Friday, 25 July 2014

NIA Response to GDHIF scheme closure

The announcement of the immediate closure for new applications to the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund  by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) is as much of a surprise to the National Insulation Association (NIA) and its members as it will be to householders across England and Wales. We are concerned that many householders who have paid for a Green Deal assessment in order to qualify, but not yet registered, may now lose out. 

The NIA is calling on the department to investigate how the remaining budget of around £60 million was allocated so quickly in just two days. We are also currently in discussion with DECC regarding voucher redemption rates and whether they will consider to re-launch the scheme should funds become available.

People interested in improving the energy efficiency of their homes can receive updates about any possible future schemes by emailing or call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Time for a Joined Up Approach and Plan for the Energy Efficiency Retrofit of the UK Housing Stock

The raft of progress reports, statements, consultation responses and scheme changes that have taken place in isolation from one another over the last couple of weeks is surely further evidence that a fresh approach for the Energy Efficiency Retrofit  of the UK housing stock is urgently needed!

Continuing with the current approach of separate and disparate approaches and short term schemes will not get the job done.  It will result in confusion, peaks and troughs of activity and is subject to party politics.

If we are to get the job done its time for a fresh approach, it’s time for Energy Efficiency Retrofit to be reclassified as a  UK Infrastructure Priority with £3 - 4 billion a year in capital investment to fund a significant programme of energy efficiency to transform the UKs ageing  housing stock.

On Tuesday 24th June a new coalition of 20 leading environmental groups , charities, membership organisations and trade associations came together to launch a major new campaign ‘A housing stock fit for the future – making home energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority.  The campaign has attracted allot of attention and support but for an ambitious plan of this nature  to come to fruition will require cross party support and a commitment to this new approach – but if we get it right the rewards are tremendous.

Over the coming months the coalition will be engaging with all political parties to seek their support for EE Retrofit becoming a national infrastructure priority with the aim of ensuring that it is included in all party manifestos for the forthcoming General Election – let’s hope they listen!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

NIA calls on Energy Companies to reinvest excessive Green Tax cuts in additional home insulation.

Following  today’s publication by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) of its response to ‘The Future of the Energy CompanyObligation’ Consultation the National Insulation Association (NIA) is calling for the excess cost savings identified by DECC to be invested in providing additional insulation measures for struggling households.

Neil Marshall CEO of the NIA commented: “DECC has acknowledged in its response that their proposed changes to ECO are expected to deliver greater cost savings to the energy companies in aggregate than originally expected and they have invited the energy companies to publicly set out how they propose to ensure that householders benefit from these additional cost savings.  The NIA is urging energy companies to invest these extra savings into additional insulation measures which can provide householders with significant and long term, sustainable savings on their energy bills.”

Marshall added: “In its recent annual progress report the Committee on Climate Change called on Government to increase the ambition of the Energy Company Obligation to 2017 to achieve its carbon targets but DECC is not proposing to do this.   Therefore, additional insulation activity as highlighted above would help in this regards.”

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Will Government Act on Advice from the Committee on Climate Change?

On Tuesday 15th July the Committee on Climate Change published its latest annual report on progress towards the carbon budgets and actions needed to meet these.  The report highlights that strong progress has been made in some areas such as fuel efficiency of new cars and investment in wind generation but that at the current rate of progress future carbon budgets will not be met – the current policies may only reduce emissions by 21-23% between 2013 and 2025 compared to the required 31% reduction.

Why is this? 

The CCC says that one of the main reasons for this is that progress with insulating residential homes has plummeted since the new policies – Green Deal and ECO were introduced in 2013.  According to the CCC whilst good progress had been made with home insulation up to 2012, as a result of the major fall off in installations since 2013 all of the main insulation measures are now well behind the cumulative indicators set by the CCC to achieve the carbon budgets, Cavity Wall Insulation (650k installations below the indicator), Solid Wall Insulation (330k installations below the indicator) and Loft Insulation (45% below the indicator).  

What needs to happen?

One of the key recommendations in the report and advice from the CCC to Government is that given the potential to go further with insulation and the benefits this would bring in terms of cost effective emissions reduction and energy affordability the Government should increase the ambition of the Energy Company Obligation to 2017.

Will Government act on this advice?

We will find out very soon when the decisions on the ECO Consultation are published.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Energy Efficiency Industry needs to collaborate more effectively in order to deliver integrated solutions to householders

Over the past couple of years there has been lots of talk about one stop shops and whole house solutions in relation to the energy efficiency retrofit of the UK housing stock.  However, the evidence would suggest that this is not currently being effectively delivered or taken up by consumers despite the Green Deal.

Whilst there are a number of reasons for this including cost and disruption, an area that has not been sufficiently considered or discussed is the delivery of a package of measures in a co-ordinated way through a range of different installers of different measures.  Whilst there are numerous installers, including NIA members that are able to deliver a package of measures such  as heating, insulation and solar panels in their own right there are also numerous installers that provide single measure solutions only such as boilers, glazing and insulation. which makes integration more difficult. An example of this arose recently when a Green Deal Heating Installer of boilers informed me that they would not arrange for insulation measures to be installed alongside a boiler under GDHIF as they don’t do insulation.

If we are to deliver multiple measures effectively it is essential that we address the issue of single measure installers and find a way to help them to facilitate the delivery of a package of measures through collaboration with other installers able to deliver different measures.

At the NIA we are already working to facilitate interaction by providing a facility through our installer post code locator for heating, glazing and solar companies for example to find local insulation installers in their area who they can work with in delivering a package to the householder.  However, the approach to co-ordination and interaction between installers of individual technologies/measures now needs to be developed into a more structured and national approach involving co-operation between a range of representative industry bodies.

Therefore, to help facilitate this, I am arranging a special workshop to which representatives from key trade bodies covering the spectrum of measures involved in EE retrofit will be invited to debate the issue and put forward proposals and recommendations.

Further details to follow.