Happy Christmas and Looking forward to 2022

Good bye 2021 hello 2022

A difficult year for many to say the least and yet my busiest to date, since I started Assess Energy Solutions UK 5 years ago, has gone from strength to strength.   

House sales and the rental markets were both very buoyant throughout the year without the usual seasonal dips around holiday times.  This was driven by a number of factors, not least, Covid 19.  

The requests for assessments and advice came in daily, whether through the misfortune of having to pack up a business due to lockdown and the commercial property changing hands, the stamp duty holiday promoting house sales or people weren’t spending money on holidays and took the opportunity to seek bigger homes, often in the country with more space to live, along with the increased working from home negating the need to live and work in a city or town. 

One thing is certain; the internationally excepted global warming predictions and COP 26 have resulted in home owners, landlords and commercial property owners all asking 'what can I do to make my property more energy efficient?'  To some extent this is driven by the governments Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) requiring all rental properties to be at least a E or better. However owners are genuinely wondering what can they do to lower energy bills, especially with climbing gas, oil and electricity costs. 

Will 2022 continue in the same vane?  

The building trade is short of tradespeople and material costs have increased considerably plus extended delays in the manufacture and supply chain has made building projects go over time and budget. Making improvements is not cheep and arguably the majority of the most in-need properties are owned or rented by those least able to afford insulation, a new heating system especially ground or air source heat pumps; despite the governments £5000 grants to offset capital costs.  

Local authorities are having to take more notice of the domestic and commercial rental markets in their areas by accounting for property stock below par and are finally targeting default landlords for failing to make energy efficiency improvements to meet the minimum E grade, at present, let alone have an in-date EPC.

Personally, I can only see the industry growing in terms of recognition (still not well known at present) the role of an EPC is only going to be more important to measure and improve the energy efficiency of the property stock in the UK. 

Best wishes for 2022

Mark @ Assess Energy Solutions UK

EPC band C by 2028 – Private Members Bill progresses to next stage

Lord Foster’s Private Members bill in which he is attempting to require government to deliver on previous energy efficiency commitments through legislation.

In summary, Lord Foster is asking that the Secretary of State must ensure that:

  • All domestic properties achieve at least EPC Band C by 2035, where practical, cost-effective and affordable.
  • All new private sector tenancies shall have an energy efficiency performance of at least EPC band C from 31st December 2025. 
  • All existing private sector tenancies shall be at least EPC band C from 31st December 2028 where practical cost effective and affordable.
  • All mortgage lenders must by 31st December 2030 at the latest ensure that the average energy performance level of their portfolios is at least EPC band C.
  • All owner occupied homes to which this section applies shall be EPC band C by 2035 
  • All social landlords must ensure that a significant amount of their residential properties are at least EPC band C by 2035.
  • The Future Homes Standard will require that all homes built from 1st January 2025 are zero carbon ready

Closure of the Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The UK Government have put into motion a consultation on the closure of the current Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. This scheme was due to close at the end of March 2021 however this was extended for 12 months. It will be closing for new applicants on the 31st March 2022 with the last payment to be made in March 2029.

The consultation was a chance to react and express opinions on this closure and the impact that this may have. See below for the highlights for the scheme closure.

The closure reforms:

  • Extending the scheme for new applicants till 31st March 2022
  • Reporting reduction for BEIS
  • Ongoing research to ‘future-proof’ the scheme following the closure and changes
  • New planned scheme to aim for the net zero carbon target by 2050

Elmhurst has shared the views on the consultation and have created an initial draft response where we answer questions on behalf of our members and discuss the potential replacement ideas for standards according to the PAS2035 already in place.

The new proposed ‘Clean Heat Grant’ scheme is planned to continue to support the domestic renewable heat market, where capital grants will be provided to support the installation of low carbon heating systems (heat pumps and biomass boilers). It is unclear as of yet how this will impact the process of EPC production but we advocate the process to follow the current PAS2035 standards.

The deadline is this Friday 6th May 2021. We always advocate for Elmhurst members to respond to Government consultations, but if you want to add some points to our draft, please let us know and we will attempt to incorporate your views.

PAS 2035 Retrofit - Assess Energy Solutions now accredited as a Retrofit Assessor business

The government is keen to hit net zero by 2050 and has already identified that improvements to existing homes are required in order to achieve this. It is anticipated that PAS 2035 (which requires TrustMark approved retrofit professionals) will need to be adopted for all retrofit improvement programmes in the future, with ECO3 already due to make this mandatory in 2021.

Link to You Tube Retrofit background and future

How is PAS 2035 different?

This PAS embraces quality retrofit work eliminating problems associated with defects, shallow retrofit, accountability, poor design and performance gap. PAS 2035 delivers a whole building approach to the retrofit process, considering the home, environment, occupancy and the householders' improvement objectives when determining the most suitable measures to install. This eliminates the issue of retrofit work being considered in isolation which can unintentionally damage the overall building performance.

Moreover, five new retrofit roles have also been introduced within the PAS 2035 process, with clear responsibilities and accountabilities established to ensure that individuals deliver quality throughout. Elmhurst currently run training and schemes for two of these new roles, including the Retrofit Assessor and Retrofit Coordinator.

PAS 2035 and TrustMark

TrustMark Logo

TrustMark has been established as the new quality mark within the retrofit standards framework. This TrustMark is supported by an Industry Code of Conduct, a Consumer Charter and a framework of technical standards for retrofit. Users of the TrustMark Government endorsed quality scheme will be required to comply with PAS 2035 when undertaking any domestic retrofit work. Those who hold the TrustMark can demonstrate to consumers that they have the skills and knowledge to deliver the best practice standards and trading practices in the sector.

As an accredited Retrofit Assessor Assess Energy Solutions will produce the following as part of the process:

  • a RdSAP Energy Report (similar to EPC but, not lodged)
  • a detailed floor plan
  • a condition report (a room by room report of the overall condition of the windows, walls and services internal and external)
  • an occupancy assessment (speaking directly with the home owner to determine how they use the property, and also what their fuel bills are).

Here we go again...

Another lock down and restrictions on social and work life.  This time the government has decided that house sales and lets should continue which also means EPC surveys will carry on.

Assess Energy Solutions UK conduct surveys according to the government guidlines and whilst in properties masks, gloves and social distancing will be observed.  

The home owner, tenant or commercial manager will be asked before survey and again on the day if anyone is particularly vulnerable or isolating; if this is the case we reserve the right to cancel or cirtale the survey to minimise risk to occupants and the assessor.

Risk assessments covering Covid 19 can be sent on request.

Stay safe, wash hands and where possible vacate the premisses whilst the survey is in progress and report any Covid infections to Test and Trace plus Assess Energy Solutions UK if within 10 days of survey.