Thursday, 26 November 2015

NIA responds to Governments planned 400,000 new homes

The NIA shares its surprise and concerns with the Committee on Climate Change at reports that the Government intends to build 400,000 new homes in the next few years that may have to be retro-fitted with insulation and other energy saving measures to meet the UKs carbon saving targets.

Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the NIA commented: “If this proposal goes ahead and new homes are not adequately insulated when built it will mean that these homes will be less energy efficient resulting in the occupants facing much higher energy bills which is a major concern given continued rising energy prices and unnecessary additional costs from retrofitting later.

Earlier this year government scrapped building standards that would have made new houses zero-carbon from next year, without indicating whether new standards would be forthcoming. In addition it would be a further blow for the home energy efficiency sector where installation rates for existing homes have plummeted as a result of cuts to ECO and the  Green Deal and Green Deal Hone Improvement fund being ended abruptly without putting in place alternatives.

Yesterday the Chancellor also announced further major funding cuts for the future Energy Company Obligation meaning there could be a 78% reduction in the number of households that will receive energy efficiency improvements over the next 5 years compared to the previous Parliament.  We would therefore urge a rethink in the energy efficiency policy for new homes"

The Committee on Climate Change published it Fifth Carbon Budget today highlighting that if the UK is to meet its targets by the 2030s, insulation would need to be installed in nearly all UK homes where it is cost-effective.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

NIA Comments on Excess Winter Deaths

Commenting on this morning’s excess winter death figures for 2014/15 Neil Marshall, CEO of NIA, said: “The Government is currently planning to insulate 78% fewer homes during this Parliament compared to the last. However, with excess winter deaths hitting a 15 year high of 43,900, many of which are attributable to cold homes and this winter is predicted to be the most severe in 50 years, it is critical that the Chancellor now allocates  additional funds immediately to support a major national insulation programme targeted at vulnerable households.”


Monday, 23 November 2015

NIA response to SWI report

The National Insulation Association welcomes the Chief Construction Advisers Solid Wall Insulation Report – ‘Unlocking Demand and Driving Up Standards’ and sets out plans to host a meeting of key stakeholders in the new year to consider actions arising.

On 12th November 2015 Peter Hansford, Chief Construction Adviser published an independent report following an eight month review of the solid wall insulation market which involved the consideration of written and oral evidence from a range of stakeholders.

As the lead trade association for solid wall insulation in the UK representing manufacturers, system designers and installers of both external and internal wall insulation, the NIA had considerable input to the report and our CEO Neil Marshall was invited to respond to the report on behalf of the industry at the launch event on 12th November.  

Welcoming the report he said: "For some time now we have been calling for a comprehensive Business Plan to be developed to insulate the UK's solid wall properties in a systematic and cost effective manner and therefore we welcome the review and recommendations carried out by Peter Hansford and his team.  It is extremely encouraging and reassuring to see that Peter has picked up on the key issues raised and suggestions made by the industry through the written and oral evidence provided and that there has been strong cross departmental involvement and support from DECC, DCLG and BIS – this is vital in ensuring a joined up approach to future policies and regulations.

"This report is a crucial first step and provides a platform for the development of an overall business plan to insulate the UKs solid wall properties.  However, the outcome of the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review will be extremely important too as it will set out the Governments level of ambition.  We strongly support the current Energy Bill Revolution Campaign for energy efficiency to become a funded infrastructure priority as we need to go allot further than the Governments current stated ambition of insulating 1m homes over five years if we are to make a significant impression on the UK's solid wall insulation housing stock.
"A positive response and the adoption of key recommendations from the report by Government is now needed and it is essential that the Government works with the industry in developing the detailed implementation plan – a leadership forum as recommended is a very good idea but we need to make sure that the right people are involved and I for one would like to see a far more ambitious timescale for doing this, 6 months rather than 12.  There are plenty of examples of best practice that can be quickly and easily adopted into a unified approach and at the NIA we have already established a solid wall insulation external stakeholder support group which could be drawn upon."  

In response to specific points contained in the report he added:

  • To date a ‘one size fits all’ approach has tended to be adopted to solid wall insulation but this needs to change.   A segmented and targeted approach is needed taking into account building type, tenure, the occupants and the different solutions available external, internal and hybrid wall insulation. 
  • The Government now needs to quantify the overall business case for solid wall insulation taking into account the multiple benefits identified in the report using its own analysis and models in order to determine the appropriate level of investment required.
  • A significant part of the report is concerned with quality and standards and whilst we recognise that there is scope for further improvement there are some very good companies carrying out some very good work and there are different approaches taken in different market sectors.   We now need to develop a comprehensive industry wide QA framework for the residential retrofit market that sets out clear and consistent standards and practices which are  mandated and subject to robust enforcement.  We need to ensure that all companies operating in our industry in future operate to the same level as the best performers.  To this end we initiated the development of a new industry wide QA framework several months ago with input from industry and key stakeholders and this is now feeding into the Bonfield review.  
  • However, whilst the industry can do its bit, there are a number of external factors linked to policy and regulations that contribute to quality and these need to be addressed too; light touch accreditation, variations in practices between energy companies, certification bodies and guarantee providers, rates paid for work and erratic work profiling.
  • In terms of delivery, we believe an area based, street by street approach could play an important role as it could deliver significant economies of scale and enables all householders to be engaged and encouraged to act having seen the results that can be achieved in neighbouring properties.
  • And last but not least, we need to educate and engage consumers far more effectively than we have to date.  Currently there is a very low level of awareness of the availability of solid wall insulation solutions let alone the benefits provided.  Research has shown that a large number of those people living in solid wall properties do not believe they can be insulated.  We would therefore like to see a high level Government endorsed consumer awareness and engagement programme backed by targeted incentives that will really make a difference.

In terms of next steps it is anticipated that there will be a Government response to the report over the next few months however, Peter Hansford has strongly advised industry not to wait for the Government response and to take the actions arising from the report that it can proceed with on its own. 

To this end, whilst the NIA is already undertaking a number of initiatives to increase the demand for and uptake of solid wall insulation and to further enhance industry standards, acting on the advice from Peter Hansford our CEO will be convening a meeting of a number of key stakeholders who have had input to the review early in the new year in order to identify actions arising from the report that can be taken forward in a co-ordinated and timely manner.  


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Response to Amber Rudd Energy Policy Re-set Speech

In a speech this morning the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change,  Amber Rudd said that she intended to prioritise energy security and cutting energy bills.

However, there was little mention of energy efficiency which has a key role to play in addressing these issues and the Energy Bill Revolution Campaign has expressed serious concerns stating that: “A commitment to only deliver energy efficiency measures in 1 million homes marks a 78% reduction in the number of homes that received support during the last Parliament.  

So if this pledge is fulfilled it marks a catastrophic fall in the number of households helped. That means  higher energy bills and less energy security.  With £100 Billion due to be spent by Government on infrastructure during this Parliament, energy efficiency must now be made an infrastructure investment priority to provide the funds needed to deliver warm homes for all and boost the economy.”

Neil Marshall CEO of the NIA commented: “With over 5m homes needing cavity wall insulation, over 7m homes needing solid wall insulation and 7m homes requiring loft insulation we share the concerns of the Energy Bill Revolution Campaign and are calling for Government to be far more ambitious in its support for energy efficiency in the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review.”

He went on to say: “Making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority can make a real difference.  Recent research from Frontier Economics shows this would bring an £8.7 billion net economic benefit to the country, comparable to HS2 Phase 1 and Crossrail.  This would boost GDP growth, reduce UK reliance on gas imports and help deliver a net increase in employment across the country.  It would also help keep energy bills down and warm up the homes of the fuel poor."