current standards, performance, barriers to deployment, costs and an analysis of identified gaps in the available evidence. Also, a fourth report (Potential of smart technologies in SMEs) provides quantitative estimates of the energy expenditure and energy savings potential among SMEs from seven types of smart technologies.
Coalition calls for keeping solar thermal in RHI to avoid sector atrophy
21 organisations have signed a letter urging Baroness Neville-Rolfe, the Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, to retain solar thermal within the Renewable Heat Incentive, and to ensure that the increasingly diverse applications of solar thermal are fully recognised within the scheme.
Government criticised over lack of action post CMA report
As the winter closes in, the Government is criticised over household energy bills and its lack of progress since the Competition and Markets Authority published the results of its two-year investigation into the energy sector in June.
Businesses respond well to first Capacity Market warning
Businesses stepped up to the mark and responded positively by cutting their electricity demand when the National Grid issued the UK’s first Capacity Market warning because of uncertainty whether electricity production would be sufficient to meet demand.
‘Retro Boiler’ labels introduced
A new scheme sees registered gas engineers issue energy efficiency (‘Retro Boiler’) labels on all non-condensing boilers with a permanent pilot light, when visiting homes to undertake servicing or maintenance work. The aim is to increase consumer awareness of boiler efficiency and encourage householders to replace inefficient and costly boilers with more efficient models.
2015/16 Excess Winter Deaths
Although the latest Office for National Statistics figures show that 2015/16 excess winter deaths are back in line with average trends at 24,300, and are down from 2014/15 when they were "uncommonly high", protesters staged a ‘duvet die-in’ protest outside the headquarters of energy supplier, EDF.
PhD researcher vacancy - is the private rental market warming up?
In the UK housing market, private rented residential dwellings are the least energy-efficient. The Government has started to introduce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) but it’s unclear how private landlords are going to respond to satisfy these requirements, and deal with the tensions of the landlord-tenant dichotomy. This PhD research will seek to understand and model the behaviour of landlords in managing the energy-efficient refurbishment of their dwellings and explore potential market mechanisms to support and help landlords improve their housing stock.
Scottish Government releases an extra £10 million for energy efficiency improvements for those most in need
Scottish housing associations and councils are to receive £9 million to help meet energy efficiency standards, thereby making it easier for tenants to heat their homes and keep warm. In addition, £1 million will be available to provide grants to those households using the Government’s interest-free loan scheme, to help them meet the cost of installing energy efficiency measures.
Scotland’s not even close to getting on top of fuel poverty
In 2002, Scotland announced a plan to eliminate fuel poverty by the end of October 2016 - but it hasn’t – not by a long way. The story behind what has happened helps to show why a new policy approach is needed.
Call for more resources to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland
A Scottish coalition of The Existing Homes Alliance (which includes WWF Scotland), Changeworks and the National Insulation Association calls for increased funding for energy efficiency and the lifting of all homes to the Energy Performance Certificate Band C standard by 2025.
Parliamentary inquiry to consider priorities for Brexit negotiations
The Parliamentary Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has launched an inquiry into the implications of the UK's departure from the EU on the energy sector. The inquiry includes which energy and climate change policy areas the UK should prioritise for continued cooperation during the exit negotiation process. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 16 December.
A smarter energy system
The application of information and communication technology is transforming our old passive energy networks into an increasingly smart energy system. In response to how new technology is changing the way we generate, distribute and consume energy, BEIS and Ofgem are consulting on the development of a smarter, more flexible and user-friendly energy system. Closing date: Thursday, 12 January 2017.
Horizon 2020
The European Commission has opened consultation on Horizon 2020. Open to everyone, contributions are particularly sought from researchers, entrepreneurs, innovators and all types of organisations that have participated in Horizon 2020. Closing date: Sunday, 15 January 2017.
The future of heat in non-domestic buildings
There is significant potential for savings from heat, cooling and energy efficiency within the different non-domestic sectors (public, business and commercial) but accessing it has a number of challenges because of the diverse nature of energy usage in those buildings. BEIS is consulting to help develop and support future policy and is seeking views from those in the building industry on how it can:
  • Keep energy bills as low as possible.
  • Continue to ensure the UK has a secure and resilient energy system.
  • Remain at the leading edge of science, research and innovation.
  • Reduce carbon emissions cost-effectively.
Closing date: Friday, 27 January 2017.
Standard Assessment Procedure
The Government has opened consultation on proposals to amend twenty areas of the methodology of the Standard Assessment Procedure, which is used to assess the energy performance of homes and produce Energy Performance Certificates. Closing date: Friday, 27 January 2017.
edie Sustainability Leaders Awards. London. Wed 25 Jan 2017
In his capacity as one of the judges, our Technical Director, Malcolm Hanna, is to attend the awards ceremony at the London Hilton on Park Lane. The aim of these prestigious awards is to celebrate real sustainability excellence. View the shortlisted entries.
ecobuild 2017. London. Tue 7 March
ecobuild is the UK’s largest event for specifiers across the built environment. It attracts over 33,000 high calibre, senior-level decision makers and influencers from architects and developers to local government and major infrastructure clients. Our Chief Executive, Dr Kerry Mashford, will be chairing the session: “Improving energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings”. She will also be one of the presenters at the session, talking on: “Drivers for energy efficiency – MEES, carbon taxation and sustainability reporting”.
edie Live. London. Tue 23 May 2017
Our Dr Thomas Whiffen will be a speaker on day one of this two-day conference in May, and will present as part of a session entitled: Making good energy decisions: challenges and opportunities in driving down usage. Thomas will present on: ASSEMBLE: Small and temporary offices - saving energy by using power-line-carrier building control.
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