Our Existing Homes are getting even worse

In 2015 Elmhurst  highlighted a worrying trend that our existing homes are on average using more energy, and are therefore costing us more to heat and run. DCLG have again just released their quarterly statistics relating to lodgement of Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) to the national register for England and Wales.

Elmhurst have analysed the quarterly statistics for Q4 (October to December 2015) and unfortunately the same worrying trends are continuing.

Overall volumes are down

For Q4 (Oct to Dec) 2015, the volume of all EPCs lodged, covering all buildings types, is 21% down  on the same quarter in 2014. This is extremely disappointing and cause for concern within the industry. For domestic existing dwellings, which is the largest volume of EPCs, the decrease is 23%. Elmhurst believe the significant reduction overall is still due in combination to ECO2 policy still not starting in earnest yet (which requires RdSAP EPCs to be lodged) and also non compliance issues.

Whilst the volume reduction is not surprising to most in the industry there are some equally worrying trends that are clearly highlighted in the DCLG report.

Existing Dwellings continue to get worse (using more energy)

The statistics prove that the average energy use per m2 in domestic existing properties is actually rising in this quarter compared to last year. The average home used an average of 255 (kWH/m2 p/a) in 2014 and is now using 265 (kWH/m2 p/a) in 2015. This continues the trend Elmhurst first highlighted in both Q2 and Q3 statistics. This is occurring as the Government have removed or are now reviewing all current policies for energy efficiency in domestic homes (The Bonfield Review).

The message disappointingly solely continues to be from Government, in order to save energy the public need to switch suppliers; this data statistically highlights that this is not a serious strategy to reduce the energy demand and use in peoples properties. We are not saving energy, we may save money on current fuel bills, but we all know that this is simply an extremely temporary solution.

Better News

A good news story is with New Build domestic properties which experienced a 16% increase in EPCs lodged; a positive indicator for the house building industry returning to work. As expected due to Part L of the Building Regulations;  80% of new dwellings achieve an A or B energy efficiency rating (SAP rating), 19% score C or D, and only 1% achieve E, F or G.

Another good indicator is the non domestic buildings market, where the lodgements have increased by 6% from last year.

Mixed Messages

There are lots more facts and figures which Elmhurst will analyse. The numbers above give mixed messages to the industry. However it is essential that we all move forward to ensure that energy efficiency is kept at the forefront of political discussions. Elmhurst will continue to work hard on behalf of our members querying recent Government announcements on Zero Carbon Standards, removing of funding for the Green Deal Finance Company and other reviews of energy efficiency standards and policies.

What to do with the worst properties?

The new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, which mean that Private Landlords will not be able to rent F or G rated properties from 2018, is really affected by these statistics. There are 25% of properties with an E, F or G rating in England and Wales. This means that there are plenty of Landlords who need to start to understand the requirements placed on them to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock. Elmhurst are confident that the EPC which indicates the cost effective recommendations that can be undertaken, can really make a big difference to the performance of the UK housing stock.

Elmhurst hope that the data that currently exists is used to help drive us forward to use less energy in our homes; this means less fuel poverty, more money in our pockets to spend elsewhere, and not needing to have to build so many new power stations. After all there are nearly 14.5million EPCs lodged – this data needs to be used to start making smart decisions for us all.

Stuart Fairlie – Head of Technical – Elmhurst Energy

Full statistics can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/495988/160126_EPC_Register_-_Official_Statistics_Release_-_Final.pdf

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