2013 the most important year for energy efficiency in Social Housing – the move to Green Deal/ECO + £5 Energy Efficiency Surveys

Category: Energy Efficiency

Green Deal and ECO measures came into play this month

£5 Energy Efficiency Surveys

2013 is the UK’s most important year yet for energy efficiency.

As the country strives to make significant inroads towards its carbon emission targets, housing associations are under increasing pressure to fully understand the new funding mechanisms and how best to access them.

Now more than ever, knowledge is everything. Not only in terms of new legislation but also in terms of the precise energy efficiency needs of your property stock. The introduction this month of the Green Deal and ECO in place of CERT/CESP has signaled a shift to a more holistic approach in which hard-to-treat properties are prioritised and addressed in a way that truly equips them for the future.

The challenges are bigger than ever before – and for that reason, 2013 simply has to be the year of the thermographic survey.

What’s changed?

While under CERT/CESP, the location and subsequent filling of empty cavities was relatively simple, it’s crucial to realise that the securing of funding under Green Deal and ECO will be trickier for those housing associations unsure of the exact direction they need to move in.

Indeed, the new schemes work on the assumption that the easy to treat market has already been saturated, achieving only mixed results. For example, just last week, the Office of Fair Trading revealed a large number of ineffective examples in its review of double-glazing, insulation and solar panel installation.

 

Unlike CERT/CESP, 75% of ECO funding will be used to subsidise specific measures on hard-to-treat homes, while 25% will be dedicated to affordable heating measures for vulnerable households.

As a result, 2013 faces more extreme challenges – the year when the focus moves from the simple identification of cavities to fill and lofts to top up to a whole-house approach.

The government anticipates that most properties will receive funding from both ECO and the Green Deal, with the former providing support for high cost measures, and the latter addressing the cheaper measures.

What housing associations must do

It’s quite simple – know their stock. In a recent report, the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group, an organisation that aims to maximise the impact of UK public sector funding for low carbon technology, stated its belief that:

Gathering data on actual building performance in-use is vital and should be encouraged to understand the value of energy savings, as well as to innovate and implement measures effectively. Split incentives between different actors in the value chain currently prevents this from happening.”

That’s why infrared thermographic surveys are absolutely critical for housing associations aiming to access the government’s new funding streams and maximise them accordingly. By visually revealing where energy is being lost, a simple infrared image from an impartial partner provides associations with the clearest starting point for refurbishment, equipping them with the key information that is needed to secure funding from the new measures.

Example of thermal image, showing where heat loss occurs

As the funding landscape has changed, merely addressing easy-to-spot issues is no longer the priority and no guarantee of compliance with future energy efficiency guidelines. In contrast, housing associations that know their stock – where the problems lie and what solutions they would like to pursue – will benefit more quickly from ECO.

The developments provide an unprecedented opportunity for associations with properties classed as “hard to treat”, requiring solid wall insulation or specialist cavity wall insulation, with only the most well informed equipped to take advantage.

Five pounds

As the chosen providers of thermal images for the National Housing Federation’s carbon performance initiative, we are providing housing stock surveys at £5 per home this heating season.

The project aims to accelerate retrofit activities and help housing associations compile an accurate bank of data on their existing housing stock and its current carbon performance.

You will receive a simple spreadsheet of your stock with a quantified thermal image of the front elevation. The spreadsheet can be viewed in Excel meaning you can rank and rate your portfolio and extract data via postcode, house type, heating system etc. Once this dataset is acquired you will have access to the Irtcarbondash.co.uk enabling online simulation of measures. The dashboard shows likely impact on your EPC rating and SAP. Savings are shown on three large speedometers. KWh’s, ££ and CO2. Sliders provide the interaction.

Using the site you can create an upgrade programme yourself, or simply click the Diet Plan button and let the software run thousands of permutations for you. The Diet Plan will reveal the most cost effective route to savings for you in minutes. Saving you time and money.

The images themselves are created, ranked and rated using the very latest iteration of SAP – meaning the output is ECO and GD compliant. This removes any objections and barriers for you when negotiating with funders and installers.

We believe this is the most cost effective solution on the market today and empowers you to make the most of the funding opportunity early and make savings quickly.