Category Archives: Green Deal

Mapping the Green Deal with ArchitectMap

Once Green Deal is live, and indeed in the run up preparation phase, it will be of great advantage to be able to see who are the Green Deal ‘players’ on your street, in your estate, neighbourhood or town.

Green Deal, in addition to improving energy efficiency of buildings, both domestic and commercial, also has aims of carbon reduction and providing increased work for micro / small SMEs. Using local SME’s hits a number of plus buttons: carbon reduction through low transport, localism and local spend, and of course employing local SME’s to continue existing relationships.

One of the key elements in the Fairsnape “More than Just a Green Deal” support programme is visibility – being visible as a green deal player to learn, share and join in Green Deal conversations, but also to shout about preparation, accreditations and of course services offered.

ArchitectMap

It is excellent news then that ArchitectMap, a brilliant geo-location mapping app, developed by Su Butcher and Mark Schumann, for Architects, Contractors, Product organisations and more, now enables you to filter for green deal organisations.

We buy a whole range of services and goods on line these days, so why not select your green deal services online?  Sign up for ArchitectMap here and start sharing your Green Deal intentions and achievements. And of course start using ArchitectMap to find your Green Deal Team.

At the moment Contractors and Installers can map themselves, shortly Assessors, Surveyors and Product companies will be able to do so.

If you would like to know more, and how Architectmap came about check here, or get in touch with @SuButcher and or @MarkSchuey

If you would like to know more about Fairsnape Green Deal support please do get in touch with myself via @fairsnape or via email

New Building Regs Part L to ‘trigger’ Green Deal

Like many others the new Part L Building Regs will be on my reading list over the next few days. Others will surely comment in more depth than me, but I am interested in how the new proposals will trigger Green Deal.

Paragraph 85 is interesting.

Will this mean that Local Authorities will have the first option to trigger green deal works when a planning or building regs application is made? This could make LA’s one of the most important Green Deal Providers, a key client / flow of green deal work for installers, and a great opportunity for LA’s to act as Green Deal Assessors. (see my previous blog post on Local Authorities)

Also of note this refers to all buildings, not just domestic, opening the door for Green Deal within the commercial and public non domestic sector?

Interesting times.

Main Proposals to Existing Buildings:

85 …., and more significantly, we are proposing to extend the requirements  for ‘consequential improvements’. This is the term used to describe the use of the Building Regulations to trigger a requirement for extra energy efficiency works in a building where other controlled work is already taking place. The reason for proposing these changes now is to recognise the urgency of reducing emissions from the existing building stock, and, in a time of rising energy prices, to make homes and non-domestic buildings easier and cheaper to heat. It would also take advantage of a new market mechanism which has the potential to remove some of the existing barriers to action – the Green Deal.

Update: From DECC Green Deal Bulletin

DCLG yesterday launched their consultation on changes to the Building Regulations regime.  This includes a package of potential changes to support the Green Deal.  In summary, this includes new requirements for additional ‘consequential’ energy efficiency improvements where work (such as an extension or replacement windows or boilers) is already planned to an existing building and Green Deal funding is available as an option to meet the up-front costs.   Given DCLG estimate there are 200,000 extensions per year, 1.4 million boilers replacements and 1 million window replacements, this could be a significant demand driver for the Green Deal. 

In detail the proposals are:

  • From October 2012 (to coincide with the introduction of the Green Deal framework) DCLG are proposing that extensions and increases in habitable space (i.e. loft or integral garage conversions) in existing homes would trigger a requirement to carry out consequential energy efficiency improvements where these were technically, economically and functionally feasible.
  • From April 2014, the same requirement in existing non-domestic buildings would come into effect.
  • From April 2014 there is also the possibility of further regulation so that the replacement of a domestic boiler or the replacement of multiple domestic windows would also trigger a requirement for consequential improvements.  This would be restricted to a set list of lower cost measures (e.g. draught proofing or loft insulation).

If you wish to consider responding to the consultation,  the deadline for comments related to the Green Deal is 27 March 2012. Further information can be found on the DCLG website.

Green Deal – heading for failure or success?

There has been a spate of interesting “Green Deal will fail articles” recently, for example

DECC research suggests Green Deal will flop from Business Green

Green deal suffers setback as loft insulations set to plummet from the Guardian

and on George Monbiot’s Blog: The green deal is a useless, middle-class subsidy

It is great that we debate the issues around green deal, in particular mechanics of funding and energy performance of building, and I must agree with Monbiot

Even if we agree on nothing else, can we agree that a policy is not green if it discriminates against the poor?”

Based on this Greenest Government Ever track record to date who knows?

However, as I mentioned on my last blog  “Where Greendeal will succeed …” debate is good and there are some certainties emerging, like for example the Green Deal Code of Practice, and,  PAS 2030, at the moment a poorly crafted document but one that should put some control on cowboy builders, protect clients and improve the image of installation.

The arguments to date focus on domestic Green Deal, I await with interest for the same debates to kick off within the commercial and private sectors…

 

 

#GreenSkills a serious barrier

The RAE (Royal Academy of Engineering) have today published their report:

Heat: Degrees of Comfort, Options for heating home in a low carbon economy. 

There is no possibility that the UK can meet its 2050 target for CO2 emissions without a fundamental change to the way our homes are heated, according to a report published today (12 January) by the Royal Academy of Engineering. Even with the most modern gas boilers and state-of-the art insulation, we cannot continue to heat so many homes by natural gas and still achieve an 80% cut in emissions as laid down in the Climate Change Act 2008.

Plumbers unprepared for move to energy-efficient homes, report warns (from the Guardian 12/01/12)

In addition to the technical options and considerations, throughout the report there are a number of important and timely comments around the skills issue for installation, AND, for behavioural operation, as the following extracts show:

… skills shortages will be a serious barrier to decarbonising heating unless addressed effectively

… behavioural aspects are very important. Studies in the UK and overseas tend
to reveal a variation of typically 3:1 between the upper and lower tails of the
energy use (between the 5% and 95% cases in the distribution) in technically
similar dwellings occupied by people from demographically similar
backgrounds. To make radical changes, it will therefore be essential to engage the occupiers.

… the lack of inter-discplinary work:

(A Cautionary Tale Case study): The initial problem they faced was finding a single contractor who would take responsibility for the whole installation including the GSHP, ground coils, underloor heating and the integration of the new system with their existing heating and DHW installations. Eventually, despite having contacted the Low Carbon Partnership and the Energy Savings Trust, they had to place separate contracts with a heat pump installer, a groundwork contractor, a plumber and an electrician for different parts of the work.

The work went ahead and a 16kW heat pump, 150m of slinkies, a thermostore tank, solar collectors, two underfloor heating coils and room thermostats were installed.

When the system was operational the householder was shocked to find the electricity bill increased from £30 per month to £250. After 18 months of high electricity consumption and many visits by the different companies involved, it emerged that the heat pump had been wrongly connected so it was providing heat to the underfloor heating at the temperature required by the storage cylinder for DHW and, although the room thermostats were controlling the pumps on the underfloor heating manifold, they had not been interlocked with the heat pump which, in consequence, was running continuously at its maximum return temperature.

… often there was no single contractor responsible for the installation, which might involve a ground works contractor, a plumber, a heat pump installer and an electrician. As a result of there being no ‘design authority’ for the whole system, there was no single point of responsibility or any liability for the eventual performance of the installation

… there is clearly a need for many more engineers and technicians who understand the systems engineering that has to go into a heat pump installation and who can integrate the various energy systems in a customer’s house. The present provision in higher education and further education is well below what will be required. This could be a significant brake on the deployment of low-energy systems

“Our building performance studies show unmanageable complication is the enemy of good performance. So why are we making things more complicated in the name of sustainability?” – Bill Bordass,  The Usable Buildings Trust

and in conclusion:

17.4  Skills
The levels of applications engineering required to integrate a heat pump in a property along with local energy sources and other intelligent loads, such as chargers for electric cars, is much higher than is generally available in the trades that traditionally provide heating and related services to domestic consumers. A new type of energy use professional will be needed. Recruiting these will compete with the demands of new nuclear power, offshore wind and other energy industries that are already flagging-up staff shortages.

Skills shortage will potentially be a serious barrier to decarbonising heating unless addressed effectively.