“Two out of three consumers think their home is wasting energy, but only one in three is going to do anything about it. That has to change. We need to get out there and show people what energy-efficiency can really do for them.” Ed Davey, UK Climate Change Minister, May 2012
The energy needed to provide heat and light for UK’s homes also provides 27% of UK’s carbon emissions
DECC’s Business Plan for 2011 stated that the Government intends to
“drive down demand for energy across the economy, increase efficiency and reduce wasted energy”
“reduce energy use by households, businesses and the public sector and to help protect the fuel poor”
The Home Energy Centre is working with South Somerset households to :
(1) Mitigate Climate Change –
(2 ) Reduce Fuel Poverty –
(3) Increase Well-being –
1. Why mitigate Climate Change ?
..World is past halfway to triggering dangerous climate change..Global 2C warming threshold will be breached within 30 years, leading scientists report, with humans unequivocally to blame
IPCC Report, September 2013
“..we really do have a limited window in which we have to move forward globally to get emissions down – If we don’t do that we are going to lose any real prospect of holding temperatures to two degrees above pre-industrial levels regarded as the danger threshold for the world ” UK Energy Minister Chris Huhne, Cancun Climate Change Conference 2010
The Home Energy Centre is working with South Somerset households to
2. What is Fuel Poverty ?
..estimates indicate that “several thousand homes in South Somerset are in Fuel Poverty and have to choose in winter whether to eat or heat”
Fuel poverty exists where a household is unable to heat its home to a reasonable level at a cost that is affordable to them – ie. where a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income to keep the home heated to 21°C in the living room and 18°C in the rest of the house. It is calculated using the income of households, the cost of fuel they need for heating, and the ability of their home to retain heat
The number of households in fuel poverty is assessed through a modelling process drawing upon several national household and housing surveys such as the English House Condition Survey
It is clear that fuel poverty has an interdependent relationship with how difficult a home is to make fuel efficient. Homes with certain structural characteristics (meaning they are difficult to make fuel efficient) are known as hard to treat. These homes cannot accommodate typical modern energy efficiency measures such as loft and cavity wall insulation and may include properties with solid walls, homes with no loft space or lacking a connection to a lower cost fuel like mains gas
Fuel disadvantaged households (FDH) are more likely to live in pre-second world war properties and be owner occupiers. Fuel poverty is also exacerbated in rural areas because it has a number of unique characteristics – solid walls, more off-mains gas properties and lower average wages
Rising electricity costs hit fuel poor homes the hardest with homes using electric heating systems (ie. off mains gas) being the most affected ..
The Home Energy Centre has helped many households reduce their electricity, and other energy, bills by working with them on ways to reduce consumption, including:
1. carrying out Usage Profile assessments of Households wishing to understand more about their energy usage and measures to take to ensure that energy leakage levels are reduced by measures such as loft and wall insulation
2. providing private financing to:
– replace old, inefficient household appliances such as ovens and heaters and, in some cases, night storage heaters together with changing over the lighting to LEDs
Plans in process include enabling private financing to be available to install solar pv panels installations for homes in Fuel Poverty so as to reduce consumption of electricity from the Grid
The government urges local authorities to consistently capture key data such as the energy efficiency of properties to obtain an accurate position for fuel disadvantaged households in their county. It further urges local authorities, housing associations, and private landlord groups into sharing information, best practice and developing consortium agreements to achieve lower prices and installation costs for renewable heating solutions in off-mains gas areas.
The Centre has established Home Profile to database and analyse by different criteria the location and distribution of homes in the area that have specific energy-efficiency and energy-profile requirements
The Home Energy Centre ‘s work to enable and facilitate these groups to coordinate their intentions and efforts has been highlighted by its Local Authority, the South Somerset District Council, in the 2013 bi-annual Further Report required under HECA, the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995
3. Increase Well-being
The measure of whether a home has an acceptable level of well-being and is “warm and cosy” is indicated by an Energy Performance Certificate issued on the property after an assessment
Of Britain’s 26m homes, 12m are rated below Level E..and are cold, damp and unhealthy..
Level D and above can be achieved by retrofitting energy-efficiency measures such as loft and wall insulation and double-glazing..to assist households find the funds to pay for these measures the government introduced the Green Deal in 2013, financing provided by a government-endorsed loan