Energy Efficiency

  • Homes
    The new UK strategy promises around £3.6bn to upgrade the energy efficiency of a million homes, with the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) extended to 2028 at its current level.

    Across the housing sector, the aspiration is for “as many homes as possible” to reach Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band C by 2035. This would mean 19m homes being upgraded through investment in improved insulation and windows, low energy lighting and new energy efficient boilers.

    The strategy also aims for all fuel poor homes and as many privately rented ones as possible to reach this standard by 2030, with private rentals already having to meet at least Band E by April 2018. New EPC standards for social housing will be considered and the government will consult on strengthening building regulations for new and existing homes – including “future-proofing new homes for low carbon heating systems”.

    Business & Industry
    Business & Industry account for 25% of UK emissions. The strategy claims up to £6bn could be saved in business and industry by 2030 through investment in energy efficiency solutions.

    The government proposes a new target for these sectors to improve their energy efficiency by “at least” 20% by 2030. A final decision on the specific target will be made during 2018, taking into account the recommendations of Prof Dieter Helm’s “cost of energy” review.

    To help meet this goal, a new “Industrial Energy Efficiency” scheme will help large companies cut their bills and the Government will consult on raising minimum energy efficiency standards for rented commercial buildings.

    A set of joint industry-government decarbonisation and energy efficiency plans will also be developed for seven of the most energy intensive industrial sectors, including cement and chemicals.

    These will need to go further than energy efficiency, the strategy says. There will need to be a switch from fossil fuel use to low-carbon fuels, such as sustainable biomass, in the period up to 2030. Post-2030, this switch will need to accelerate, coupled with the use of new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).

    Using potentially low-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen, is currently prohibitively expensive so the strategy promises up to £20m to demonstrate the viability of switching to low-carbon fuels in industry. A new £18m industrial heat recovery programme is also in the works.

    The overall framework to support this decarbonisation of heavy industry will be developed over the course of the current parliament. A “new and streamlined” business energy and carbon reporting framework will also be consulted on then introduced by 2019.

    The Scottish Government has designated energy efficiency as a National Infrastructure Priority and has set a target to increase the productivity of energy use across the Scottish economy by 30%.

    In May 2018 the Government plans to launch a full Route map for SEEP and introduce the SEEP Transition Programme, both of which will provide far greater clarity on the requirements and opportunities on offer.

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