Is measurement the right road to reduce fuel poverty in Wales?

Back in September the Government in Wales published its 'Tackling Fuel Poverty 2020 -2035' consultation in which it outlined its plans to take households out of fuel poverty. Elmhurst applauded the Welsh government for taking a fresh view but warned of the dangers of focussing just on heating and assuming that measurement can be a panacea.

Read Elmhurst's response to Tackling Fuel Poverty 2020-2025

Elmhurst published our initial views and sought input from members. This helped us formulate our formal response a copy of which is attached.

In summary we propose that:

  1. All planned retrofit must start with a modelled estimate of improvements and savings
  2. SAP and RdSAP can give you more than an asset rating, using established processes it can also predict energy based on the occupancy of the asset
  3. SAP and RdSAP are more than just cost and we should use their calculations of energy demand and carbon as well
  4. Measurement is needed to “close the loop” and identify where the intended outcomes have not been achieved and understand what to do, e.g. was it the fabric improvement that failed, was it occupant behaviour, was it excessive cold weather etc.

Elmhurst Managing Director Martyn Reed  commended the Welsh Government on its efforts to reduce fuel poverty and welcomed the proposal to measure performance: "Measured performance is undoubtedly a good thing, and Elmhurst themselves are one of the first to offer a practical solution with its Measured Energy Performance service, however this can only ever tell the current position.

"To predict energy efficiency performance, to decide what measures might be most appropriate, we must have a physics based methodology such as SAP. Using the EPC, and more importantly for fuel poverty an occupancy assessment, we can predict energy consumption accurately and then measurement can confirm the prediction, or otherwise. Knowing the performance gap, i.e. the difference between the prediction and the actual, we can then start to understand why and take action whether that be to improve the methodology, to improve the quality of installed measures or simply to help the occupants live more efficiently. “

Learn more about Elmhurst’s Measured Energy Performance service. 

Read Elmhurst's response to Tackling Fuel Poverty 2020-2025

Consultation response are required by 31st December 2020.

Article published: 23/12/2020

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