Renewable Heat Incentive
Earlier this month it was announced that the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) was £860m set aside for technologies such as biomass boilers, ground –source heat pumps, thermal solar panels, and bio-methane projects, which use organisms to break down organic waste to produce the gas.
From July this year, non-domestic buildings will earn a tariff for heat created from these sources, which will come in for homes a year later.
These have been around since April 2010 and subsidise every kilowatt of power produced by clean electricity sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. A pot of £360m is available and, as with the RHI, the intention is to reduce the amount of subsidy as the technology catches on and economies of scale are achieved. Up to now the intake has exceeded all expectations, and companies such as Beco, now owned by Kier, have planned dozens of large solar arrays on schools, offices and social housing projects.
This is the biggest and the most complex of all the government's sustainability objectives. The goal is to make all domestic and commercial new builds zero carbon by 2016 and 2019 respectively, and Part L in the building Regs is the main mechanism to achieve that target. But the wide spread opinion across industry is that these targets are unachievable in the timeframe.
The recent budget announced that emissions from appliances in the home are no longer part of zero carbon will help relieve some of the pain for householders. But this was going to be done using more efficient offsite sources of energy rather than expensive onsite renewable so won't save that much money.
All in all there is hardly an air of encouragement surrounding zero carbon at the moment.
CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme
Formally known as the Carbon Reduction Commitment, this incentive, which is mandatory cap and trade scheme applying to large non- energy intensive organisations in the public and private sectors, has seen its carrot rating decrease hugely in the recession.
The green deal is a finance package that would allow homeowners and business to improve the energy efficiency of their homes at no upfront cost and then repay the loan through savings on their energy bills. If it works the Green Deal could create an ocean of work for firms – and up to 250,000 jobs, according to the government – as all 26 million homes and non – domestic properties are upgraded from autumn 2012
Requirements have now become a post code lottery, subject to the whims of the local planning department. In theory this could get worse with localism although there are proposals to bundle the raft of local requirements into defined packages. The idea is that councils could choose from this menu, which would tick the localism box while ensuring consistency across the UK.
Display Energy Certificates and Energy Performance Certificates
Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) work out how homes can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and be more energy efficient. The higher the rating, the more efficient the building. The newer Display Energy Certificates (DEC), currently used in all public buildings over 1,000m², are based on the actual energy usage of a building and increase transparency about the energy efficiency of public buildings. The incentives behind these initiatives is that they add value to a building, making it more popular with the client, landlord and occupiers.
DECs are considered by many industry professional to be a more effective tool to show the performance of a building as the ratings are given based on energy bills from the building which accurately show how it has performed.
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