Friday, 24 July 2015

NIA Responds to the announcements made by Secretary of State Amber Rudd on 23rd July

Yesterday, Secretary of State Amber Rudd announced that there would be no further public funding to the Green Deal Finance Company, the Government would stop any future funding releases of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) and wanted to work with the industry and consumer groups on a new value-for-money approach.

Whilst it was widely recognised that the Green Deal and GDHIF could be improved upon, to put an end to both of them so abruptly without any warning or anything to replace them is a major issue and concern for both householders and the supply chain and will only add to the current hiatus in the energy efficiency market.

Recent figures published by DECC and Ofgem on the Energy Company Obligation showed that the energy companies have already made significant progress towards their targets for ECO2 (April 2015 - end March 2017) and that based on the installation rates in 2014/15 the target could be achieved one year early in Q1 2016. This is reflected in the major slowdown in ECO activity where just 29,000 measures were installed in April 2015, a 2 year low and compares to 51,000 measures in March 2015 and 58,000 in April 2014.

The Green Deal and GDHIF provided an important means of supplementing ECO activity so their removal is a major blow for both householders and industry - working to build on these frameworks rather than pulling the rug from under them would have been the best approach.

DECC are aiming to develop and establish a more stable, long-term, coherent framework for home energy efficiency, we welcome Amber Rudd’s announcement that she wants to work with industry in doing this and we look forward to contributing towards it.  However, the decision to pull Green Deal and GDHIF without first developing alternatives will seriously undermine consumer confidence and also the confidence of industry and its ability and willingness to support whatever replacement framework is developed.    

Therefore we would urge the Secretary of State to set out a clear timeline for the delivery of the proposed new framework as soon as possible to provide much needed clarity for consumers and the industry, whilst putting in place an urgent transitional mechanism to fill the void left by Green Deal and GDHIF and help address the current hiatus whilst the new framework is developed. 

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

NIA Welcomes the Secretary of State, Amber Rudd’s Positive Support for Energy Efficiency and Outlines Some Priority Areas

During yesterday’s session with the Energy and Climate Change Committee on DECCs priorities for 2015 and beyond, the Secretary of State Amber Rudd clearly signalled the key role that energy efficiency has to play in reducing carbon and fuel bills and her intentions to work with industry in developing a long term framework for homes and fuel poverty:  

"Energy efficiency is the most effective way to reduce carbon and reduce bills - it is the win-win"

"I'm particularly ambitious in this area and I want to put together a long-term framework for homes and fuel poverty. I'm looking at the various initiatives that have been in place under the last Government to find out which ones are working best and which ones have not worked well, so that we can work with industry to design a system that will deliver most cost effectively.”

Commenting on yesterday's statements from the Secretary of State, our CEO Neil Marshall said “We welcome the recognition of the importance of energy efficiency along with the level of ambition and intent and look forward to working with Ministers and officials in turning this into the delivery of hard measures on the ground.  With around 6m cavity walls, 7m solid walls and 7m lofts in existing homes still lacking adequate insulation, it is crucial that a long term plan is developed which will ensure that these homes are insulated in a timely, systematic and cost effective manner.  Next week we are meeting with DECC Ministers and look forward to kick starting this process.

If we are to succeed in developing a vibrant market for energy efficiency among able to pay households and tackling the scourge of fuel poverty the new long term framework and plan outlined by the Secretary of State will need to incorporate some important elements:

-          A consumer awareness and engagement programme with Government backing to clearly spell out the benefits of insulation.
-          Targeted incentives and regulations where they are needed and can be justified as a means of pump priming the market.
-          The increased role that area based delivery can play in achieving more cost effective delivery on the ground and engaging whole communities in energy efficiency upgrades.
-          A more attractive ‘Pay as you Save’ proposition that reflects the way that consumers purchase and pay for other items with greater flexibility and choice in interest rates and payback periods.
-          A more effective and efficient means of identifying and targeting fuel poor households with a package of appropriate measures delivered that will ‘fuel poverty proof’ the property.
-          The importance of working with the industry, Local Government and consumer groups in the development and delivery of the plan in order to benefit from their expertise whilst achieving their support and ‘buy in’.”

Friday, 3 July 2015

NIA is supporting its members during challenging times

There are currently serious concerns across the insulation industry about future activity levels from Government related schemes including ECO, the Green Deal and GDHIF.  We are therefore working hard on behalf of our members with Government and other key stakeholders to influence the shape and design of future policies and schemes to increase activity levels and provide a longer term sustainable policy landscape for the industry.  This work includes:

  • Calling on Government to make Energy Efficiency Retrofit of the UK Housing Stock a National Infrastructure Priority supported by appropriate levels of capital expenditure and a long term delivery plan.
  • Seeking early decisions from Government Ministers on the future of the Energy Company Obligation after the current obligation ends in April 2017 and a longer term ECO, preferably five years.
  • Working with DECC, Ofgem and Energy Companies to review and revise the compliance requirements for ECO in order to simplify these and reduce compliance costs for future schemes.
  • Seeking urgent clarification from Government Ministers on their future intentions for the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund and Green Deal Communities scheme as well as putting forward proposals to make these or alternatives even more effective.
  • Submitting proposals on changes that could be made to the Green Deal to make it simpler and more attractive to householders.
  • Contributing to the Chief Construction Advisers current review of the Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) market including recommendation on how to most effectively tackle the 7m homes that still require SWI.

Whilst this work in influencing Government policy and programmes is extremely important in securing a long term sustainable future for the industry, we are also committed to helping our member’s access additional business opportunities outside of the ECO and Green Deal right now.

To this end we have undertaken a range of activities designed to stimulate additional insulation work and clearly position our members as the preferred choice to carry out work among specifiers and householders.  This includes:

  • Launching a new consumer website with an installer postcode locator which is receiving around 50,000 searches a year and providing free leads and referrals to our members.
  • Working with leading consumer groups including the Energy Saving Trust and Money Saving Expert to promote the benefits of insulation and referring householders to our members.
  • Undertaking a major PR Campaign to promote insulation and our members
  • Creating new business opportunities in the new build and commercial markets by providing our members with market intelligence and information and promoting insulation to key specifiers in these sectors.  In addition we introduced a new Code of Professional Practice for NIA members operating in the New Build and Commercial markets to differentiate them and provide competitive advantage vs. non NIA members.
  • Introduced a new free service for Local Authorities, Housing Associatons and Procurement Framework Operators to access and specify our members via expressions of interest and tender requests.

“Our activities to support our members during these challenging times is having a positive impact on the NIA’s reputation and benefits of membership among insulation companies and we have seen a 20% increase in membership so far this year.”

The NIA is the leading trade association for insulation in the UK and represents the manufacturers, system suppliers and installers of cavity wall, external wall, internal wall, roof, loft and floor insulation plus draught-proofing.    

If you are interested in membership of the NIA or working with our members please contact Neil Marshall or call 01525 383313

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

NIA calls on DECC Ministers to make announcements of their intentions for ECO post 2017 & GDHIF before the summer recess.

We are today calling on DECC Ministers to make announcements about their intentions for the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) post 2017 and the future of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) before the Summer Recess (21st July 2015).

Recent figures published by DECC and Ofgem on ECO showed that the energy companies have already made significant progress towards their targets for ECO2 (April 2015 - end March 2017) and that based on the installation rates in 2014/15 the target could be achieved one year early in Q1 2016. This is reflected in the major slowdown in ECO activity where just 29,000 measures were installed in April 2015, a 2 year low and compares to 51,000 measures in March 2015 and 58,000 in April 2014.

In addition, the £450m Green Deal Home Improvement Fund which was designed to compensate for the shortfall in ECO activity following Government cuts to the scheme in 2014 is also on hold whilst decisions are awaited from Minsters.

The combined effect of these two factors has resulted in a collapse in insulation activity which is harmful to householders and the industry alike.

Finally the annual progress report published by the Committee on Climate Change this week highlighted that all main insulation measures are behind the required trajectory to achieve the UK's carbon reduction targets - in the case of solid wall insulation some 500,000 behind trajectory.  The Committee also recommended to Government that urgent decisions were needed on the future of ECO post 2017 to provide some assurance to the supply chain.

Therefore we are today calling on DECC Ministers to announce their intentions for the ECO post 2017 and GDHIF before the House of Commons rises for the Summer Recess on 21st July 2015.