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Consistent policies key to energy demand reduction

A lack of consistent policymaking and disjointed attempts at delivery are behind past failures of energy efficiency policy says The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) in its submission to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee.

The Institution’s evidence concluded that the UK’s lack of progress in the energy efficiency of its buildings as a whole is down to the lack of a long-term plan from successive Governments, and the failure to treat energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority.

The response was given to the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee for their report ‘Home efficiency and demand reduction’, which echoed CIBSE’s recommendations that efficiency be a key part of the Government’s energy policy, and that a stable long-term framework should be established to provide a stable landscape for consumers and investors.

CIBSE’s recommendations centred on the fact that policies for energy efficiency currently vary across commercial, public, domestic and non-domestic buildings. The picture becomes even more muddled on a national level, where schemes vary by location, scale and form – with some requiring loans and some funded based on local demographics. These problems, combined with a history of under-resourcing of schemes and patchy support make it hard to attract businesses and consumers to buy the economic case for energy efficiency.

Sara Kassam, Head of Sustainability at CIBSE, said: “This report represents further recognition that energy efficiency should be a major pillar in the Government’s future strategy for energy in the UK, following on from similar conclusions in the House of Lords Select Committee on the Built Environment earlier this month.

“In their current form, national energy policies are hampering efforts to make buildings more efficient. By giving energy efficiency the national attention and funding that it deserves, we can tackle the UK’s energy trilemma of reducing carbon emissions, enhancing energy security and ensuring that energy is affordable and accessible.”

The Energy and Climate Change Committee is appointed by the House of Commons to examine the expenditure, administration, and policy of the Department of Energy and Climate Change and associated public bodies. The report stated that improving home energy efficiency is a ‘win win’ for households and the UK as a whole; enhancing the UK’s energy security, cutting carbon emissions from our building stock, and reducing costs.