Mixed messages from the Government on energy efficiency

The Guardian has reported that Britain is seeking to use energy saving data outside its original dates, in order to count towards EU targets.

It writes: ‘Leaked documents seen by the Guardian show Britain is pushing for its 2014 to 2020 timeline to be stretched backwards 4 years, to count “early actions” taken that comply with the efficiency directive.’

Benedek Jávor, the Vice Chair of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee, told the Guardian: “The UK’s proposal is completely mad and undermines the principle of additionality, as well as the overall ambition of the energy efficiency directive.”

The situation as it stands is opaque. A UK Government spokesperson said: “We are asking for clarity on certain energy savings between 2010 and 2013 and agreeing these for the 2020 target. This is not about applying these energy savings post-2020. To suggest otherwise is incorrect and we continue to advocate ambitious future targets.”

But, the British correspondence with the European council, dated 4 May and seen by The Guardian, proposes allowing EU states to count climate actions taken “in any of the four previous or three following years” towards the energy efficiency directive’s annual 1.5% energy savings obligations.

Any “excess energy savings” between 2014 and 2020 “may count towards the fulfilment of obligations between 1 January 2021 to 31 December 2030”, it says.

Energys will monitor the situation, and if necessary report back on changes. What is clear is that energy efficiency legislation must neither be undermined, nor misused.

Buildings sector welcomes clean growth boost

Theresa May has promised that Britain will use new technologies and modern construction practices to at least halve the energy usage of new buildings by 2030.

The pledge came in a speech on Industrial Strategy in May. The Prime Minister said: “By making our buildings more energy efficient and embracing smart technologies, we can slash household energy bills, reduce demand for energy, and meet our targets for carbon reduction.

“By halving the energy use of new buildings, both commercial and residential, we could reduce the energy bills for their occupants by as much as 50%.

“And we will aim to halve the costs of reaching the same standard in existing buildings too. It will be a catalyst for new technologies and more productive methods, which can be exported to a large and growing global market for clean technologies.”

“We very much welcome this development,” commented Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys.

“It proves the ongoing shift to low carbon in buildings is both necessary and inevitable. Here at Energys, we stand ready to help the construction sector embed energy efficiency in the buildings of tomorrow.”

Green mortgages become reality

Borrowers will be able to take out a bigger mortgage when buying greener properties for the first time, under a pioneering scheme to encourage energy efficiency, writes The Guardian.

Research has found that factoring in the efficiency of a home into lenders’ affordability calculations could allow them to increase loans by £11,500 because buyers’ electricity and gas bills will be lower.

The new scheme will kick off in Wales; Welsh help-to-buy loans will take into account the energy rating of new-build homes worth up to £300,000.

“There is every chance that this scheme, if extended nationwide, could help improve energy efficiency uptake and offer more people homes,” comments Cox.

“We would also welcome further efficiency improvements in the commercial and public sectors, where powerful laws already exist on energy efficiency and the legality of rented property.”

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