Tag Archives: Energy Efficiency

A Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London

November 2016: The London Assembly Environment Committee will be holding an oral evidence session later this week – Thursday 10 November – on home energy efficiency progress in London, and the challenges faced by Londoners living in homes suffering from fuel poverty. An outline paper prepared for the Committee is available here – and the 10am session will be webcast on the following link. Evidence will be provided by National Energy Action, Friends of the Earth and the Energy Saving Trust.

The Mayor last month committed to preparing a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for London (see page 29 of following transcript of 19 October 2016 Question Time session):

2016/3848 – The Cold Homes Crisis 

Leonie Cooper AM In London there are as many as 348,000 fuel poor homes. There is also a clear pattern of increasing depth of fuel poverty in older households. Given these terrible statistics, what action will you take to protect pensioners this winter?

Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London): Thank you for taking this question, Dr Sahota. I am hugely concerned about the levels of fuel poverty in London and its increasing depth amongst older households, which is a national trend and is extremely worrying. I am committed to taking much more of a leadership role. I will look at ways to better target fuel poverty measures in London and produce a Fuel Poverty Action Plan for the capital.

My new Energy for Londoners programme will tackle fuel poverty on a number of fronts. I intend to set up a not-for-profit energy company to ensure fair and affordable bills for Londoners targeting those people who are currently paying above the odds for their energy bills. This includes households with prepay meters and those who have not switched energy supplier in the last couple of years. I will also reinvigorate and develop new homes, energy efficiency programmes and initiatives to both save carbon and cut bills. In addition, I will support the rollout of smart meters, ensuring that Londoners are supported in being able to use their meters to use energy more efficiently. While I am very concerned about the reduction in the Energy Company Obligation budget, I welcome the shift in its focus towards fuel poverty given the absence of any other national fuel poverty energy efficiency support programmes. Continue reading…

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FAQ on ZCH

3 October 2016: London’s Zero Carbon Homes planning policy officially started on the 1st of October. Attending a recent industry workshop around the new ZCH rules – it’s clear that many organisations involved in the sector are still not quite aware of what this this all means. Hence answers to some of the most frequently asked questions raised follow below.

  • What exactly started on 1 October 2016?

All new planning applications in London for residential projects above 10 units will now need to provide an energy assessment which will set out how the development will achieve a zero carbon status.

  • When was this first announced?

There have been no announcements by the GLA that this new ZCH policy was going to commence from 1 October. Instead, information has largely had to be gleaned from new planning documentation and a number of recent responses by the Mayor to questions.  The new policy and its implications were first picked up in a post on the Energy for London website here, following the publication of a new GLA Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) document on Housing.

  • Where is detail behind this policy set out?

Three GLA planning documents set out the new policy requirements to some extent: they are the SPG on Sustainable Design and Construction; the SPG on Housing and a GLA Preparing Energy Assessment guidance paper.

  • Erm…anything shorter..?!

Continue reading…

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Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

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

progress on Energy for Londonersschools and community energy; schools and solar powercost to business of poor energy efficiency; renewable energy potential on TfL land and buildings; solar on London Overground land; energy efficiency and private rented sector; a discussion on Energy for Londoners; the London Sustainable Development Commission’s work plan; tube station lighting; carbon budgets; GHG emissions linked to London’s goods and services; carbon offsetting funds; cleaner, greener taxis.

Previous months questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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Devolve more powers on energy to the Mayor

15 August 2016: Following a comment piece in the Evening Standard last week, on how London is supporting the growth of decentralised energy, here’s my letter in response which was published in the paper today.

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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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Inside the UK’s first passive house in Camden

31 March 2016: Evening Standard property section article and video on a new bespoke passive house development in Camden – which states the house has an annual energy bill of just £100. Passive house experts, BERE Architects led on the build of the home – and their website has further details of projects across London including a community centre in Islington (and here); Exmouth Market; Brent; and Newington Green.

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Camden Passivhaus Tower

January 2016: CIBSE Journal case study on on how “Camden’s Agar Grove estate is to become the UK’s biggest residential Passivhaus project.  Max Fordham’s Bertie Dixon describes the challenges of building an 18-storey tower to the standard, and explains why the council is committed to the low energy code

The redevelopment of the Agar Grove estate, in Camden, is not only expected to be the biggest residential Passivhaus development in the UK. It is also highly challenging for the designers involved.

As well as having an 18-storey Passivhaus residential tower on a tight inner-city site, the development is subject to environmental planning requirements that are not always compatible with Passivhaus principles. For example, heat networks might appear to be a prerequisite for large housing schemes in London, which means incorporating a network of heating pipes. The heat loss from the pipework introduces an increase in annual ‘primary energy demand’,I which is limited in the Passivhaus standard, so the project team had to work hard to come up with an ultra low-loss network design.” Read the full case study here.

Camden already has two other developments that meet the passivhaus standard – Loudoun Road and Alexandra Road,

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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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