People should be banned from selling poorly insulated homes, according to scientists who led government-funded research on energy efficiency. The energy wasted in British homes is equivalent to the output of six nuclear power stations the size of Hinkley Point C, the UK Energy Research Centre found. It calculated that the average household energy bill could be reduced by £270 a year by installing better insulation in lofts and walls, upgrading boilers or using more efficient appliances. Nick Eyre, professor of energy and climate policy at the University of Oxford, one of the report’s authors, said the government should consider targets for housing efficiency similar to the ban on new petrol and diesel cars. He said that one of the most effective measures would be to tell homeowners “you can’t sell a house until it reaches a certain level of efficiency”. The government is expected to publish a Clean Growth Plan in the next few weeks.
Times 6th Sept 2017 read more »
More efficient use of energy in the UK would save as much power as could be generated by six new nuclear reactors and shave £7.5bn from energy costs, experts have calculated. But to achieve such savings would require substantial changes to government policy because there are few incentives for households to carry out the necessary measures, such as insulation, which can take 20 years to pay for themselves via bill savings. About a quarter of current energy use in heating and electricity could be cut in a “cost-effective” manner producing savings overall in terms of bills, according to the UK Energy Research Centre. Households would save about £270 a year on bills, and more through less tangible improvements such as healthier lifestyles from warmer homes and better air quality. A further quarter of current domestic energy use could also be cut – reducing the UK’s domestic energy consumption by half, or as much as could be generated by 12 new nuclear reactors the size of Hinkley Point C – but this would require investment, for instance in solid wall insulation, heat pumps and demand management technology, which would be less likely to be repaid in bill savings within 20 years. Current government policy provides few incentives to households to invest in energy-saving measures since the flagship Green Deal policy, providing loans for such improvements, was axed by the last government. However, many households have continued to take measures facilitated by improved technology such as more efficient boilers and low-energy lightbulbs and other appliances. In 2015, according to the report, the average annual energy bill for a dual-fuel household was £490 less than it would have been without such efficiencies. The use of gas, mostly for heating, has dropped by 27% since 2004, and the use of electricity by households fell 13% in the same period, according to the report entitled Unlocking Britain’s First Fuel. Jan Rosenow, senior research fellow at the University of Sussex, said many of the potential future improvements were “unlikely to happen” without policy changes. However, energy bills have continued to rise in real terms to about £1,110 a year, according to the study, in part because of higher fuel costs. If all the possible improvements outlined in the report were made, bills could drop to £560 a year.
Guardian 6th Sept 2017 read more »
England’s householders get a raw deal over insulating their homes to save on energy bills, researchers say. Families in other nations receive much more help to reduce bills, the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) says. The researchers say recent UK government cuts to energy efficiency programmes are “ludicrous” – and the opposite of what’s needed. The government says it will soon announce new policies soon as part of its long-delayed Clean Growth Plan. But it would need to radically improve measures to match the support for home improvements offered in other nations. Currently it’s hard for anyone in the UK outside the poorest fifth of society to access public funds to help with insulation. The failed UK Green Deal programme offered improvement loans at 7% interest. German families have government-funded loans at 0.75% interest, French couples receive E16,000 tax rebates for energy saving; and Scots qualify for advice and zero-interest loans. UKERC says before 2012, UK levies on energy were helping to drive down bills in England. Without the policies, bills would be around £500 a year higher than they are now, they say. They say bills could be lowered by hundreds of pounds further – but only if ministers re-instate widespread incentives to householders that were banished by David Cameron’s decision to “cut the Green Crap” – (environmental policies) in response to rising energy prices. Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford, said: “The ‘Green Crap’ reduced energy bills. Until that’s understood and acknowledged we’re not going to make any progress on this agenda.” The researchers say household energy consumption fell by 37% between 1970 and 2015 – largely thanks to insulation funded by the levy on energy bills, higher standards for condensing boilers and EU efficiency rules on electrical appliances. UKERC says spreading home renovation to tens of millions more people would be much a cheaper way of achieving climate change laws than by cleaning up electricity supply, industry or transport. The researchers look enviously across the Channel, where President Macron has made energy efficiency a major policy initiative. Pedro Guertler, one of the report’s authors, told BBC News: “The UK offered loans at 7% under the Green Deal… the French offered tax breaks. Which is likely to be more successful?” The report comes as Professor Dieter Helm from Oxford University is preparing a report to government on cutting energy prices. Professor Watson said it made no sense to consider prices without considering reducing energy demand.
BBC 6th Sept 2017 read more »
UK homeowners could cut their yearly bills by hundreds of pounds by making their properties more energy efficient, a new report says. “Cost-effective” investments up to 2035 could save a quarter of the energy used by households, the UK Energy Research Council (UKERC) report says, worth an average of £270 per household per year at current energy prices. This would come on top of savings already made. Around 140 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy would be saved – roughly equivalent to the output of six Hinkley C-sized nuclear power stations, it notes, though savings would be in heat as well as power.
Carbon Brief 6th Sept 2017 read more »
The results of the European Council’s proposals on energy efficiency are in. In a worst-case scenario, the target could plummet to 0.04 percent. This will make it nearly impossible for the EU to deliver on the Paris Agreement. Energy efficiency is key to achieving the ambitious carbon reduction goals set out in the Paris Agreement. The International Energy Agency (IEA) created a model scenario, aligned with the Agreement, which indicates that half of global emission reductions will be achieved through energy efficiency measures. This is consistent with work by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and others. In consideration of these objectives and the multiple societal benefits delivered by energy efficiency, the European Commission adopted the principle of “Efficiency First” in its Winter Package of legislation. The Energy Efficiency Directive (EED) is a key part of the package, designed to deliver energy savings of 30 percent by 2030. Article 7 of the EED outlines requirements for energy efficiency obligations that would deliver about half of the Directive’s entire savings and is a key driver of energy efficiency in Europe.
European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy 25th Aug 2017 read more »