MikeSharp01

OK so now we know where to blame...

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Posted (edited)

I guess we already knew things were bad and here is a bit more evidence that .GOV.UK are really pretty useless when it comes to making our homes use less energy. Headline says it all:

 

Two-thirds of UK homes 'fail on energy efficiency targets'

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-50573338

 

Depressing or what... particularly where our learned friend from Cambridge tells us what needs to happen to meet our own expectations when you know what / who is in the driving seat - vested interest!

Edited by MikeSharp01
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It still staggers me that houses with a poor EPC don't sell for less, and most buyers don't care.  All that has to change.

 

Even the target to get all houses to an EPC C will not make them carbon neitral.

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Too much demand for housing to care about the EPC?

 

How about Increased stamp duty on badly insulated houses? Would that make people wake up? Make it reclaimable if the house is improved within 3 years? Any money raised used to provide grants for insulation? 

 

If not stamp duty then how about CGT or some other tax on sellers of badly insulated houses? 

 

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Posted (edited)

Nice to see some media catching up and talking about it, but some holes in the report. I would make the following comments:

 

The headline is imo misleading, as the C target is 10 years in the future and only applies to rental. Saying that 2/3 of houses fail as they do not meet a 10 or 15 years ahead future target therefore end of the world is poor. But the BBC Shared Data Unit is not the most comprehensive source of analysis (ie they leave important things out). The original background report is much better.

 

The claim that a C is "just above average" is controversial. In fact only 25% of Owner Occupied properties are C or above. And Social Rented is substantially better, which will throw the claim off more. PRS is slightly better than OO.

 

The Beeboids forgot to mention that of the 62% of houses below EPC Grade C, three quarters are Owner Occupied (three quarters of approx two thirds of the overall housing stock). That is the elephant in the room that needs to be slaughtered, and that imo they should be highlighting. Probably only addressable in year one or two of a Parliament for political reasons. One for this year's budgets, which need to change the agenda.

 

I think there is some UK self-hate / self-flagellation happening. Across many even of the advanced EU countries EPCs (with all their limitations) are not even fully public data (eg Austria, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Finland). Meanwhile, Germany gets more than 1/3 of its energy from coal (UK: 3%).

 

Solutions?

 

I very much agree with Tim Forman's comments, though they look to be rather large cost numbers; I think we need to look initially for a return to pre-Green Deal volumes of retrofits.

 

I don't think they will put it on energy prices, though imo they probably should. Ed Milliband drove up energy prices massively via his green taxes and got a hell of a lot of stick. Personally I would like to see a price ratchet as we had on petrol/diesel. More preferably a single carbon tax on everything.

 

I remain skeptical of "can't afford it" arguments. If a quarter of us can afford £500 to £1500 a year per dog (PDSA numbers), and more of us cars, then we should be able to afford to do at least small things to our houses, and small things make a huge difference, and loft insulation is already free to the user.

 

I've posted about Stamp Duty and Council Tax before, so I'll leave those alone, though imo it needs both as Stamp Duty only comes up when we move. Probably combined with tax relief on improvement costs or similar. The cost needs to be leveraged out of a slightly reduced value forced on the property. 1-2 years of house price increases would cover most of the basic improvement costs.

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand
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It is very dangerous to stick an extra tax on energy unless most other countries do the same: it will affect manufacturing. And obviously it would be a terrible idea to try and tax only residential energy. 

 

I wish it was a "simple" matter of spending 20K per house to bring them into the 21st century but it is not. EWI is not always suitable, floor insulation is very intrusive and making the roof warm is likely impossible. I am afraid only a mass rebuild program might help but the costs are prohibitive and I cannot see where the country could hire all those builders who'd suddenly start paying attention to quality. Can poor workmanship be designed out? I don't know but I doubt it. 

 

@ProDave, I agree with @Temp, the main reason for the lack of attention to quality is quantity. My wife asked several times whether we could just move to get more space, every time I had to reply "no way unfortunately" as we'd just get a larger cold house which needs even more money to heat. 

 

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Posted (edited)

you could have it added to rates if poor epc,

 but at sme time planning needs to be bit more friendly on old buildings in ways they allow them to  rebuild  and replace old with new 

 EG -- man here wanted to replace an old stone farm house  with an earth shelterd almost invisible building

 NO -out of character for area was what palnning  ruled --my guess as they  are local councillors  they were  just jealous and want to keep the incomers out

 the basic presumption is they want you replace like with like  

 

Edited by scottishjohn

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2 hours ago, Ferdinand said:

I've posted about Stamp Duty and Council Tax before,

Yes - so EPC A houses get a 20% reduction in council tax, and there is no stamp duty on sales, then down in 10% increments so EPC C gets 0% reduction while homes below C start paying more council tax and the stamp duty rises steeply. That would be an incentive although it might need finessing and we would probably need a very much more transparent EPC assessment system.

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45 minutes ago, oldkettle said:

Can poor workmanship be designed out? I don't know but I doubt it. 

If we move away from standard brick and block construction towards panelised houses built in factories it would be easier to remove poor workmanship.

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

If we move away from standard brick and block construction towards panelised houses built in factories it would be easier to remove poor workmanship.

It seems common sense that with modern computer design and manufacturing  that it should be easy to do with  SIPS 

 or like in germany where they make woodcrete panels (velox)

--whole house sides with window holes everything ,crane on to site  then just fill with concrete 

 

Edited by scottishjohn
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14 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

It seems common sense that with modern computer design and manufacturing  that it should be easy to do with  SIPS 

 or like in germany where they make woodcrete panels (velox)

--whole house sides with window holes everything ,crane on to site  then just fill with concrete 

 

 

Or any other panellised build system.  The panels for our house were manufactured in a factory in Tipperary and delivered on a truck.  Four and half days later we had a weatherproof house.  The big office and lab that was built as a part of my last job had wall panels that were manufactured from a concrete and foam sandwich, with fibre reinforcement. and just craned into place.

 

I believe that one reason for the reluctance to accept this type of build system may be that there is a market preference for houses made from bricks. 

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Pursuing the German theme John, it would be brilliant if the German Apprenticeship System were adopted here.   In the UK,  lack of Parity of Esteem between professions and the trades means that pride in excellent workmanship - universal in Germany - is rare here.

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It is great that this has been raised again in the media, but the big stick approaches espoused here don't work. One thing that we should keep in mind is the impact such measures would have on the poorer sections of society. It would be better to encourage (carrot approach) people to make changes by applying 0% VAT to energy saving measures such as retro-fitting of insulation, or reducing council tax for the year following an energy saving measure taking place (there could be different reductions for different measures).

 

FYI - I have tried everything I can to better insulate my current 1980's house, but have reached the limit and doubt it would get to EPC level D!! Short of demolishing and rebuilding it that is.

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1 minute ago, AnonymousBosch said:

Pursuing the German theme John, it would be brilliant if the German Apprenticeship System were adopted here.   In the UK,  lack of Parity of Esteem between professions and the trades means that pride in excellent workmanship - universal in Germany - is rare here.

I have met some of those Germain (or were they Austrian) Joiners in their "uniforms"  We have nothing like that here whatsoever.

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Posted (edited)
36 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

If we move away from standard brick and block construction towards panelised houses built in factories it would be easier to remove poor workmanship.

 

The thing there is that newbuild is basically irrelevant to reducing emissions. *

 

Already newbuilds are a B on the EPC scale (give or take). And newbuilds only add at present - after output has almost doubled from the lowpoint - around 0.6% to the stock. As the BBC piece put it (or the background work) 90% of houses were built before 1990.

 

A newbuild - even a bog standard building regs newbuild - uses roughly half as much energy as an average legacy house. And 85-90% of them are legacy houses, which are therefore responsible for perhaps 95% if emissions.

 

Legacy houses are responsible for virtually the whole housing elements of emissions.

 

And even if my assumptions are some way out, that is still the landscape with which we are working.

 

* I am ignoring workmanship and attention to detail factors.

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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7 minutes ago, Ferdinand said:

I am ignoring workmanship and attention to detail factors.

The problem is, the workmanship is poor, so that in reality the B rating for newbuilds is not really of that standard, and it is the poor workmanship that needs to be addressed.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, BotusBuild said:

It is great that this has been raised again in the media, but the big stick approaches espoused here don't work. One thing that we should keep in mind is the impact such measures would have on the poorer sections of society. It would be better to encourage (carrot approach) people to make changes by applying 0% VAT to energy saving measures such as retro-fitting of insulation, or reducing council tax for the year following an energy saving measure taking place (there could be different reductions for different measures).

 

FYI - I have tried everything I can to better insulate my current 1980's house, but have reached the limit and doubt it would get to EPC level D!! Short of demolishing and rebuilding it that is.

 

I don't think carrots always work either. Free loft insulation has been continually available and has not been taken up widely.

 

I think it needs elements of both - perhaps a neutral stick that gets equivalent carrots post-facto when implement, but that causes a cost if not done.

 

Sticks worked on car fuel consumption. Witness how when VED was based on CO2 emissions, within about 15 years half of the new cars were paying £30 or less. Or that overall efficiency is far better than it was in 2000, despite the quarter ton (?) of safety equipment we are all forced to carry around now.

Edited by Ferdinand

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, PeterStarck said:

The problem is, the workmanship is poor, so that in reality the B rating for newbuilds is not really of that standard, and it is the poor workmanship that needs to be addressed.

 

Agree in some things - however, I have no mass data on that and its impact. However, even if you assume they are all actually Ds as well, then the huge bulk of the issue is still legacy stock, just on sheer numbers of houses (90%).

 

This is rather different in other European countries, either because more of the old stock was destroyed in WW2, or because the culture is more frequent replacement.

Edited by Ferdinand

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1 minute ago, Ferdinand said:

Sticks worked on car fuel consumption. Witness how when VED was based on CO2 emissions, within about 15 years half of the new cars were paying £30 or less. Or that overall efficiency is far better than it was in 2000, despite the quarter ton (?) of safety equipment we are all forced to carry around now.

again that is assuming the majority can afford to buy new cars -which is not so --so older cars make up most of the pollution  and it is probably new car owners that are doing most mileage anyway 

 Me i run an 09 -but its only done 50 k-so economical way to run is just run it longer to offset the high capitol cost of new car

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Posted (edited)
5 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

again that is assuming the majority can afford to buy new cars -which is not so --so older cars make up most of the pollution  and it is probably new car owners that are doing most mileage anyway 

 Me i run an 09 -but its only done 50 k-so economical way to run is just run it longer to offset the high capitol cost of new car

 

Yes, however cars have a far shorter replacement cycle.

 

83% of cars are less than 13 years old. (Daily Telegraph), and therefore benefit from improvements far more quickly.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/12/average-age-car-uk-roads-highest-level-since-turn-millennium/ 

 

Only about 15% of houses are post 1990.

Edited by Ferdinand

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29 minutes ago, ProDave said:

I have met some of those Germain (or were they Austrian) Joiners in their "uniforms"  We have nothing like that here whatsoever.

Part of their pride in excellence. (And an excuse to charge eye-watering fees) 

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Aiming to reduce energy use to half of what old houses use,  is missing the point and will not get us to carbon neutral.  Not unless ALL houses fit a significant amount of renewables.

 

Even our new house is not carbon neutral.  The solar PV generates a little more each year than the house needs to heat it.  BUT we use more electricity running "stuff" (washing machine, TD, dishwasher, FF, tv's etc etc) than we do on heating.  So to get to being truly carbon neutral, our house would need to double it's renewables generation to power all the "stuff" 

 

And that's where it gets difficult.  Most of the extra generation would be needed in the winter, when it's hard to do with say PV.  And if we had enough self generation in the winter we would have a massive surplus in the summer, but the FIT scheme has been scrapped, so that is hardly likely to persuade people to invest in renewables is it?  Why scrap the FIT just at the time more renewables are needed?  Clear LACK of joined up thinking,

 

My guess is the figures will be fudged.  Our house would be classed as carbon neutral because we generate more electricity than it uses to heat the house, so it would "meet the target"  They would just quietly ignore all the "stuff" that is really making the house, as a whole package, carbon negative, because doing so we will never meet the target of carbon neutral housing.

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Re, apprenticeship fir builders I remember the “huff house” programme on TV where the German team even did a spring clean on their van before leaving site . I agree that a lot of builders are poor at detail (mine was the exception, plus I was the project manager). I think building sites should go back to the “clerk of works “ who is responsible for quality of work and every house, not a few on larger sites should be inspected and tested. Like @scottishjohn I run an 08 plate with 156k on the clock and regular 50mpg.

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8 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Aiming to reduce energy use to half of what old houses use,  is missing the point and will not get us to carbon neutral.  Not unless ALL houses fit a significant amount of renewables.

 

Even our new house is not carbon neutral.  The solar PV generates a little more each year than the house needs to heat it.  BUT we use more electricity running "stuff" (washing machine, TD, dishwasher, FF, tv's etc etc) than we do on heating.  So to get to being truly carbon neutral, our house would need to double it's renewables generation to power all the "stuff" 

 

And that's where it gets difficult.  Most of the extra generation would be needed in the winter, when it's hard to do with say PV.  And if we had enough self generation in the winter we would have a massive surplus in the summer, but the FIT scheme has been scrapped, so that is hardly likely to persuade people to invest in renewables is it?  Why scrap the FIT just at the time more renewables are needed?  Clear LACK of joined up thinking,

 

My guess is the figures will be fudged.  Our house would be classed as carbon neutral because we generate more electricity than it uses to heat the house, so it would "meet the target"  They would just quietly ignore all the "stuff" that is really making the house, as a whole package, carbon negative, because doing so we will never meet the target of carbon neutral housing.

and if we all do that then the grid will not be fit to take the energy we will want to send back in summer --

so the DNO need to upgrade the networks to take it-

 

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8 minutes ago, scottishjohn said:

and if we all do that then the grid will not be fit to take the energy we will want to send back in summer --

so the DNO need to upgrade the networks to take it-

 

 

 

Hard to see how that could be the case, TBH.  The local distribution network is sized to be able to deliver much more power to homes than can be generated by any allowable PV system.  The normal limit, beyond which DNO consent is required, is 16 A of microgeneration per phase.  That's only about 3 A more than a single immersion heater as a load.  The network is sized to allow each house to be able to take several times that amount of current.  We generate more than the house uses each year with a system that can deliver a peak output of about 27 A to the local distribution network.  That peak could easily be reduced by an export power limiter, which would still allow us to use as much of our generated electricity as possible, but would remove any grid related issues.

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1 hour ago, AnonymousBosch said:

Part of their pride in excellence. (And an excuse to charge eye-watering fees) 

We still have the CiTB and its levy, it was one of the few that survived the past 20 years, although I got the impression that is was cheaper to pay the levy, do little training and employ a European workforce than it was to actually develop the next generation. Now we have a full blown levy across all of business - however I notice that much of this new levy is being spent on graduate apprenticeships which is, sadly, yet another example of the snobby way craft skills are seen. We still only have about 50% of the population studying above level 3 (A Level / BTEC / ....) so we need to encourage people in the other 50% or adjust the outcomes to offer degrees in roofing etc - maybe making everyone a graduate will sort the divide - mad though the idea is.

 

 

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