“Lies, damn lies and statistics!”

The Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) have released the latest statistics for Energy Performance of Buildings; it continues a very welcome approach to ‘open data’ and we hope that it makes interesting reading.

However as the expression “Lies, damn lies and statistics” goes, everyone may read these figures in different lights. We at Elmhurst have reviewed the quarterly figures for Q3 2016 (1st July to 30th Sept) and present them in a hopefully considered manner.

All Buildings:

  • 373,285 EPCs were lodged covering all building types – a decrease of 16% on the same period in 2015
  • This includes residential domestic (existing and new build) and non domestic (existing and new build)

All Domestic Properties:

  • 355,977 EPCs were lodged – a decrease of 16% on same quarter in 2015
  • 13% of these are A or B rated (energy efficiency rating)
  • 62% are C or D rated
  • 25% are E, F or G rated

A sub set of this is new build domestic properties:

  • 54,655 EPCs were lodged – an increase of 13% on same quarter in 2015
  • 76% are A or B (energy efficiency rating)
  • 23% are C or D
  • 1% are E, F or G rated

Non Domestic Buildings:

  • 17,309 EPCs were lodged covering all non domestic buildings – a decrease 3% on same quarter in 2015
  • 13% have an asset rating of A+, A or B
  • 58% are C or D rating
  • 29% are E, F or G rated

Display Energy Statistics

  • 8,680 DECs were lodged – an increase of 8% on same quarter in 2015
  • 8% are A or B (energy performance operational rating)
  • 63% are C or D
  • 29% are E, F or G rated

Overall volumes are down

For this Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2016, the volume of all EPCs lodged, covering all buildings types, is 16% down on the same quarter in 2015. This is extremely disappointing and cause for concern within the industry. For domestic existing dwellings which are the largest volume of EPCs, the decrease is 16%. Elmhurst believes the significant reduction overall is still due in combination to the slowdown in ECO policy and the referendum uncertainty over the summer.

Existing homes:

The reduction in lodgements is occurring as the Government have removed or are now reviewing all current policies for energy efficiency in domestic homes; ‘The Bonfield Review’, which was subsequently called ‘Every Home Matters’ seems to have been lost in the Government reshuffles and shows no sign of being published.

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 13% increase in EPCs lodged; a positive indicator for the house building industry continuing to return to work. As expected due to Part L of the Building Regulations;  76% of new dwellings achieve an A or B energy efficiency ratings.

Mixed Messages

There are lots more facts and figures which can be read many ways. 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 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/buildings from 2018 (domestic), is really affected by these statistics. There are 25% of domestic dwellings with an E, F or G rating in England and Wales and 29% of non domestic buildings. 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/buildings 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 building stock.

Elmhurst hope that the data that currently exists is used to help drive us forward to use less energy in our homes and buildings; 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 just over 17 million EPCs lodged – this data needs to be used to start making smart decisions for us all.

Stuart Fairlie – Head of Technical – Elmhurst Energy

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