Elmhurst responds to growing energy efficiency debate

Elmhurst welcomes the increase in debate around buildings, their impact on climate change and the need to improve their 'energy efficiency' (something we have advocated for for over 25 years).

Elmhurst's Technical and Operations Director, Stuart Fairlie, comments: "It is fantastic to see many people including MPs and the Lords debating about the necessary steps required for decarbonising the UK's building stock, and we applaud them for putting energy efficiency at the heart of debate. Elmhurst agrees with the spirit of the debate as we are all working towards the same goal of improving the energy performance of our buildings. We read with great interest some of the observations put forward by people about the EPC which is one of the 'outputs' of an energy assessment of a building. The main issue is that when people talk about ‘energy efficiency’ they have different metric(s) by which they measure success, which could be one, or more, of the following;
  • Carbon emissions
  • Fuel Bills (Fuel Poverty)
  • Delivered Energy
  • Primary energy
  • Metered energy
  • Warmth of buildings

The good news is that the national calculation methodologies, used to assess buildings can cope with these. The bad news is that the ‘output’ (the EPC), which is what everyone sees, may only display one, two or maybe three of the above metrics. This causes confusion when people want to see, for example, a drive towards carbon savings (CO2), but misunderstand that the metric being looked at is based on energy (kWh) or costs (£s)".

A Possible Solution

Elmhurst suggests that the output needs to be similar to that of a ‘food label’. This will ensure that all of the metrics are displayed equally so that stakeholders and consumers can understand what is important to them. After all some fuels may do well on carbon, but poorly on cost, or vice versa.

Elmhurst have long advocated for a new look EPC, highlighting this point within last year's manifesto for change and within our response to MHCLG's consultation on EPCs (for which we are still awaiting a response). We remain hopeful that this matter can be cleared up for everyone which will enable us to make good choices about the ‘energy efficiency’ of our buildings moving forward.

Link to recent energy efficiency debate: Energy Efficiency Measures: Net Zero Buildings

Article published 28th February 2020

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