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300,000 Energy Performance Certificates studied

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 09-Dec-09 06:02:38 PM

NHER yesterday published the first comprehensive study of its kind looking into the likely impact on carbon and fuel savings if all the recommendations proposed in more than 300,000 issued Energy Performance Certificates, were implemented on homes.

The study found that EPC recommendations could, on average, prevent 1.2 tons of C02 emissions, and £182 in savings on energy bills, representing a 22% reduction.

Savings of 40% possible, says Scannell

I asked NHER chief, Brian Scannell, if savings of 22% threatened the home-makeover plans of both Labour and Tory parties, whose proposals for a Pay As You Save scheme appear to rely on achieving 50% fuel-bill reductions to offset loan repayments over 25 years. He seemed optimistic, saying:

“The recommendations in the EPC can deliver average savings of 22% or so. Implementing the Further Measures [in the EPC], could deliver a similar scale of savings. So savings of more than 40% certainly are possible - even with the limited range of measures and the assumptions inherent in the EPC.”

“As for PAYS,” he continues, “its viability depends on both the savings a measure can produce and the cost of the measure. For a package of boiler upgrade, cavity wall insulation and loft top-up, there would be a good payback (potentially excellent given some of the incentives / subsidies available). So there is certainly nothing in our report which challenges the principle of PAYS.”

However, on difficult-to-treat houses, “things get more tricky,” he cautions. “At that point, the explicit saving in fuel cost may struggle to meet the financing cost without substantial subsidies or additional income from carbon savings. Of course, much depends on the assumptions about price, fuel cost, cost of capital (interest rates) etc.”

Overall, he thinks the report “is a strong argument for implementing something like PAYS as quickly as possible.“ Though, he concedes, there are a “number of issues with PAYS that need to be thrashed through, but the principle is certainly worth exploring in detail,” he said.

Boiler scrappage call comes true

In a video summarising the key findings of the study (below), Scannell calls on the Government to introduce a boiler-scrappage scheme as the biggest improvements recommended in the sample EPCs arose from the replacement of old, inefficient boilers.

Today, in the Chancellor’s pre-budget report, his wish was at least partly met after the Government announced it will help to replace around 125,000 G-rated boilers through a £400 incentive to householders who buy a new boiler or renewable heat unit.

“Spouting good intentions” – Delivering so little

In the video, Brian delivers a side-swipe at Government, saying: “We cannot continue to spout good intentions about how important improvements to the existing housing stock are to achieving carbon reductions, whilst at the same time doing so little to actually implement policies that are going to drive forward improvements to the housing stock in practice.”

Brian Scannell presents the key findings in the following video.

Seizing the Opportunity: Brian Scannell, NES

NHER has made both the data used and the report available on its Seizing the Opportunity page.

Finally, I have to echo the general sentiment amongst energy assessors by saying: well done NHER; and long-overdue! This is precisely the kind of research accreditation schemes should be doing to both inform and accelerate improvements.

I’ll leave the last word to Brian:

It's taken a huge amount of work and we really want it to help promote the role of the DEA and the EPC.

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