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The Green Deal and Why Insulation Matters

Insulation, energy efficiency and the Green Deal

The need to reduce carbon emissions has moved energy efficiency to the top of the agenda of every government in the world.

President Obama and the Chinese and Indian Governments have all made recent
statements saying that energy efficiency is vital.

Here in the UK the government’s goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, compared to 1990 levels.

Insulation is the Solution

A fast, cost effective, efficient solution to improve energy efficiency in the UK and to tackle the widespread failing in the energy performance of our homes and buildings is to insulate.

Legislation increases the role of insulation

The CRC (Carbon Reduction Commitment) puts a healthy pressure on large private and public organisation to reduce their carbon use and the carbon ‘tax’ – as it is already being called – provides an urgent incentive.

However, despite the huge increase in awareness about the importance of energy efficiency, we are still seeing a general failure to achieve it. The EU has decided that the directive to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2020 is not on target to be achieved and a new EU energy efficiency directive is currently being consulted on

Key Fact: 40% of our energy is used in buildings and 70% of energy used in homes is for heat.

Insulation for Homes

Homes are key target area for insulation and energy efficiency measures and the Government is putting in place support and incentives to help us insulate and improve the energy performance of our homes.

Retrofit Insulation

Twenty-six million existing homes will be targeted by the Green Deal to raise their energy efficiency performance to meet the standards that are currently required for all new build homes. 

To date the focus for retrofit insulation to existing homes has been towards lofts and cavity walls, both are easy to do and achieve a fast result.

Insulation for ‘hard-to-treat’ homes

However, the next tranche of funded insulation will be looking to tackle the homes that are known as ‘hard-to-treat’ because they have solid walls.  That means the insulation will have to be either put on inside or external walls. There are estimated to be 6 million homes in this category in the UK.

Both insulation options present challenges to the householder and installer and there are currently several schemes underway to trial and monitor various different kinds of retrofit insulation for solid walled buildings.

Insulation for homes in the Public Sector

Every Local authority in the UK is responsible for a large housing stock and all have thousands of older properties that do not have adequate insulation. This has led Councils and Housing Associations to research and test the various insulation options to decide on the best route to upgrade their housing stock. The insulation of these homes will be supported and funded by the Green Deal.

Insulation and the CRC

The CRC will drive many large organisations, private and public to look at insulation measures to improve the energy performance of their buildings.

The CRC Energy Efficiency legislation applies to all companies with at least one electricity meter settled on the half-hourly market. Organisations who consumed more than 6,000 megawatt-hours of half hourly metered electricity in 2008 will be required to participate fully in the scheme.

As a result of the Comprehensive Spending Review and 2011 Budget, participants must purchase allowances for each tonne of carbon emissions generated through energy use. The initial cost of CRC allowances will be set at £12/tonne.

The CRC, Local Authorities and Insulation

Local Authorities are responsible for the maintenance of many large buildings, from Town Halls, libraries, swimming pools to schools, each and every one of these buildings will need to be assessed for its energy efficiency and measures taken to reduce energy use.

For many of public buildings, insulation will be the first step taken to reduce carbon use.  Roof insulation can be easily installed and will immediately reduce heat loss in buildings of all shapes and sizes and for all uses.

External wall insulation is another option for many older buildings to deliver energy efficiency.

The CRC, Health Trusts and Insulation

Health Trusts have a huge range of buildings in their care, from hospitals to health clinics, child development centres.

Insulation of existing hospitals and healthcare buildings will radically reduce heat loss and help to reduce the cost implication of the CRC.

The CRC, the Private Sector and Insulation

Large companies may own and maintain hundreds of buildings, whether they are retailers with a chain of shops, top accountancy firms with buildings all over the UK or manufacturers with a many sites across the UK – each and every one of these organisations will be considering their CRC and how to achieve it.

Insulation will help to reduce energy use in existing buildings, providing a quick, cost effective result.

Conclusion

  • Insulation is a fast cost effective way to achieve energy efficient buildings. 
  • Insulation will reduce carbon emissions.
  • Insulation saves money for a building’s owner and inhabitants.
  • Insulation is a key method to improve the quality of our buildings in the UK.