Tag Archives: Energy Efficiency

Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

July 2016: This month Mayor’s Question Time included the following:

an update on a GLA study to evaluate the potential for the use trackside solar power production; Post Brexit, how the Mayor will use his role in the Brexit negotiating team to preserve the hard-fought environmental protections; the number of decentralised energy projects that are projected to come online this year; how the Mayor can encourage Londoners to switch energy suppliers; an estimate of the number of connections that will be provided with heat from the Beddington energy from waste plant to the Sutton Decentralised Energy Network (SDEN) – and whether Barratt Homes has signed a heat agreement with the plant’s operator, Viridor; whether the Mayor will respond to the Government’s recently released Energy Company Obligation (ECO) consultation;
work to encourage energy efficiency improvements in the private rented sector (PRS);
the RE:NEW home energy efficiency retrofit programme’s strategy over the coming year; the number of jobs linked to the green economy in London; the Mayor’s role with C40 Cities, and borough surface water management plans

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Mayoral manifestoes energy and climate proposals

April 2016: With the publication last week of the manifesto of the Liberal Democrat’s Caroline Pidgeon, all four major London Mayoral candidates have now set out their proposals in relation to energy and climate if they were to become Mayor. I’ve produced a  summary of these proposals, across various categories of interest, in the following document.

The first thing to notice is the welcome inclusion of energy and climate proposals across all manifestoes: a wide number issues are addressed, but some common themes do emerge:

  • The first – and most significant – pledge around energy to emerge from the manifestoes is that all four main candidates have set out their intention to establish a new London government based energy business.  Zac Goldsmith references the work that Boris has taken forward  over the past few years in advancing Licence Lite – but states he “will go further to set up ‘Energy for London – a new clean energy company'”. Sadiq Khan will establish ‘Energy for Londoners’ and both Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry state the will establish a new London energy company  – Sian saying that this new business concern will be linked to Transport for London (the detail of which has been previously set out in a Jenny Jones commissioned report).
  • Worryingly, no candidate commits to working to achieve two long standing London climate targets: the 60 per cent 2025 carbon reduction target and the 25 per cent 2025 decentralised energy target.
  • All candidates are keen on electric cars, with Zac Goldsmith pledging to introduce Paris’s Autolib electric car rental scheme to London – something Boris has talked about doing since 2009.
  • There are warm words for support for developing community energy projects in London – with most detail set out in Zac Goldsmith’s manifesto.
  • Sian Berry and Zac Goldsmith haven’t given up on the Green Deal model – both propose to investigate a London pay-as-you-save energy efficiency retrofit initiative. Caroline Pidgeon interestingly supports working with London councils to introduce a ‘consequential improvements’ policy – a proposal that Government scrapped back in 2012 – a decision which significantly contributed to the eventual demise of the Green Deal.
  • All candidates support increasing the number of solar power installations in London with Caroline Pidgeon and Zac Goldsmith committing to specific targets – PV capacity equivalent to 200,000 homes/750MW/a 10 fold increase in solar – all of which amounts to around the same thing (see Greenpeace’s London solar report) which has contributed to candidates consideration on the future of solar in the capital.

All in all, it’s massively encouraging that energy concerns and their relevancy to the future of London have been recognised across all main manifestoes. Issues such as reducing the city’s contribution and response to climate change, increasing energy affordability, and  accelerating the deployment of measures to enhance energy efficiency and decentralised energy are promoted by all candidates, which gives confidence that GLA programmes in place, such as RE:NEW, RE:FIT, DEPDU and others will continue to be supported by an incoming Mayor.

Some omissions from the manifestoes which it would have been good to have seen including advancing smarter energy initiatives (such as building on the work the GLA are doing with Tempus Energy and Kiwi Power), addressing potential energy security of supply issues in the capital (an issue previously raised by the Mayor and an area of GLA activity through the Mayor’s High Level Electricity Working Group), energy efficiency in the commercial building sector (a significant and difficult issue for Mayor, with next to no regulatory powers over existing buildings…), and how new sustainable energy activities going forward will be financed.  However – despite these concerns – this has been a great start providing much to build upon!

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The Role of Energy Efficient Buildings

15 October 2015:  New study by those excellent boffins at Ecofys for European insulation trade body Eurima which highlights that “Beyond the main benefits of energy efficiency, such as reduced energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency in buildings also has the potential to reduce costs and increase efficiency on the supply side.

Why would that be the case? It’s due to the amount of heating that is anticipated to shift from gas to electricity (boilers to heat pumps) over the coming decades:

Continue reading…

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Lewisham domestic energy efficiency retrofit

14 October 2015: Lewisham seeking EOIs for a domestic energy efficiency retrofit programme, the aims of which are to:

  • Assess the scale and nature of the energy efficiency market in Lewisham and south east London
  • Identify methods and mechanisms to maximise take-up of energy efficiency measures

EOIs in by 4 November: contract start date 18 November.

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Energy Efficient Cafe in Peckham

31 December 2014: Short profile of Lerryn’s Cafe  in Peckham in Guardian feature on energy efficiency initiatives by cafes.

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Tower Hamlets insulates

25 December 2014: Hackney Gazette story on abseiling engineers providing insulation to a number of tower blocks in Tower Hamlets. Energy supplier EDF Energy is funding the work as part of their Energy Company Obligation (ECO) targets.

EDF state that this is one of the largest ECO projects they have worked on with a London borough with some 500 homes included in the scheme on the Bancroft, Avebury, St Stephen’s and Chicksand estates. Work is expected to be complete by March, 2016.

Tower Hamlets has set out its ambition to access ECO funding in its recent 2014/15 Sustainability Action Plan. This work has been planned for sometime now – details of which are set out in a 2013 approval paper from Tower Hamlets council here. Delays have been most likely been caused through the Government’s changes to the ECO programme which the Prime Minister ordered in December 2013 (to which many concerns were raised by practioners to a DECC blog on the ECO changes earlier this year (search for words ‘Brent’ and ‘London’ in blog)).

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London Private Rented Sector energy efficiency push

19 December 2014: A mayoral approval document outlines support to two new projects to save energy and carbon in properties in the private rented sector (PRS) and to boost membership of the London Rental Standard (LRS).

The Mayor has approved:

  • Expenditure of £141,000 of capital grant funding and £45,000 of revenue funding including for assessments and testimonial material to support delivery of at least 50 demonstration projects with LRS-accredited landlords, each resulting in a retrofitted PRS home and raising awareness of the benefits that can be achieved.
  • Expenditure of up to £80,000 revenue funding for the development and implementation of a pilot programme to trial the use of incentive payments to LRS-accredited lettings agents for achieving retrofit works on at least 400 PRS properties they let or manage on behalf of private landlords.
  • Expenditure of up to £20,000 revenue funding for the evaluation of both projects.

The approval document sets out the strong rationale for driving ahead the energy efficiency message in the PRS:

  • the PRS accounts for a quarter of London’s housing stock (850,000), is growing fast (nearly doubling in size since 2000)
  • the Energy Act 2011 requires that from 2016 it will be unlawful for landlords to refuse reasonable requests from tenants for energy efficiency improvements, and from 2018 it will become unlawful to rent out EPC F and G rated properties (see DECC’s recent consultation on PRS Energy Efficiency regulations here
  • the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA), a tax allowance of up to £1,500 per building per year, is available but will end on 6 April 2015
  • the PRS is the worst performing sector in terms of quality of stock. 17% of PRS tenants are in fuel poverty, while 30% of PRS homes fall below the Decent Homes standard (compared with 10% and 21% across London overall).

Full details of each programme is set out in the approval form. The project will be overseen by the Mayor’s Housing Investment Group, which has previously discussed this initiative (see item 8 of minutes) and raised a number of issues including:

  • reasons for targeting PRS properties rather than owner-occupied properties
  • Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) had not yet had a big impact but this would likely to change as from 2017
  • Questions were raised as to whether the scheme would be replicable on a greater scale. The Group heard that, if successful, the programme could be scaled-up and delivered through energy suppliers or contractors, as part of their marketing budgets. A discussion was held regarding the potential involvement of energy suppliers to incentivise the programme. It was agreed that while this could be looked at for future iterations of the programme, to engage energy suppliers at this stage would complicate and delay the start of the programme.
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A Global Survey of Building Energy Efficiency Policies in Cities

December 2014: A pretty major study undertaken for the C40 Cities network – ‘Urban Efficiency: A Global Survey of Building Energy EfficiencyPolicies in Cities’ – which was sponsored by Tokyo Metropolitan Government. The report is available to download here.

The report’s objectives in terms of building energy efficiency programmes were to:

  • capture the range of different policies being implemented in cities around the world;
  • obtain detailed information on the necessary conditions, opportunities and potential challenges when introducing and implementing such initiatives; and
  • analyse what approaches have been successful in which context and why.

The policies it highlights as being most commonly implemented across cities across the world include:

  • Building Energy Codes
  • Reporting and benchmarking of energy performance data
  • Mandatory auditing and retro-commissioning
  • Emissions trading schemes
  • Green building rating and energy performance labelling
  • Financial incentives
  • Non-financial incentives
  • Awareness raising programmes
  • Promoting green leases
  • Voluntary leadership programmes
  • Government leadership

A chapter – ‘Experiences from Frontrunner Cities’ – presents detailed case studies from “ten pioneering C40 cities implementing various kinds of programmes to drive energy efficiency and sustainability in existing commercial and residential buildings” – but doesn’t unfortunately include experiences from London. London is however included in a ‘policy map’ survey for new and existing buildings (pages 19-21).

Page 34 mentions “Almost all cities have shown a willingness to lead by example. In London, all new buildings for the Greater London Authority are required to meet the London Development Agency’s Sustainable Design and Construction Standards or exceed targets in the London Plan.” Some information on the application of the LDA’s SDC Standards can be seen from a MQ from earlier this year here.

Elsewhere in the report, London’s Better Building Partnership initiative is referenced. Pages 40 and 41 also provide a useful list of weblinks to London documents on energy efficiency initiatives.

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London Business Energy Award Winners

20 November 2014: The Mayor announced the winners of his Business Energy Challenge at an awards ceremony which took place at City Hall today.

The Business Energy Challenge was launched earlier this year. 59 participants submitted energy usage data over a six week period and were assessed on the carbon intensity per square metre of their properties. 27 of the most successful energy cutters were given a Bronze, Silver or Gold award to recognise their efforts when compared against their baseline 2010/11 energy usage.

The press release states that” “Some of London’s leading businesses across 1000 London locations (including shops, restaurants, banks and office premises) signed up to the challenge including Boots, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland, Marks and Spencer, BT, Lidl, Workspace Group, McDonalds, Asda and Aviva. The energy data collected will be used anonymously by University College London to inform energy performance benchmarks for wider use across the private sector.

Gold award winners were EC Harris LLP, ExCeL London, Intu, JLL, Linklaters LLP, and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. Case studies of some of the award winning companies are posted here.

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North London ‘Smart Homes’ retrofit scheme launches

November 2014: A news report highlighting a new ‘Smart Homes’ retrofit Project which provides “homeowners in six North London boroughs access to upgrades that can help to significantly boost the sustainability of their properties…The year-long scheme will be the first of its kind in the UK, and aims to make it simpler and more affordable for residents to install insulation that will help to reduce their energy costs.

Haringey Council’s website reveals that the project is one that was successfully awarded funding earlier this year under government’s Green Deal Communities Fund, details of which can be found in an earlier post here.  The project focuses on solid wall insulation and on Victorian and Edwardian terraces where simple, cheap energy upgrades can be difficult because of the design of the older buildings. Residents in Haringey, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Islington and Waltham Forest are eligible for the scheme, which is designed see more than three quarters of work carried out by local traders. The scheme is open to both owner occupiers and landlords (or tenants with landlord consent) from the boroughs and is available up to 31st March 2015.

Further information can be found on the Smart Homes pages on Camden’s website – and on Camden’s Green Deal page here.

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London Business Energy Challenge Launched

August 2014: The Mayor’s Energy Advisor, Matthew Pencharz, writes on the GLA website “the Mayor is launching the Business Energy Challenge: a programme to stimulate action, encourage competition between companies taking that action and recognise what is being done by businesses in reducing the carbon intensity of their London portfolios.”
To find out more about the Business Energy Challenge, read the blog by the GLA’s Assistant Director for Environment, Stephen Tate. To enter the awards please email: BEC@london.gov.uk

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RE:NEW sets out programme to 2017

6 August 2014: There have been a number of major updates to the  Mayor’s flagship home energy efficiency programme RE:NEW, which has been neatly set out in the August meeting of the GLA’s Housing Investment Group. These include:

  • Following a successful bid for funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB), RE:NEW was awarded €3,016,440 (£2,513,700) on 15 July 2014
  • This funding is being matched by a 10 per cent contribution by the GLA of €335,160 (£279,300), taking the funding for a three year support team to €3,351,600 (£2,793,000). The funding will provide a RE:NEW Support Team to 14 July 2017.
  • As with the previous phase of the RE:NEW, the programme is to be delivered by Capita Symonds, who were the successful bidder in an OJEU-compliant procurement
  • Capita will catalyse investment of £352 million through supporting retrofit to 175,000 properties in London over the next three years. This intervention is the largest and most ambitious retrofit programme anywhere in the UK and will save 93,000 annual tonnes of carbon by 2017.
  • An incentivisation model is built into the contract based on these three key performance indicators (KPI) and Capita have committed to achieving these through putting 20% of fees at risk.
  • Below is the three year KPI profile.
  • A RE:NEW Support Team ITT Schedule of Requirement provides additional programme aims, objectives and proposed benefits
  • A new GLA webpage sets out a revised and comprehensive list of RE:NEW Support Team Specialist Services available to local authorities.

The London Assembly has highlighted patchy progress reporting from the RE:NEW team to its members over the past few years (see here and here). In response to this criticism, the Mayor has now committed to providing quarterly reports.

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