Leading energy charity criticises proposals that will lead to badly insulated homes
National Energy Foundation (NEF) says insulation standard proposals will make it harder for UK government to meet carbon emissions target.
The National Energy Foundation, a leading charity working to improve the use of energy in buildings, has criticised proposals to reduce insulation standards in homes receiving grant aid under the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).
Kerry Mashford, Chief Executive, comments: “If implemented, these proposals will lead to missed opportunities, and homes that are not as well-insulated as they might be, for some of Britain’s most vulnerable residents.”
Dr Mashford continues: “Currently, those treating walls under ECO have to achieve a U-value of 0.3 W/m2K or better, for all types of wall including solid walls. Relaxing this requirement will also result in lower savings being made on energy bills, and make it even harder for the Government to meet its target for cutting carbon emissions by 2050.”
The Foundation made its views known in a response to DECC’s consultation on updates to the Energy Companies Obligation. These have suggested reducing the current target for U-values, which are a measure of how much heat is lost through the fabric of the building, on the grounds that there may be an unacceptable loss of space. However, there are many different types of insulation materials available on the market today, which can achieve the current target, without being excessively thick. Although old-fashioned insulation such as wood fibreboard would find it hard to reach the required value, manufacturers have produced innovative products such as Kooltherm K18 boards and Spacetherm. These have been shown to achieve U-values as low as 0.14 W/m2K, thereby substantially lowering heating bills for residents and keeping homes affordably warm.
The Foundation’s response also identified the need for better and more extensive monitoring of solid wall insulation work, to ensure that ECO money is not wasted, installers don’t cut corners to save cost and to minimise the loss of internal space. Monitoring will help show where cold spots and air leakages are occurring, and assist installers deliver even higher quality work at a reasonable cost.
The National Energy Foundation’s full response to the consultation, which also identifies ways in which higher standards will encourage more innovation in insulation materials and delivery, and addresses concerns that any change to the current 0.3 target may lead to more condensation issues, is available at: http://nef.org.uk/energynews/pressrelease.asp?id=1819