The Energys April 2018 horizon scan: everything you need to know on UK energy efficiency
MEES regulations hit home
This month, the long awaited Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards came into force on April 1.
The Telegraph reported on what commercial landlords should do to ensure they are compliant with the law.
It argues that hundreds of thousands of properties may need urgent upgrades if they are to comply, saying that according to Government figures there could be up to 285,000 properties in need of renovation.
Landlords who don’t carry out the required upgrades could face fines of up to £5,000 per property. But it appears many remain unaware of the looming deadline.
David Symons of WSP, a property consultancy, told The Telegraph: “We are working with a lot of landlords but there are still many, both in residential and commercial, who haven’t heard about the changes.”
But how should landlords fund the actual improvements? The broadsheet argues that for major upgrades landlords might consider re-mortgaging the property, or taking a further advance from their current lender to pay for the work.
Taking MEES to task
“Funding MEES improvements is clearly a challenge,” comments Kevin Cox, Managing Director, Energys Group.
“But nonetheless it’s essential that the UK’s commercially rented property becomes rapidly more energy efficient.
“While there are additional costs, the benefits of carrying out efficiency work include boosting the value of a property and its potential yield.
“With that in mind it effectively becomes a no-brainer to ramp up efficiency, as it will also deliver reduced energy bills.”
The Telegraph puts particular emphasis on boiler renovation. It estimates the cost at £2,000, but crucially notes that a very efficient condensing boiler could add as many as 40 points onto a property’s score.
Given the minimum threshold for an E-rated property is 39, this fix is likely to make many properties compliant.
Rob Bence of advice site Property Hub told the Telegraph: “It might not be the cheapest thing you can do, but replacing your boiler is definitely one of the most effective when it comes to improving the energy efficiency of a property.
“Replacing an inefficient boiler with a condensing boiler could take your EPC rating from a low F to a comfortable E.”
Finally, The Telegraph also recommends LED light bulbs, calling them much more energy efficient and a very cheap fix for those landlords on the margins of compliance.
Energy efficiency in Parliament
Business Green has noticed a welcome trend for 2018; a growing number of debates on energy efficiency in Westminster.
At the MPs’ discussions, focus is growing on the need for energy efficiency improvements and the social, economic and environmental opportunities they can deliver.
MPs are realising that energy efficiency measures provide a public service, as they can insulate consumers against the volatility of energy markets.
But, despite MPs from all major parties agreeing improving energy efficiency is an absolute must, that benefits wallets, the Treasury and the climate, few further details or pledges for action were actually wrung out of the Clean Growth Strategy at the most recent debate.
“It’s fantastic that we’re seeing more and more emphasis on energy efficiency in Parliament this year,” comments Kevin Cox.
“But we now need to turn this emphasis into solid policy that brings the energy efficiency revolution yet closer.”
EDIE writes that 5G could deliver a £6bn opportunity for smart, resource and energy efficient UK cities.
According to the report, communities are set to benefit across areas including resource efficiency, transport, data access and energy consumption.
The report predicts that households will save £145 on energy bills through 5G enabled smart grids. And energy savings of £91m can be recognised by the adoption of smart LED street lighting.
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