Meeting HECA requirements with tailored and cost-effective support, Energiesprong UK vacanciesHow can we decarbonise heat? and more...
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eNews
Issue 451
3 January 2017
eNews is our monthly publication, focused on the important issues in the energy sector, how NEF relates and responds to those issues, and the contribution it makes to improving the use of energy in buildings.

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Assured Performance Process – reducing the performance risk and protecting the reputation of developers and local authorities
All too often, the actual energy performance of new homes fails to meet their design standards. Despite the efforts planners, designers and developers put into achieving efficient energy use, occupied homes typically use at least twice as much energy as predicted. Our Adam Tilford looks at how the Assured Performance Process can help developers and local authorities ensure that new housing schemes achieve their design standards and provide customers with the performance they expect. APP maps to the RIBA Plan of Work and provides specialist expertise in five stages of impartial review and assessment. It means that the energy and low-carbon aspirations expressed in the brief and planning stages translate into executable designs that deliver as they were intended.
Our top tips for setting up and running a carbon offset scheme
As of October, the GLA introduced the ‘Be Lean, Be Clean and Be Green’ requirements under the London Plan. All new major residential developments have to be zero-carbon homes, contribute to improved energy efficiency and subscribe to carbon offsetting. Our Jane Richardson Hawkes takes a look at how carbon offsetting makes a significant contribution to both reducing carbon emissions and meeting nationally-determined targets. It also offers opportunities for local authorities to engage with their residents on issues such as climate change and provides a mechanism for financing a range of practical energy efficiency improvements and renewables that help improve the local area and residents’ wellbeing. Finally, Jane offers our top tips for setting up and running a carbon offset scheme.
Meeting HECA requirements with tailored and cost-effective support
As we enter the final quarter of the local government financial 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 us on 01908 665555.
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, councils 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.
The National Energy Foundation welcomes the Bonfield Review but not without reservations
The long-awaited Bonfield Review (Each Home Counts) - an independent review of consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement for home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the UK - was published just before Christmas. The review makes 27 recommendations and proposes a new quality and standards framework, including: a quality mark; a consumer charter; a code of conduct; technical codes of practice and standards; an information hub; a data warehouse; improved engagement with consumers and awareness-raising; better training; and stronger monitoring, compliance and enforcement.
The Foundation welcomes the thrust of the review, but not without reservations about the practicalities of its recommendations.
We note that:
  • There is no mention of how consumer demand for energy efficiency measures is going to be driven to the level needed to ensure that the UK meets its 2050 carbon emissions targets.
  • The industry has a lot of work ahead of it to establish the new frameworks and their support mechanisms.
  • There is a danger that the new frameworks become too complex, too bureaucratic and don’t result in raising standards as much as is hoped.
  • The new mechanisms (such as the quality mark, for example) will only work if they have weight and authority.
  • Success will only be achieved if the Government provides a stable, long-term policy environment that encourages investment and market development.
8 small energy-saving measures that can make a big difference
Our Project Officer, Richard Vale, continues his series of blogs on saving energy at home. In this second piece, he suggests eight inexpensive measures that households can put in place to save money on their energy bills. See also Richard’s first blog on 10 quick wins to save energy.
New Year’s resolutions for saving energy at home
Stuck for a New Year’s resolution? In his third piece on saving energy at home, Richard looks at suggestions that homeowners could take on board as their New Year’s resolutions.
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.
The Retrofit Academy responds to the Bonfield Review (Each Home Counts)
The Retrofit Academy CIC was set up to address the skills and knowledge gaps that were clearly and obviously impacting upon the quality of retrofit projects being delivered under the ECO and Green Deal. These gaps were largely the result of the failure of the educational establishment to incorporate retrofit into its curriculum. It is therefore very welcome that the Skills and Knowledge section of the Each Home Counts report recommends that “knowledge and understanding of basic building physics, the holistic or whole property approach to assessing homes and effective interactions with customers are embedded in all relevant education, at all stages of retrofit”.
 
To achieve this objective, the educational mainstream will need help. True expertise in retrofit is scarce, and The Retrofit Academy’s policy only to engage with leading practitioners is long-established. It is the Academy’s hope that the bank of knowledge that has been created through its expert-led Retrofit Coordinator courses can now be used to ensure the immediate improvement of training at all levels. This is not a time for reinventing wheels, but for making the most of what we already have.
 
The Retrofit Academy CIC and its partners look forward to working closely with any certification bodies, education or training providers or professional institutes who wish to make the required changes to their curricula. This will build upon the initiatives that the Academy already has underway. Through these activities, and with the support of its the Academy is well-placed to support the market that it hopes will now emerge for domestic retrofitting.
 
Anyone wishing to discuss collaboration with The Retrofit Academy is welcome to contact via info@retrofitacademy.org
The Retrofit Academy diploma courses in Domestic Retrofit Coordination and Risk Management
The Retrofit Academy provides Retrofit Coordinator Diploma courses in London and Bristol, covering:
  • 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.
How well is the UK doing on the Paris Agreement energy efficiency goals?
The Paris Agreement, which has been agreed by almost 200 countries around the world, includes goals and deadlines for reducing energy consumption. This infographic takes a look at how well certain countries (including the UK) are progressing towards these goals, and whether they’re reaching them within the agreed timescales.
EU targets demand-side management for big savings
In a recent plan to overhaul the EU electricity market, the European Commission targets energy efficiency in SMEs and industry by making the market more responsive to demand-side management through digital technologies.
The Renewable Heat Incentive: a reformed scheme
The Government has announced its response to the consultation on RHI that took place last year, and has produced a number of proposals to take effect as of this spring:
  • The scheme will continue to support all four technologies currently supported.
  • The tariffs for new ASHPs and GSHPs will be increased.
  • All new ASHPs and GSHPs applying for support under the scheme will be required to have electricity metering to monitor their heating system.
  • GSHPs making use of a shared ground loop will continue to be eligible for the non-domestic scheme and will not be eligible on the domestic scheme.
  • The tariff for new biomass installations will be increased by 53% in the spring, effectively restoring a cut in January 2015.
  • Heat demand limits will be introduced, to limit the level of annual heat demand in respect of which any household can receive support.
  • There will be some changes to the budget management arrangements for the scheme.

Battery storage and gas main winners in latest National Grid auction
The awarding of subsidies to secure the UK’s future energy supply and mitigate against shortages will result in the building of a number of new battery power-storage plants and two small gas-powered stations. In contrast to previous years, generators powered by ‘dirty diesel’ won a smaller share of the contracts.
New garden villages and towns
DCLG has announced plans for 14 new garden villages across England, potentially providing 48,000 new homes. In addition, and in support of three new garden towns, the Government is to provide £1.4 million of funding to support their delivery. In total, these 17 new garden communities could provide almost 200,000 new homes.
Energy consumption up in 2015
A BEIS report reveals that, despite the UK Government’s recent successes in reducing energy consumption, it actually rose by 1.7% in 2015. The energyst provides a useful summary of the main findings.
How can we decarbonise heat?
With heat hotting up as potentially the biggest topic of 2017, Lucy Neville-Rolfe outlines the UK Government’s policy on heat decarbonisation at the Policy Exchange's recent Heat Summit.
Costs and benefits of EEOSs
A review of the main characteristics of some of the leading energy efficiency obligation schemes in five European countries and two states in the US. The report explores the full range of costs and benefits that need to be considered in future impact assessments. It also presents initial findings on the costs, bill impacts and the multiple benefits of EEOSs under Article 7 of the Energy Efficiency Directive.
Underground coal gasification out of favour
The UK Government has decided against supporting underground coal gasification, which is widely regarded as a highly polluting method of releasing gas from coal seams.
Upgrading power: delivering a flexible electricity system
A report led by EEF (the manufacturers’ organisation) looks at the changes required to how the UK uses and consumes electricity, and the role manufacturers can play in providing a more flexible and secure electricity system.

The report calls for the introduction of an annual Energy Statement to provide a longer term view of energy policy in the UK, and a greater sense of stability and transparency. It also provides survey evidence that shows that only 13% of UK manufacturers think the Government’s flagship ESOS policy is helping to improve the business case for energy efficiency investment.
Latest national household energy efficiency statistics
BEIS publishes its latest statistics on household energy efficiency measures installed under the ECO  and Green Deal schemes.
Supplier league table to show extent of standard variable tariffs
In an effort to increase transparency and promote switching, the BEIS Secretary of State, Greg Clark, has announced that Ofgem is to publish an energy supplier league table on the numbers of people who are on expensive standard variable tariffs, and how much these tariffs cost compared to the cheapest deals.
Trial benefits park home households
After a trial involving changes to the Warm Home Discount scheme, 5,000 park home residents are to receive £700,000 in energy rebates. Previously, most people living in park homes didn’t qualify for rebates because energy supply contracts were often between the supply companies and the site owners, not the individual residents. This change of policy means that the scheme is now accessible to a broader range of people and will be more effective at tackling fuel poverty.
Drax moves closer to total biomass
The go-ahead has been given to convert another coal-fired unit at the Drax power station to biomass, as part of the UK’s move from a coal-dominated energy system.
Operating smart meters now number 4.9m
The latest statistics from BEIS show that (to the end of September 2016) over 4.89 million smart meters were operating in homes and businesses in Great Britain. The target is to have over 50 million up and running by the end of 2020.
Switching up
The latest statistics from BEIS show that the number of electricity switches were up 24% between Quarter 3 2015 and the same period in 2016. Gas switches were also up by 14% over the same period.
Concern over CMA marketing database proposal
In what it describes as an “intrusion on individuals’ privacy”, the Information Commissioner’s Office has expressed major concerns about the CMA proposal to allow energy companies to access the details of households who have not switched supplier. As part of its response the ICO provides some alternative suggestions.
£114m for home energy efficiency in Scotland's draft 2017-18 budget
The £114 million allocated for home energy efficiency in Scotland’s recently-published draft budget compares with £103 million for 2016-17. Although this represents a 10.5% increase, additional money was allocated during 2016-17 so some see the increased 2017-18 figure as a cut.
‘Cash for ash RHI’ scandal in Northern Ireland
The Stormont Parliament in Northern Ireland became embroiled in what has been described as a 'botched' and 'potentially environmentally damaging' Renewable Heat Incentive scheme. Dubbed 'cash for ash', the scheme had no cap or tiered payment system so it financially incentivised people to burn more wood, resulting in a large government overspend and what will be a £400 million bill for the region’s taxpayers.
Heat in Buildings – the Future of Heat
BEIS has launched consultation on raising standards for domestic boilers. The consultation explores a number of options and the possible use of various devices such as central timers, room thermostats, programmable thermostats, TRVs and time proportional integral controls. BEIS’s favoured option is to require all new and replacement boilers to include weather compensators, which adjust the flow temperature of a heating system based on the external temperature, either by measuring outside temperature directly or using local weather reports. Closing date: Friday, 27 January.
Each Home Counts
The Government publishes the long-awaited Bonfield Review, an independent review of consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement for energy efficiency and renewable energy. The report will remain open for consultation until Tuesday, 31 January.
Midata
The Government has opened consultation on implementing Midata, which is a method of electronically transferring customers’ data (with their consent) from a company system to a third party or price comparison website. Energy consumers can then use an app or website to compare energy tariffs using the actual usage/account details held by their current supplier. Midata would make comparing tariffs quicker and easier, would enable more accurate comparisons and would lead to easier switching. Closing date: Friday, 10 February.
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 Technical Director, Malcolm Hanna, will be chairing the session: “Improving energy efficiency in non-domestic buildings”. He will also be one of the presenters at the session, talking on: “Drivers for energy efficiency – MEES, carbon taxation and sustainability reporting”.
CIBSE ASHRAE Technical Symposium. Loughborough. Thu 6 – Fri 7 April
Our Dr Thomas Whiffen will be presenting at this two-day conference on: Energy savings in temporary buildings using power line carrier in an adaptable building energy management system.
edie Live. London. Tue 23 May 2017
Dr Thomas Whiffen will also be a speaker on day one of the edie Live 2017 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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