Short notes in the middle of summer

As summer continues, EiD thought it would be good to reflect on a few interesting developments this summer.

 

Energy advice to empower consumers

EiD has teamed up with Louise Sunderland and Catrin Maby to create the Energy Advice Exchange in order to get the discussion going on why an renovation strategy at the EU national, regional and local levels needs to put the consumer first. If we are serious about deep renovations (and we must be) then consumers need to understand what a deep renovation is and why, how and when they should have one. There is also a need to let consumers raise their questions in a structured way on what is best for them as they decide on whether to have the renovation or not. It is our view that governments are far too casual in ensuring there are good, effective advisory services. The presence of effective ‘end to end’ advice can really be a make or break for whether a renovation project goes ahead or for the depth of the renovation. For the most part, although we see some excellent practice in pockets across Europe, coverage is surprisingly light, while advisory services should be central to any renovation strategy. Such advice is much more than awareness creation. It is putting the consumer first. You will hear more about our work soon. Check out our new page on the EiD website.

 

Efficiency First

EiD read with great interest the briefing note on Efficiency First presented by the European Climate Foundation. This note provides a well-argued and timely reminder why energy efficiency has to be taken more seriously and that the Energy Union has to use Efficiency First as the filter for analysing and addressing all energy-related issues. This briefing note was not prepared by anyone from the energy supply industry and it will be interesting to get their reaction. In fact, it would be good to get someone to present a resolution to be voted on at the World Energy Council Congress in October in Istanbul. That meeting is a tri-annual gathering of mainly the big hitters in energy supply. If we can start convincing them, then the energy transition is truly underway.

EiD hopes the Efficiency First theme gets farther than the least-cost energy planning that dominated our thoughts many years ago.

 

Tenants deserve better energy performing homes

It was welcome when the British government adopted a requirement that from April 2018 it will be illegal to rent or lease out any home or business premise that has less than an “E” energy efficiency rating. As Andrew Warren has written in previous EiD posts, there are some loopholes to allow landlords to avoid this requirement. First, “residential buildings, the regulations had initially been drawn up saying that landlords need only make improvements at “no upfront costs” to themselves.” Secondly, If a property does not have an energy performance certificate (“an EPC”), then the regulations will not apply to it. Andrew said: “Effectively, this means that if a landlord is already failing to comply with the initial legislation, to offer a current energy rating to a new tenant, then there is no need to bother with any thought about ever upgrading it.” And he went on to say this matters a lot. “According to Government estimates obtained via Freedom of Information procedures, just 26% of tenants are ever informed about the energy rating of the property they are about to inhabit. The rest are told nothing official about the likely size of their fuel bills.” And compliance is only 48%. Now, last week, there were articles in the press mentioning that there would be a £5000 “green tax” on landlords. It is certainly not a green tax. But it is strange to see how landlords, not the most popular grouping in the country, being defended against the green menace. I think they should all read Yamina Saheb’s recent study and appreciate the benefits we derive from renovation.

 

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