Elmhurst Energy has submitted its response to the Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) consultation on updating the 2015 Fuel Poverty Strategy for England.
The energy performance measurement specialist’s response focuses on the way fuel poverty is identified and measured.
Elmhurst believes this needs to be reviewed so that high-level government statistics can be used to precisely determine whether a particular home is in fuel poverty and then ensure that help and support is available where needed.
The current complex calculation makes that impossible, according to the company, which also made the point that further ways in which the national housing stock can be improved need to be considered, especially in the owner-occupied sector, which accounts for 74% of all homes.
Similarly, the privately rented sector covers 18% of homes but presents a disproportionality high proportion of fuel poor households.
Good progress has been made with PRS / Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, but Elmhurst Energy makes the point that this must be followed up with strict enforcement and effective policing of the ‘Exemptions Register’.
Direct support is also needed for high cost (to heat) homes, homes off the gas grid, and those with occupants most vulnerable due to age or ill health, especially as other government strategies encourage the use of low-carbon, but frequently higher-cost, fuels.
Retrofit improvements should be managed on a deep retrofit / fabric first basis as described in PAS2035 (a Publicly Available Specification or standardisation document developped by British Standards Institution and focusing on "Retrofitting dwellings for improved energy efficiency").
“The fact that as a nation we are still debating fuel poverty and its effects on families throughout the UK is evidence in itself that we haven’t seemed to have made the necessary in-roads in this vital sector,” states Stuart Fairlie, Technical and Operations Director at Elmhurst.
“We truly believe that more resources need to be utilised, and that the most in-need homes need to be more easily targeted, the occupiers need the home assessed and they need advice and education to enable the improvements to be long lasting.
"It's 2019 and we are still talking about keep people comfortable, healthy and warm in their own homes, which is depressing as a first world nation.”, Fairlie concludes.