Dublin local authority makes passive house mandatory in historic vote.

By  http://passivehouseplus.ie

All new buildings in south-east Dublin must be built to the passive house standard or demonstrably equivalent levels, in a move that may lead to the construction of upwards of 20,000 passive houses by 2022.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council adopted its county development plan for 2016-2022 on Wednesday 17 February, including a motion worded by Passive House Plus editor Jeff Colley that all new buildings must be built to the passive house standard or equivalent.

The motion, which was sponsored by Fine Gael councillor Marie Baker, passed by a majority of 27-10, winning support from members of every political party, including nine out of eleven Fine Gael councillors, four out of seven Fianna Fáil councillors, all Green Party, Sinn Fein and People Before Profit councillors, and five out of six independents. Just one of the council’s seven Labour councillors voted for the policy, leaving Labour as the only party where a majority of councillors didn’t back the policy.

The Passive House Association of Ireland commissioned a legal opinion from planning, European and competition law experts Philip Lee Solicitors, to address concerns raised by the Department of the Environment about the legal basis for the passive house policy.

The wording of the agreed motion is as follows:

All new buildings will be required to meet the passive house standard or equivalent, where reasonably practicable.

By equivalent we mean approaches supported by robust evidence (such as monitoring studies) to demonstrate their efficacy, with particular regard to indoor air quality, energy performance, comfort, and the prevention of surface/interstitial condensation. Buildings specifically exempted from BER ratings as set out in S.I. No. 666 of 2006 are also exempted from the requirements of Policy CC7.

These requirements are in addition to the statutory requirement to comply fully with Parts A-M of Building Regulations.

At the time of writing Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown hasn’t published the final text of the adopted county development plan, which comes into effect on 16 March.

In the interim, readers can view a webcast of the 17 February meeting where the council voted to adopt the development plan online. Click here for the relevant section of the meeting. The text of the adopted plan will be published online in due course. The amended passive house policy – motion CC7, which was subsequently adopted on 17 February – can be viewed on page 56 of this document.

Thanks for reading

Philip Smith- Lawrence

Fuel poverty needs to be debated – says EUA.

Posted by: jsharpe on March 22, 2017 on  The Installer

The Energy and Utilities Alliance (EUA) has responded to a comment by Dimplex, saying there was no need to bring gas into the electric heating debate.

Dimplex claimed that upgrading incorrectly specified appliances is the key to reducing fuel poverty in electrically heated homes, not connecting properties to the gas grid.

But in its report published in January, the EUA claims connecting homes to the existing gas grid can reduce average energy bills by £922 for homes currently using electricity as their principal means of heating.

Mike Foster, Chief Executive of the EUA, said: 

“I was delighted to see Dimplex’s product marketing director, Chris Stammers, help highlight EUA’s recent report “Fuel Poverty- a connected solution” as this issue needs to be debated. With four million households in fuel poverty, all options to reduce this should be considered.

“I agree with Chris, when he states that a disproportionate number of households in fuel poverty currently use direct electric heating, nearly one in four according to his figures. I also agree with him that those using electric storage heaters are more likely to be in fuel poverty than those using mains gas. With electricity prices rising faster than gas, this will only get worse. And I agree with what Chris says about the unnecessarily high heating bills for those using direct electric heating.

“With this in mind, I would love to read the independent research he mentions so that it can be incorporated into our thinking around fuel poverty solutions.

“I do have one note of discord. Chris criticises EUA for basing data on standard tariff electricity. We did, precisely in a way that addresses his comments about the high costs of direct electric heating, which would use electricity based on the standard tariff. But, and it is a very big but, on page 18 of the report – where we transparently state the unit prices used in our study – we say (and I quote); “The cost of electric heating could be reduced if the homeowner is able to take advantage of an Economy 7 tariff.” I’m not sure what else we could have done to reinforce his points about direct electric costs and the benefits of storage heaters.

“So I’m pleased there is so much agreement. Our report is a contribution to an important debate on fuel poverty and if you haven’t yet read it, you can find it at: – http://www.eua.org.uk/resources/11/

Read the original article here:

Thanks for reading.

Philip Smith-Lawrence

Gill Furniss: Cuts that leave vulnerable out in the cold.

WE are in a cold homes crisis, with more than four million households in fuel poverty across the UK. Across the country in 2014-2015, there were 43,900 excess winter deaths.

According to the World Health Organisation, a minimum of 30 per cent of those deaths resulted from cold homes. In my constituency, there are 7,241 households struggling in fuel poverty.

Life in fuel poverty is miserable. No one should be choosing between heating their home and eating. Children should not be growing up in cold, damp rooms. Old people should not have to stay in bed or live in just one room because they cannot warm their house.

The current statutory target is to lift as many fuel-poor households up to band C energy efficiency standard “as is reasonably practicable” by 2030. This Government’s record on fuel poverty and their performance against that target are abysmal and going nowhere fast.

The charity National Energy Action estimates that we will miss the target by 80 years.

Read more at: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/opinion/gill-furniss-cuts-that-leave-vulnerable-out-in-the-cold-1-8453967

Thanks for reading.

Philip Smith-Lawrence

Smart energy systems to help tackle fuel poverty on Isles of Scilly.

A £10.8 million ($13.3 million) smart energy project is being implemented to tackle fuel poverty and support full energy independence on the Isles of Scilly, UK.

The Smart Energy Islands (SEI) project, part financed by £8.6 million ($10.6 million) from the European Regional Development Fund, will see battery and energy storage company Moixa Technologies develop platforms allowing electric vehicles and smart home batteries to be used to help balance supply and demand within the islands’ energy system.

The project, which was announced this week, will not, however, fund the electric vehicle and charging points themselves, according to a statement from Moixa.

It is hoped that the pilot on the Isles of Scilly will lay the foundations for the wider Smart Islands program globally, which aims to cut electricity bills by 40 percent, meet 40 percent of energy demand through renewables, and see 40 percent of vehicles being electric or low-carbon by 2025.

Read the full article on theinternetofbusiness website here:

Thanks for reading.

Philip Smith-Lawrence

MP Helen Jones calls for action with more than 3,500 homes in Warrington North in fuel poverty.

An article by Adam Everett published in the Warrington Guardian;

 

MORE than 3,500 households in the Warrington North are in fuel poverty, with the cold leading to higher than a dozen deaths in the constituency last year.

Figures released by the National Energy Action charity have revealed that 3,519 homes in the north of town are in fuel poverty.

Of the 43 excess winter deaths reported in Warrington North, 30 per cent were attributed to households being too cold.

Warrington North MP Helen Jones has called for action by the government after a parliamentary debate on the issue last week.

She said: “Fuel poverty affects over four million households in the UK.

“In Warrington North it is alarming that eight per cent of households – that’s over 3,500 – cannot afford to heat their homes.

“This cannot be right in one of the richest economies in the world.

 

Read the full article here on the Warrington Guardian website;

 

Thanks for reading.

Philip Smith-Lawrence

Wirral Council to set up energy supply offer for homes and businesses.

In an article By David Pratt 22 Mar 2017, 12:06 ;

Councillor Phil Davies, leader of Wirral Council, said: “Fuel poverty is a growing issue throughout the UK, with people finding it more and more difficult to properly heat their homes and afford the rising costs of gas and electricity.

“We must do everything in our power to support our residents to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives. This report proposes we create a new energy company, which would – at no cost to the tax payer – put us in a position to sell gas and electricity to residents at a much lower rate.

read the full article here:

Thanks for reading.

Philip Smith-Lawrence

Gov Fuel Poverty debate: 21 March 2017

I beg to move,

That this House has considered fuel poverty.

I am delighted to open the first annual debate on the important issue of fuel poverty. The fact remains that far too many of our fellow citizens and constituents struggle to afford to keep their homes at reasonable, comfortable temperatures. As I will argue, we are making progress, with some 780,000 fewer fuel-poor homes in 2014 than in 2010, but there is a lot more to do to meet the demanding targets we have rightly set ourselves, as a country, for 2030. It is quite right that the Government of the day are regularly held to account for what they are doing, and encouraging others to do, in the face of this stubborn and complex social challenge.

The debate is important because it is an opportunity for Government and Parliament to hear directly from MPs from across the nation about their experience and insights. In our day-to-day work, we, as MPs, come across the consequences of fuel poverty, not least its impact on the wellbeing and health of our constituents.

Before we get into the discussion, I want to set out the context. Over the past five years, Government have taken action to overhaul the framework for tackling fuel poverty in England. At long last, we have a long-term strategic framework for action on fuel poverty, which is rooted in the 2015 fuel poverty strategy and the long-term statutory target. The journey began in 2012 with the independent review of fuel poverty led by Professor Sir John Hills. The review found that fuel poverty is a distinct issue, separate from income poverty.

However, the debate clearly links to other areas of policy, such as the action the Government are taking to improve living standards by means of the national living wage and by increasing tax thresholds for the lowest-paid. Likewise, we could not have made clearer our determination to make sure that the energy market works for all. Ofgem’s introduction of a prepayment meter tariff cap is a welcome first step. As the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for Hereford and South Herefordshire (Jesse Norman), indicated last week, a consumer Green Paper will be out shortly.

Today, I want to focus on the policy framework that is specific to fuel poverty. The journey to this point started with Professor Hills’s review, which reflected on previous activity and measures to tackle fuel poverty. The review highlighted the fact that although the 10% indicator that had, until that point, been used to measure fuel poverty was well-meaning, it was fundamentally flawed. In 2013, the Government confirmed that the findings of the Hills review of fuel poverty would be adopted, including the low income, high costs indicator. That measure finds a household to be living in fuel poverty if its income is below the poverty line and it has higher-than-typical energy costs.

In 2014 the Government introduced the fuel poverty target for England. The target is to ensure that, so far as is reasonably practicable, fuel-poor households are improved to a band C energy efficiency rating by 2030. In 2015 we saw the publication of “Cutting the cost of keeping warm: a fuel poverty strategy for England”, which set out the principles that the Government would apply and the approaches to be taken when making progress towards the fuel poverty target. The strategy set out the importance of effective levels of public accountability and the role that the Committee on Fuel Poverty, a non-departmental public body formerly known as the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, will play in that. I welcome the insight and challenge that the committee brings as we look to tackle the serious and long-term societal issue of fuel poverty.

Recognising that 2030 is some way off, the strategy includes interim milestones to guide activity in the shorter term, helping to focus our attention on making progress as we move forward. The milestones are to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that fuel-poor households are improved to a band E rating by 2020 and to a band D rating by 2025. That is the framework.

The fuel poverty target is certainly ambitious, and I have not heard anyone argue to the contrary. The band C target is set at a level that only 7% of fuel-poor households currently enjoy. We are aiming high, and it is right for us to do so. As the Committee on Climate Change reiterated in its report last week, the target is extremely challenging. However, we must be clear that meeting that challenge may provide huge benefits for households that need support. Improving those E, F or G-rated homes to band D can reduce energy costs by an average of £400. I am pleased to be able to say that although the challenge is significant, progress is being made.

Looking to our 2020 milestone, the percentage of fuel-poor households living in homes rated band E or higher has already improved from 79% in 2010 to 88% in 2014—the latest year for which statistics are available. Looking at the 2025 milestone, we see that the percentage of homes rated band D or higher has improved from 29% in 2010 to 59% in 2014.

See the full debate here on the hansard.parliament.uk website.

Thanks for reading.

Philip Smith-Lawrence