The Future of Energy Summary Report is released
This week marked the release of the Future of Energy Report by Energy UK, which focuses on addressing the very complex issues surrounding energy markets, energy efficiency and energy use within the UK. It explores possible solutions to meet rising customer expectations, keeping pace with rapid technological advances, and continuing to decarbonise our economy. The report crucially recognises and highlights that to achieve a stable energy market, and improve efficiency, there is no one single solution so it will be crucial for academia, manufacturers, government and industry to work together… and quickly.
At Elmhurst Energy Consultancy, our expertise and business focus has always been on the energy efficiency of buildings and businesses. We have specialised, for over 25 years, in providing consultancy on building regulation compliance, and ongoing energy management. As a result, section 3 of the ‘Future of Energy Report’ was of particular interest to us, as it focuses on reducing emissions from buildings, looking at the sustainable transition to low carbon heating systems, and improving the efficiency on our domestic and non – domestic buildings. We have highlighted a few key points below, which we believe would be of particular interest to our customers:
Opportunity 1: Developing fiscal incentives and regulatory standards could simultaneously drive forward the decarbonisation of heat and support customers in the transition.
The concept behind building regulations being introduced and regularly updated was to implement a minimum standard for building fabric and services where small, incremental changes were made to gradually improve efficiency and reduce emissions over time. To add to this, the government have now announced plans to phase out gas boilers in new build properties from 2025, and also phase out coal fired power plants by 2025, with an aim of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. Unfortunately, there has been a long gap between revisions of building regulations more recently, with the last change in 2013, however, government have announced these will be revised in the next 18 months. Our consultants always aim to ensure the buildings they advise on, don’t just meet the minimum standards but surpass them, ensuring longer term sustainability. We, however, agree that the industry would benefit from fiscal incentives to increase the feasibility and uptake of more efficient building fabrics and systems. As mentioned in our article earlier this week, although the price of renewable systems have dropped considerably, they are still, in many cases, more expensive than traditional systems, making them a potentially costly initial investment for homeowners and businesses who cannot always justify the upfront capital costs. The report by Energy UK recommends a solution involving placing increased tax onto traditional systems and using the additional revenue to subsidise low carbon methods. We are encouraged by this idea, and believe it would not only incentivise consumers to make the switch but would also help to drive manufacturers away from traditional systems, towards low carbon systems to avoid additional tax being imposed on them.
Opportunity 2: Increasing awareness of the effect of current heating on emissions and air quality, and the need to adapt to smooth the transition
In our experience, many house builders, architects, homeowners, and businesses, are aware of the need to switch to lower carbon alternative systems to reduce their energy use and emissions. The most common problem is that they don’t always have enough information to know which systems will work best in their properties, or adopt a whole building approach to ensure the measures complement one another. This is where we feel the role of energy consultants becomes ever increasingly important. Not only do consultants have plenty of experience in the design, operation and energy management of buildings, but they are able to utilise industry leading software to model different approaches to determine the most cost effective and beneficial investments for individual buildings or property portfolios. Our expert consultants can work with clients to achieve and exceed compliance, as well as providing ongoing energy management recommendations through schemes such as ESOS and SECR.
Opportunity 3: Public trust and confidence in the quality of energy efficiency measures is crucial to increase uptake
A lack of public trust and confidence often comes when innovation is not proven so end up having little or no impact on the efficiency and performance of buildings. Elmhurst Energy Consultancy have long been advocates of ‘proven innovation’, which is demonstrated by independent consultants or advisers with no conflict of interests with products or services. Our product modelling service allows designers, manufacturers and construction companies to prove the effectiveness and benefits of their products, through an independent report. Our Consultants are able to model products in government approved building modelling software, under scenarios of varying construction types and ages, service types, orientations, and so on, to demonstrate the effects of products and services, and what could be expected if designed into a new or retrofit property. This service is available for both domestic and commercial buildings, and prove beneficial for companies when advertising their products, or for companies looking to implement ESOS recommendations because the software can also advise on potential pay back periods, allowing companies to perform a cost/ benefit analysis.
Although the report clearly outlines the direction the UK needs to be heading as we transition to a low carbon economy, of which the benefits to all are clear. We all want to live and work in a world that is free from fossil fuels, with cleaner air, and to determine our own business energy security and sustainability. Reducing energy and improving efficiency stands to create huge cost savings for homeowners and businesses. Where there’s a chance to be more sustainable and save money, it’s hard to see how employing an Energy Consultant wouldn’t bring many benefits to homeowners and companies. To find out more about all of the services we offer, please visit our website at www.elmhurstenergyconsultancy.co.uk