Future Climate

The Blog

Blog: Energy running costs – Are tenants getting the information they need?

It is one year since the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations came into force. The Regulations were to ensure that home buyers and prospective tenants had energy performance information of homes available to them at the point of advertising.

To mark the anniversary, we at Future Climate took a casual stroll around the estate agents of South East London to see how these Regulations were being implemented.

We found a mixture of confusion, over-compliance and total non-compliance. Kinleigh Folkard and Hayward, a large and prominent chain of London estate agents, didn’t see fit to display any energy performance information of homes in their display.

One local estate agent was displaying energy performance information alongside environmental impact ratings on their homes for sale. Environmental impact ratings were downgraded in prominence on EPCs last year due to the confusion they caused amongst homebuyers and tenants. Displaying both graphs on property advertisements seems likely to confuse rather than enlighten and inform homebuyers, and are certainly not required on property advertisements. Read more

Sustainable Consumption: sometimes “I dont want to know” is a positive choice

IPPR have just published one of Future Climate’s first pieces of work (undertaken last summer): a review of ten sustainable consumption initiatives in the UK, designed for an international audience.

The mandate was simple: analyse ten high profile projects to change consumer behaviour and see how well they’d done, the barriers and learnings.  We covered initiatives from Hugh’s Fish Fight to the 2011 voluntary retailer initiative on energy consumption of TVs.

The big theme in the report is the relationship between the role of the government controlling product choice and that of voluntary awareness and behaviour change campaigns.  Generally the idea is of a virtuous circle where public awareness provides cover for progressive legislation that in turn enables large scale voluntary behaviour change –  all building to a step change in what and how we consume.

But perhaps that’s not always how it works – particularly when its the more boring end of sustainable consumption. In 2006 – after years of noble awareness raising by environmental groups – the penetration of highly energy efficient central heating boilers in homes remained stubbornly below 5%. The public just couldn’t be persuaded to buy more expensive boilers, whatever their energy saving or carbon merits.  But by 2010, 42% of homes had condensing boilers. The change was achieved through mandation in the building regulations in 2007 – mandation that passed almost entirely without notice among consumers. Read more

Analysing Supplier Obligations

Britain has led the way on energy supplier energy efficiency obligations. Billions of pounds have gone from the big 6 energy suppliers to pay for insulation measures that have made over 5 million homes warmer and cheaper to heat. But there’s been spectacular problems too – for example the 315 million energy saving lightbulbs sent out by suppliers to homes in 2009/10, most of them seemingly unused and unwanted.

It’s now been over a decade since the first energy supplier obligation – EESOP – and since then we’ve worked our way through EEC, CERT and CESP. But as we enter the new era of ECO with its estimated £1.3bn annual spend, its clear there’s been a surprising lack of analysis of the rules, structures and delivery of energy efficiency obligations. What makes an obligation challenging but achievable for suppliers? And what wider structures does government need to put in place to maximise the impact of the suppliers’ money?

But big questions therefore remain about supplier obligations – questions that we need to know the answer to in order to plan future policy – Read more

a whole load of money, not much time

DECC’s local authority competition gives an extra £25m of capital funding for fuel poverty in England – but it all has to be spent by the end of March. Making the cliff higher before we all jump off it (with lots of funding now, but no government money for fuel poverty from April) doesn’t help anyone, least of all vulnerable customers.

Read more

Trying to be a Green Deal early adopter

My attempt to be an early adopter of the Green Deal is on hold for now, because part of the government’s standard assessment software hasn’t yet been finalised.  Green Deal assessments were due to be happening from November, but apparently there’s been further delay this week. Most companies are not able to offer a firm date or are only offering assessments from January, when the financing becomes available. Read more

Hot…or not?

At our launch event we asked the assembled community of experts to rate a series of policy interventions and measures as “hot or not”.  It’s interesting to see what came out as hot (and not) and what the handwritten additions were – things people thought were missing but ought to feature. Read more

We have officially launched…

We recently held the official launch of Future Climate with a group of colleagues, friends and stakeholders.  Whilst it is only the beginning, it was also the culmination of two years of preparation.

Future Climate is Brooke Flanagan, David Weatherall and Andy Deacon.  At our launch, we gave our audience an outline of how Future Climate came about, what we’re currently doing and our vision for the future.  This blog is an abridged version. Read more