Passivhaus Affiliate

2022 UK Energy Security Strategy

The Passivhaus Trust responds to the UK Government’s Energy Security Strategy published in April 2022.

The latest IPCC report reinforces that we are running out of time to avoid catastrophic climate warming. Within the ‘code red’ report are mitigation solutions highlighting efficiency-first measures as a priority, and the Passivhaus standard is name-checked.

 

For example, using the Passive House standard, an annual heating and cooling energy demand decrease from 75% to 95% compared to conventional values, can be achieved.

IPCC Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change – Chapter 9 Buildings.

 

 

The Trust is disappointed that the UK Energy Security Strategy, published in April 2022, fails to prioritise energy efficiency measures beyond its already-announced move to scrap VAT on some select energy-saving retrofit works. Never has there been such an opportune moment to implement action at scale, particularly a national retrofit strategy.

 

If we are to live within the means of our global system, we need to radically reduce the energy demand of our existing buildings. The industry is beginning to rise to the challenge - but to drive this forward at the scale and speed required, we need clear strategies from Government to set agendas, shape public discourse, and ultimately mandate action.

Sarah Lewis, Education & Policy Director, Passivhaus Trust

 

Whilst we acknowledge that transitioning from fossil fuels to greener energy generation is necessary and that a range of low carbon heating options must be explored, saving energy is far more cost-effective than generating it. Not only can efficiency measures be implemented now - they reap immediate benefits, such as improved comfort & wellbeing, shielding from subsequent energy price hikes, and countless other financial, ecological, and social benefits (as outlined in the Passivhaus Benefits guide).

Passivhaus Benefits Guide

 

Supporting renewables is important, but energy efficiency is the first (and cheapest) renewable, and would help improve energy security by reducing demand whilst also improving occupant health, comfort and well-being. The UK has some of the least energy-efficient homes in Europe, so not including efficiency in this strategy, at a time of rising heating costs and gas supply constraints, seems like a perverse decision that could drive many occupants into fuel poverty.

Jon Bootland, CEO, Passivhaus Trust 

Why Efficiency First

 

Our sentiment is shared with many others in the construction sector and beyond:

 

Whilst the ambition to ramp up renewable energy is welcome, this does nothing to stop heat leaking from every window, wall and roof of the UK’s 29 million homes. A credible strategy must include plans to reduce energy demand as well as expand supply. Perhaps, equally concerning is the Government’s claim in the Energy Security Strategy that they already have an ‘ambitious strategy’ on energy efficiency, when energy efficiency installations have collapsed by 70% over the last nine years.

Simon McWhirter, Director of Communications, Policy & Places, UKGBC

 


  

Firstly, improving the energy efficiency of the UK’s largely inefficient housing stock should be a higher priority. A long-term home energy efficiency programme supported by a new, comprehensive national impartial service providing tailored advice to households, would minimise soaring energy costs, reduce our reliance on a volatile fossil fuel market and cut carbon emissions.

Stew Horne, Head of Policy, Energy Saving Trust

 


 

  

The Energy Security Strategy was a supply-side strategy whereas we are facing an urgent demand-side problem. Accelerating the roll out of retrofit measures like insulation is a short-term solution that could address spiralling bills and significantly improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock, but it is disappointing to see that this has not been covered within the Strategy….The need to accelerate the roll out and investment into insulation extends beyond housing.
With nearly a fifth of all gas being consumed by the non-domestic sector, a lack of any retrofit strategy will result in higher costs for our businesses and public infrastructure – including schools and hospitals.

Gillian Charlesworth, CEO, BRE (Via Property Industry Eye)

 


 

  

The government’s strategy should instead have “energy efficiency and energy saving right at its heart.

Caroline Lucas, Green MP (Via the BBC)

 


 

 

Efforts to halt catastrophic climate change are being held back by "inertia" in the built environment sector. The sector hasn't modernised at all since the second world war, and now, the data shows it's lagging all other sectors. Each gram of greenhouse gas emissions from buildings means a mistake in their design. Architects and urban planners should really look at this report carefully and rethink the way they work.

Yamina Saheb, Co-author of the latest report from the United Nations climate change panel. (Via Dezeen.)

 

Further Information

UK Energy Security Strategy – April 2022

IPCC Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change

PHT Efficiency First

Passivhaus Retrofit

Energy Savings Trust Response – 07 April 2022

UKGBC response – 07 April 2022

UKGBC The Energy Security Strategy - 5 key takeaways on home energy efficiency  - 12 April 2022

Property Industry Eye: Government's new energy strategy comes in for criticism -  08 April 2022

Passivhaus Institute: OutPHit makes retrofit easier – December 2021


13th April 2022


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