Energylinx UK Energy Industry News Service
July 12, 2012
Loft Insulation: Statistics Questioned
Critics have called into question the legitimacy of DECC figures which indicate that the government will reach its goal of insulating 99% of lofts in UK homes by 2013.
Asserting that the Department for Climate & Energy Change (DECC) was basing their impressive projections from outdated stock data from as early as 2004, the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) has accused DECC of producing misleading reports.
"Mr Barker, Minister for Energy and Climate Change's comments that the Government is 'on the verge of declaring victory in filling treatable lofts'...and that it now anticipates that at the end of the year, 'only 1% of treatable lofts in the UK will remain to be filled...' are very deceptive," explained an ACE representative. "According to the latest figures released last month by the Minister's own department, only 62% of homes have received sufficient loft insulation."
Indeed, DECC's most recently published report regarding home insulation in the UK – dated April 2012 – indicated that, while there were 23.4 million homes with lofts that stand to be insulated, only 14.5 million of those homes have installed said insulation; therefore, it is not outlandish on the part of ACE to doubt the government's boastful assumptions that the remaining 8.9 million lofts will be insulated by year's end.
"In the industry's view ‚Ä¶ by the end of this year, the figure might fall to between 6.8 and 7.5 million, meaning that 30-32% of treatable lofts will still remain to be filled," ACE said. "Whichever way you look at it, there can be no justification for asserting that in 2013 '1% of treatable lofts in the UK will remain to be filled'."
Meanwhile, from the customer's perspective, an uninsulated loft can spell a financial loss of up to £175* per year – meaning, if ACE's figures are correct, that homeowners nationwide may be throwing away almost £1.3 billion annually. Fortunately, the majority of these households could be eligible to receive free or heavily subsidised loft insulation, and Energylinx will soon launch a nationwide service that will allow homeowners to locate said offers.
The arrival of this apparent gap of misinformation is quite unfortunate, as DECC is widely-regarded as a very trustable source of well-researched, in-depth official studies and statistics. Whether or not recent statements by the Minister for Energy and Climate Change are true, the trustworthiness and transparency of said department now stand to be called into question.
DECC representatives maintain that the body stands firmly committed to being an open and transparent government department, and that "transparency is a key operating principle for the department and will be championed at Board level by the Chief Operating Officer."
Furthermore, DECC upholds a series of energy-related goals and directives that stand to benefit the nation drastically should they be realised; however, the latter may never be achieved should the reliability of the department that champions it be called into question. There is little shame in being forced to admit that the nation's energy-saving goals may not be fully achieved by the target dates; however, there is indeed shame in any action by a government institution that serves to perpetuate the already appalling lack of transparency with regards to the ways in which customers are allowed to interact with their energy industry.
* Figures from the Energy Saving Trust. For loft insulation these are estimates based on insulating a gas-heated, semi-detached home with three bedrooms, showing savings when you insulate an uninsulated loft, and when you top up 100mm of insulation to 270mm. (The recommended depth for mineral wool insulation is 270mm but other materials need different depths.) For cavity wall insulation these are estimated figures based on insulating a gas-heated, semi-detached home with three bedrooms. The installed cost includes a subsidy of around £250 available from the major energy suppliers under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)
Posted by energylinx at July 12, 2012 3:35 PM Technorati: Energy Prices