As energy prices rise again, and we approach Fuel Poverty Awareness Day on Friday15th February, the organisers of a series of nationwide forums designed to help improve the energy efficiency of the UK’s aging housing stock announce the opening of free registrations for the events which starts next month, and runs until November.
Eighty per-cent of UK housing stock does not meet current building regulations in terms of insulation and heating efficiencies. Each year there is spike in the number of people in the UK who die in cold weather . About one-third of these deaths are thought to be related to living in poorly-insulated, cold properties and where often the resident can’t afford to turn up the heating in the colder months.
This is the very real face of fuel poverty – especially in rural areas not connected to mains gas, where government support for energy efficiency has fallen in recent years and energy costs continue to rise.
To address this, Low Carbon Homes sets out to bring together the UK’s domestic energy efficiency ”influencers” – that’s engineers, architects, policy makers, surveyors, energy assessors, landlords, planners and consultants – to collaborate and share best-practice to improve the energy efficiency of UK housing stock and to lower carbon emission levels – currently contributing 13% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.
OFTEC – on the Low Carbon Homes programme to address fossil fuel transition towards a low carbon future – expressed their own concerns on fuel poverty and the government’s emissions targets recently.
OFTEC’s CEO, Paul Rose stated “Improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock will be crucial if we are to make rapid progress in this area. Most of the easy wins have already been done and deep retrofit costs for hard-to-treat rural homes can often cost tens of thousands of pounds. With massive pressure on public finances, we will need to quickly find and adopt the most practical and cost-effective solutions to meet these challenges – something that will be far from simple to achieve.”
Low Carbon Homes seeks to provide practical solutions to these domestic heating challenges by addressing five key areas:
Change: apathy and resistance to change – key influencers are unmotivated to recommend change; it’s easier to “do nothing”
Cost perceptions: unconvincing returns on investment
Confusing/conflicting information: competing advice from “experts”
Complexity: technological complications – the pace of innovation is difficult to keep up with
Consistency: inconsistent government policies – financial incentives reducing with fluctuating priorities
Graham Lock, founder of Low Carbon Homes, says “We’re all about facing up to these challenges, but we’re not about gazing into a crystal ball of untested future possibilities. Low Carbon Homes aims to affect a change today by bringing together those professionals and practitioners – who don’t normally work directly together – to meet and evaluate lower carbon energy solutions. This professional community of influencers has the potential to make UK housing more energy efficient – we provide them with a unique opportunity to examine proven, ready-to-go lower carbon solutions that will make a real difference.”
The first event takes place on 11 March in Wimborne, Dorset followed by events in Brighton (3 April), Ipswich (23 May) and Manchester (14 November) will provide expert talks, technical sessions, practical case studies and focused discussion to ensure attendees can evaluate what current best-practice options are available to apply right now across their region.
Low Carbon Homes events are free-to-attend for delegates and places are available to book now: www.lowcarbonhomes.uk