Each Home Matters - report published

As Elmhurst Energy predicted in a news item two weeks ago the Each Home Matters report was finally published at 6pm on Friday 16th December.

Reports that are issued that late on a Friday, a week before Christmas, are not normally happy reading but this one is nothing to be frightened of.

The ‘Each Home Counts’  report, originally entitled the ‘Bonfield Review’, actually makes little mention of Green Deal, or any of the infrastructure that was built around it, or the poor consumer take up. Instead it seems to be a response  to the widely reported quality of installation issues and then make 27 recommendations about how that quality can be improved, and consumers be given better advice.

As a review of ‘Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’ it doesn't spend much time analysing the past, but looks to the future.

In brief the report recommends:

A new framework;

  •  The need for a new "quality mark" for the domestic retrofit sector.
  • The need for installers, designers and assessors to be approved by an " approved certification body," who will police a new "Code of Conduct"; "Codes of Practice" and a "Consumer Charter".

Enhanced Consumer Protection;

  • A new Code of Conduct coverings sales practices, pre-contractual information, and a requirement for appropriate financial protection for installations.
  • A Consumer Charter setting out what a household can expect.
  • Providing appropriate protection and signposting to approved organisations.
  • Implement a consistent and fair redress process, including providing a single point of contact for consumers and access to ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) processes.
  • New approaches for engaging consumers with energy efficiency and renewable energy.
  • Make available a set of impartial information and guidance for  consumers.
  • Establish a central Information Hub to act as a collection point for best practice advice and guidance.
  • Establish a Data Warehouse to act as a store for property-level data and information, including EPC data.
  • Develop a range of services and tools to provide advice to consumers.

  • Develop an overarching standards framework document for the end-to-end delivery of retrofit of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.
  • Establish a Retrofit Standards Task Group to address the standards needs in the retrofit sector.
  • Commission a research project to review and restructure to map existing formal and informal standards for retrofitting energy efficiency measures.
  • Embed core knowledge, including basic building physics, design stage and consumer interaction into qualifications, training courses and apprenticeships.
  • Improve how businesses are assessed for ‘competence’, balancing the need for skills, knowledge and experience for all roles.
  • Launch a strong consumer-facing brand in the form of a new quality mark, which provides effective redress for the consumer.
  • Establish an organisation to develop and oversee the quality mark including enforcement  and consumer protection related activities.
  • Set up a compliance and enforcement regime which shares information on the quality of assessors, designers and installers to reduce poor practice.
  • Insist that all retrofit projects will have an appropriate design stage process which takes a holistic approach.
  • Provide tailored home energy efficiency advice to consumers during the smart meter installation visit.
  • Ensure the skills of smart meter installers deliver a safe and efficient roll-out.
  • Get industry to work together to ensure that smart meters can be installed in as many properties as possible.
  • Undertake a review of all technologies and develop action plans for each technology to align with them with the new Framework.
  • Develop a set of independent, impartial advice documents for both consumers and the supply chain covering each technology.
  • Ensure any new approval process facilitates the entrance of new technologies.
  • Develop new standards to cover the efficient adoption of new home energy technologies.
  • Involve Housing Associations to ensure that the framework can apply to their housing stock, allowing energy efficiency and renewable energy measures  to be installed at scale.

Having read the document our first impressions are;

  • We are pleased that EPCs are seen as the start point for energy efficiency measures.
  • Many of the recommendations appear similar to those set up for Green Deal, Code of Practice, Green Deal Mark etc. Only when we get the detail will we be able to assess their likely effectiveness.
  • It is disappointing that  low take up of Green Deal plans has not been analysed or addressed although mention of " new private investors" could be exciting.
  • We are pleased that work being done by Elmhurst Energy, and other accreditation schemes, to review the quality control processes around the production of EPCs has been acknowledged.
  • It is disappointing that the role of Advisors and Assessors are not mentioned, and there is no reference of the current occupancy assessment process.
  • Good news that Energy Performance Certificates are to be a key element of this new "Data Warehouse".

Elmhurst Energy looks forward to working with the Government Departments, the BRE and the implementation team to help make this scheme a success. As there is no doubt that success is necessary if we are to reduce the demand for energy, take families out of fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions that create climate change.

 To read the full report please visit the Government website https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/each-home-counts-review-of-consumer-advice-protection-standards-and-enforcement-for-energy-efficiency-and-renewable-energy

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