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Blog Post 21 July 2021

Could your business use energy data modelling for housing stock?

The climate emergency calls for real action, driven by a need to improve domestic living conditions and decarbonise our home energy. Many organisations already have ambitions of becoming leaders in the pursuit of net zero and championing consumer support in this area, and many local authorities are working with the private sector to support domestic home retrofitting and green job creation. You can make your commitment and download some resources by visiting the UK Business Climate Hub website.

Are the UK public prepared for the net zero transition? An online survey carried out by the UK Government polled just under 7,000 members of the public to find out more about their perceptions of climate change and the UK Government’s 2050 net zero target. It found that 72% of people were willing to change their lifestyle to some extent to help meet net zero. Is your organisation doing what it can to reach net zero and help others reach net zero?

Based on our own research, we found that the UK public believe that the government is most responsible for getting us to net zero, followed by business and industries, and local authorities. If your organisation is showcasing efforts to decarbonise your operations, as well as support consumers in lowering their carbon footprint (though products, advice or other services), you’ll build a strong brand reputation among your audience who need support or want to live more sustainably.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most businesses have already implemented changes in the workplace, whether that’s having employees working from home or developing greener long-term strategies and investments in people. This helped lower the UK’s carbon emissions last year, with large emission reductions from transport and businesses, and has given us a chance to build back greener. However, the UK still risks slipping back to pre-pandemic emission levels and missing our net zero target.

Understanding domestic home carbon emissions

According to the Climate Change Committee, 23% of total UK carbon emissions come from building stock. There are currently around 29 million homes in the UK, with 62% of those below the recommended minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C. In England, an estimated 3.18 million households are classed as fuel poor (13% of all households).

Together, these households offer a large market that would benefit from advice on living more sustainably and energy efficient home upgrades, as well as support with grants such as the Warm Homes discount.

There are wider economic benefits to be gained from supporting improvements to the UK’s housing stock. According to Bankers for NetZero, retrofitting the UK’s building stock with low carbon solutions could reduce national energy costs by £7.5 billion a year, create more than 150,000 jobs over a 10-year period and cut carbon emissions by 20%.

You might already have some data that details the home energy characteristics of your region. This data can be used to target and support vulnerable energy consumers, fuel poor households, or households looking to invest in energy efficient products.

How we use our data for housing stock

It’s essential to use both the data you have and modelling solutions to improve the energy efficiency of homes. This can often be time-consuming, especially since:

  • Open source EPC data doesn’t have complete coverage – in fact, it only covers about 60% of homes in the average local authority area.
  • Costs for energy efficient retrofits, eligibility for grants and accurate estimates of savings and carbon reductions based on different retrofit scenarios will need experienced data analysts and digital modelling tools.

Data modelling for missing energy characteristic data based on a variety of factors, such as location, distance to grid, property age and neighbouring housing is one of the many things that our Home Analytics database can do. The database can vary depending on the underlying data sources and the fields being modelled.

Working in tandem with our Home Analytics data, we also developed a Portfolio Energy Assessment Tool that is able to run, test and model different scenarios to find the most effective way to get fuel bill savings and SAP score increases. This gives our clients the best course of action for fuel poverty and carbon reduction plans, or it can specify the best areas to install particular energy efficiency measures, such as new roof insulation or heating controls.

PEAT

This modelled data has helped shape the strategy of some of our clients, including Wirral Council and Dacorum Borough Council.

Ultimately, given the challenges, having a modelled database is important if you want to have a comprehensive evidence base that uses best practice research, modelling and analysis to:

  • Baseline the current conditions of housing stock.
  • Identify cost-effective upgrades that can be installed in each home.
  • Estimate the impacts of undertaking retrofit work (eg costs, fuel bill savings, SAP score improvement, CO2 emission reductions).
  • Investigate different ways to optimise delivery over time.
  • Identify current and emerging funding sources that can accelerate uptake
  • Translate the regional retrofit strategy into an action plan for local job creation and skills requirements.

If Home Analytics would benefit your business, programme, or the development of a business case for domestic home retrofit, contact us today.

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Last updated: July 21st, 2021