One more Horizon Scan before Xmas; what’s hot in energy efficiency as winter power usage rises?

This month, the government is under scrutiny on buildings and energy efficiency progress.

Utility Week reported that the Chair of Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) committee slammed the government for being “too slow” in its efforts to improve energy efficiency of the country’s building stock.

The criticism comes alongside a probe into whether the government’s efforts to improve the energy efficiency of buildings matches its ambition to curb carbon emissions.

The inquiry will examine whether the government’s current delivery of energy efficiency improvements is consistent with meeting targets set out in the Clean Growth Strategy, and the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, which cover the decade ending in 2032.

Not so smart roll-out

The National Infrastructure Commission has recommended that the government should be installing 21,000 energy efficiency measures a week by 2020, more than twice the rate of 9,000 currently being achieved.

EDIE quoted BEIS Committee Chair Rachel Reeves MP: “Our inquiry will examine the government’s approach to energy efficiency; whether it is showing enough ambition in helping to tackle fuel poverty and in encouraging homeowners, businesses and landlords to upgrade.

“We will also be keen to explore the additional measures which may be needed to deliver energy efficiency improvements that could bring significant benefits for individuals, the economy and the environment.”

Our Managing Director Kevin Cox welcomed the investigation. “It’s imperative that as we enter the winter, when energy efficiency is most required, we keep a tight eye on how the government performs on delivering vital energy saving measures.

“These can be so simple, from LED lighting to more complex upgrades and refits. But no matter what the scale, the key is this; improving our building’s energy performance – fast.”

EU aims to be ‘climate neutral’ by 2050

In a major move, the BBC is reporting that the European Union is aiming to become the first major economy to go climate neutral by 2050.

Scientists say that net-zero emissions by 2050 are needed to have a fighting chance of keeping global temperatures under 1.5C this century. The EU says the move will also cut premature air pollution deaths by 40%.

But it remains unclear how the efforts will be achieved; energy efficiency, carbon capture and solar and wind energy are among the suite of solutions being targeted.

The EU believes that the measures will help achieve the goals of the Paris agreement, and boost economies by 2% of GDP by 2050 and reduce energy imports by over 70%, saving up to three trillion euros a year.

Sweden has legislated to achieve net zero emissions by 2045. Other countries are looking at it, including the UK which has asked the Committee on Climate Change to report on the idea.

MEES tweak

Key changes to MEES regulations have been passed. ‘Since April this year, landlords who own some of the coldest privately rented homes have been required to improve these properties with energy efficiency measures where support is available to cover the costs,’ wrote the National Landlords Code of Excellence.

‘The new measures, announced yesterday following a public consultation, will go further requiring landlords to contribute to the cost of upgrades. The consultation considered what the cost cap should be set at; the government concluded that the cap will be set at £3,500 (inclusive of VAT).’

The higher cap should lead to more buildings gaining better energy efficiency at greater pace. It’s another indication of the UK’s hastening commitment not only to energy efficiency, but to its social benefits.