Energy Efficiency

The world’s first “energy positive” hotel is set to be built at the base of the Almlifjellet mountain in northern Norway; Svart, which takes its name from the nearby Svartisen glacier, will use 85 per cent less energy than a modern hotel in addition to producing its own energy. Designed by Oslo-based Snohetta architects and commissioned by tourism company Arctic Adventure of Norway, the circular hotel will provide 360 degree views of the nearby fjords.

Independent 24th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 25 February 2018

Fuel Poverty

According to a new report by National Energy Action (NEA) , a national charity seeking to end fuel poverty, the UK has the sixth worst long-term rate of excess winter mortality out of 30 European countries, with an average of 9,700 deaths per year attributed to cold homes. Fuel poverty can affect the most vulnerable and it often remains an invisible issue due to the stigma surrounding it. Today is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day, a nationwide campaign to tackle exactly this phenomenon. In many cases the problem lies with people not being aware that they can save on their bills by switching to a better deal, which can be exacerbated by the fact that many live in old, inefficient housing that is difficult to heat, further driving up energy bills.

SPRU 23rd Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 24 February 2018

Smart meters

Energy companies would need to install 24 smart meters a minute for the next three years to meet a deadline of installing one in every home by 2020. Suppliers are falling far short of the rate needed for the £11 billion scheme to be completed on time, according to analysis by Which?.Which? said that official figures showed that just under nine million gas and electricity meters had been installed, out of about 50 million needed. The consumer group calculated that companies needed to be fitting 250,000 meters a week, equivalent to 24 every minute around the clock every day of the year. It said that this was “unlikely given the current pace of installation”. Claire Perry, the energy minister, told parliament this month that smart meters were being installed at a rate of 400,000 a month, about nine a minute. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: “Energy suppliers’ plans show they intend to double installations in 2018 as large suppliers scale up their operations to provide quick and informative installations of smart meters.” In recent years some big energy suppliers, including SSE and EDF, have publicly called for a review of the deadline but ministers have refused to extend it. Energy suppliers risk multimillion-pound fines for failing to meet it. Energy UK, the industry body, said that companies remained “committed to ensuring all households and businesses are offered a smart meter by 2020 and that the roll-out is carried out safely, efficiently and delivers a positive experience for consumers”. Privately, many companies say that rushing to meet the deadline would end up costing homes more. One described the deadline as ludicrous.

Times 20th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 20 February 2018

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency standards have fallen in almost one-fifth of commercial properties ahead of major new legislation arriving in April. A Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) will take effect as of 1st April 2018, imposing new rules on both domestic and commercial properties within the private rental sector. These new rules will prohibit landlords from granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants if the property has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below band ‘E’. But less than two months ahead of the deadline, evidence shows that many properties are still not complaint with MEES. Research carried out by real estate software provider arbnco shows that 17.7% of the 3,620 buildings registered on the company’s estates platform achieved a lower Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. Nearly 15% of the properties are now rated ‘F’ or ‘G’, deeming them ‘sub-standard’. One in ten (11%) of E ratings dropped to the lower bands over a 12-month period.

Edie 16th Feb 2018 read more »

Business Green 19th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 February 2018

Smart Meters

New smart energy meters that the Government wants to be installed in millions of homes will leave householders vulnerable to cyber-attacks, ministers have been warned. The intelligence agency GCHQ is said to have raised concerns over the security of the meters, which could enable hackers to steal personal details and defraud consumers by tampering with their bills, it is alleged. The Government wants every home in the country to have a smart meter, but only 8 million out of 27 million households have so far signed up to the £11 billion scheme. They are designed to help consumers keep on top of their energy use and send meter readings electronically to suppliers, removing the need for visits to people’s houses to read their meters. However, the rollout of a second generation of smart meters, known as SMETS 2, has been delayed because of worries about security.

Telegraph 18th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 19 February 2018

Demand Management

How ‘Demand Flexibility’ Could Boost Renewables and Save Texas Billions. Rocky Mountain Institute models how a stack of distributed energy resources can solve the duck curve and curtailment challenges—without using natural gas. ‘Demand flexibility’ is Rocky Mountain Institute’s term for the capability of water heaters, air conditioners, plug-in electric vehicles, and other loads to provide a massive set of benefits to the grid — if they’re smart enough to handle it. On Wednesday, RMI released a new report on the demand flexibility equation, modeled on America’s version of an islanded energy market — Texas’ transmission power grid. The results, run over hourly forecasts through an entire year, indicate that the investment in demand flexibility would more than pay for itself in reduced curtailment, flattened peaks, and power plants never built. The model forecasts high future solar and wind growth on the state’s existing market structures and resources, then adds in tens of millions of demand flexibility assets — to be precise, 4.2 million residential and commercial water heaters, 3.9 million home and business ceramic brick heat storage systems, 3.7 million ice energy AC systems, 15 million household plug loads, and 11.5 million grid-responsive electric vehicles.

Green Tech Media 14th Feb 2018 read more »

RMI 14th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 February 2018

Energy Efficiency

A project involving the refurbishment of the UK’s first ‘Energiesprong’ homes is nearing completion in Nottingham. Housing developer Melius Homes has teamed up with social landlord Nottingham City Homes to refurbish a total of ten homes – seven houses and three bungalows – in the city. Once finished, the homes will all adhere to the Energiesprong principles of housing developments which stem from the Netherlands. Translating as ‘Energy Leap’, houses built to this standard are effectively net zero energy, generating sufficient energy to meet its demand. To this end, Melius Homes has tasked Cambridge-based Viridian Solar to supply rooftop solar panels for the refurbishment. Other principles of the Energiesprong approach require renovation works to be completed within one week while simultaneously allowing residents to remain in their properties. All works are covered by a 30-year warranty for the climate and energy performance and they must effectively pay for themselves through combined savings from energy bills and maintenance.

Solar Power Portal 9th Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 13 February 2018

Energy Efficiency

Blog by Dr Charlie Wilson (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research). UK homes account for just under a quarter of national greenhouse gas emissions. Improving their efficiency not only reduces emissions, but also improves health and wellbeing, and creates jobs. The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) recently retweeted the headline findings of UKERC-CIED research published last year: up to 50% of energy used in homes can be saved through energy efficient renovations and other measures, contingent on supporting policies. Are these supporting policies in place? The Green Deal was introduced with fanfare in 2013, replacing obligations on utilities with a market-based approach for informing homeowners about cost-effective efficiency measures and providing ‘pay-as-you-save’ loan financing. Our research found that although the Green Deal did effectively raise the salience of energy efficient renovations, it failed in other important ways. First, it treated energy efficiency as special rather than as a ‘mundane’ feature of broader home improvements. Second, it emphasised financial aspects of renovation decisions rather than tap into the underlying tensions in domestic life which renovations could help resolve. And it was attractive to homeowners only once they had already decided to renovate, so didn’t help boost renovation rates. Uptake rates of Green Deal finance were extremely low, and confidence in the scheme plummeted. Less than 2 years after its introduction, it was largely shelved. The Clean Growth Strategy published last October includes measures for improving the efficiency of fuel-poor and low-income homes, but offers little to the two thirds of owner-occupied homes in the UK, nor the private rental sector (beyond an aspiration to “develop a long-term trajectory” to improve energy performance). The post-Green Deal policy vacuum persists.

SPRU 2nd Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 3 February 2018

Energy Efficiency

Small businesses in Scotland have been encouraged to take advantage of a new “cashback” scheme that could enable them to cut annual energy usage by a quarter and save up to £10,000 in the process. The Scottish Government and Zero Waste Scotland have announced the cashback scheme, which enables eligible small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to apply for a loan with 30% cash back on value if their listed energy efficiency improvements are met.

Edie 1st Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 2 February 2018

Energy Efficiency

Sarah Beattie Smith, Climate and Energy Policy Officer, WWF Scotland: ACROSS Scotland more than a million homes are cold and draughty, wasting energy, wasting money and contributing to climate change. Energy-inefficient homes keep more than one in four households in fuel poverty and add to our collective carbon emissions. Yet the Scottish Government’s consultation on a new fuel poverty strategy, which closes today, recommends deeply unambitious new targets for improving energy efficiency.The Government proposes to cut fuel poverty from nearly 27 per cent of households today to less than 10 per cent in 2040. Anyone who has spent a January evening wrapped up in blankets in their living room won’t be volunteering to spend another 22 winters amongst that overlooked 10 per cent. Together with our other coalition partners in Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, we’re calling on the Scottish Government to bring all homes up to a good standard of energy efficiency by 2025. Luckily, there are several unique opportunities available to the Scottish Government which would help them to achieve this and to overcome the challenges posed by Scotland’s cold and leaky housing stock. First, the new Fuel Poverty Strategy which will emerge following the current consultation needs to set much more ambitious targets for eradicating fuel poverty and set strong minimum standards for the energy performance of our homes. Secondly, the upcoming Climate Change Bill is a chance to set strong targets for Scotland’s energy efficiency programmes over the next 20-30 years. Finally, the Warm Homes Bill, due in Parliament in June, must drive forward action and investment that genuinely creates warm homes, rather than more warm words. We owe it to those people living in cold homes and to the pla net to get this right.

Herald 1st Feb 2018 read more »

Posted: 1 February 2018