Don’t put a gun to their head

10th Feb 2020

 

For avoidance of doubt, let me shout it from the rooftops, energy efficiency improvements to UK building stock will be vital if we are to achieve Net Zero.

They are good for consumers, as their energy bills are lower, good for the planet, with lower emissions and lower demand means that the requirement to supply zero carbon energy is made easier. There, I’ve said it (again). And I’ll add that I don’t know anyone in the energy efficiency industry that is more passionate about tackling climate change because of what they have seen for themselves than I am.

Phew, got that off my chest. Because I’m now going to upset a few people.

I’ve seen recently too many “experts” or “advisors” advocating a policy to encourage energy efficiency that literally amounts to putting a gun to the head of the consumer. And it is wrong to do so and it needs calling out.

The policy in question suggests that unless a home reaches a certain EPC level (usually C) the government will prevent it being sold. It cannot be right that when someone has saved, worked for, made sacrifices to buy a home unless it reaches an artificial target set by some do-gooder, it has no financial value.

In my opinion, if your product, technology or policy isn’t adopted unless government renders your home worthless, then frankly it isn’t very good and consumers (I mean voters) will not want this particular gun pointed at their heads.

What’s more, using EPCs as the benchmark is fatally flawed. EPCs do not measure energy efficiency, they measure the cost of energy consumed in the home. There is a difference and it is relevant. Two identical homes, built to the same efficiency standards will have different EPC scores if one uses natural gas (cheaper) than LPG (more expensive unit price). This can’t be the tool to measure efficiency.

EPCs are also flawed because of the variation in quality of the assessment. I once lived in an old sprawling house that the assessor said could be improved if I had a condensing boiler fitted. I sent him a photo of the two condensing boilers, sat side by side, that he had seen! To be fair, he did apologise and offer to reassess (which I declined).

With millions of EPCs out there (most done as cheaply as possible to sell or rent the home), this variation in standard is bad enough. Tie that in with £250,000 at stake (average home value) and you have Daily Mail headlines (quite rightly) screaming at you.

To decarbonise the UK, take the public with you, don’t put a gun to their head or play games with their home. This should be Rule Number One.

They are good for consumers, as their energy bills are lower, good for the planet, with lower emissions and lower demand means that the requirement to supply zero carbon energy is made easier. There, I’ve said it (again). And I’ll add that I don’t know anyone in the energy efficiency industry that is more passionate about tackling climate change because of what they have seen for themselves, than I am.

Phew, got that off my chest. Because I’m now going to upset a few people.

I’ve seen recently too many “experts” or “advisors” advocating a policy to encourage energy efficiency that literally amounts to putting a gun to the head of the consumer. And it is wrong to do so and it needs calling out.

The policy in question suggests that unless a home reaches a certain EPC level (usually C) the government will prevent it being sold. It cannot be right that when someone has saved, worked for, made sacrifices to buy a home unless it reaches an artificial target set by some do-gooder, it has no financial value.

In my opinion, if your product, technology or policy isn’t adopted unless government renders your home worthless, then frankly it isn’t very good and consumers (I mean voters) will not want this particular gun pointed at their heads.

What’s more, using EPCs as the benchmark is fatally flawed. EPCs do not measure energy efficiency, they measure the cost of energy consumed in the home. There is a difference and it is relevant. Two identical homes, built to the same efficiency standards will have different EPC scores if one uses natural gas (cheaper) than LPG (more expensive unit price). This can’t be the tool to measure efficiency.

EPCs are also flawed because of the variation in quality of the assessment. I once lived in an old sprawling house that the assessor said could be improved if I had a condensing boiler fitted. I sent him a photo of the two condensing boilers, sat side by side, that he had seen! To be fair, he did apologise and offer to reassess (which I declined).

With millions of EPCs out there (most done as cheaply as possible to sell or rent the home), this variation in standard is bad enough. Tie that in with £250,000 at stake (average home value) and you have Daily Mail headlines (quite rightly) screaming at you.

To decarbonise the UK, take the public with you, don’t put a gun to their head or play games with their home. This should be Rule Number One.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO