A report on energy efficiency trends, published in January, showed that despite an uncertain policy landscape in the UK, of the companies surveyed, 80% of consumers commissioned new energy efficiency projects in Q3 of 2015. The report, published by EEVS Insight and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, showed that high efficiency lighting and boiler controls outperformed other energy saving technologies. The main areas of investment centred on both small scale projects of up to £50,000 in value and also large projects of above £500,000.
A particular increase in the take-up of low-cost behaviour change initiatives was seen. These would be actions such as the turning down of thermostats, switching off equipment when not in use, energy efficient light bulbs, and preventing compressed air leaks. Different levers were used to encourage behavioural change such as emphasising financial and environmental savings, giving rewards or incentives, and identifying and removing people’s barriers to change. As lowhanging fruit, behavioural changes are usually the first step before investing in larger energy efficiency projects.
EEVS carried out research in conjunction with Global Action Plan which showed that behaviour change consistently delivered tangible savings—even short, minimal cost interventions. Financial savings ranged from 2% to 20% of annual energy spend. Of the 35 companies that responded to the survey, 46% had multiple programs in place, 34% had at least one program and just 20% did not have any of these projects in operation. The reasons given for no take-up ranged from the focus being given to other engagement programmes, such as waste, water, or transport, while a small percentage were unconvinced by the benefits.
The report’s market monitor, which tracks confidence within the energy efficiency industry, saw a decline in confidence during 2015, due in large part to the government’s management of policy and regulation. However, Q4 is expected to see an upturn. The full report can be found here.
Policy changes that took place in 2015 have created uncertainty in the energy efficiency market. The Green Deal, the loan scheme for energy efficiency projects, was scrapped last July because it had failed to deliver its objectives. As yet, it is unclear what will replace it. Other energy efficiency incentives for business such as the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme are currently under consultation and an announcement on the future of a range of reporting schemes and a possible change to carbon taxes is expected in the March budget.
Meanwhile, the introduction of P272 legislation means that more customers will be able to receive granular consumption data with which they can monitor consumption profiles and the results of any energy efficiency measures. The legislation requires that every customer with a profile class meter 05 to 08 will be settled as a half hourly meter within 45 days of the start of a new contract and applies to customers that have a contract renewal from November 2015 onwards. This will be an important initiative for encouraging the take-up of energy efficiency measures.
Written By – Nikki Wilson