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Blog Post 11 January 2021 Updated 23 September 2021

Make the most out of your open source home energy data

How well do you know about the home energy characteristic data for your region?

A surprising amount of data on UK homes is freely available, courtesy of Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), who have released all their Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), Display Energy Certificates (DECs) and Air Conditioning Inspection Reports (ACIRs) for free.
Available here

This data is useful for a wide range of stakeholders, including:

  • householders checking the data for their properties
  • local authorities looking to create an effective climate emergency strategy
  • researchers trying to understand domestic energy use
  • businesses looking to create new products and services
  • policymakers making real data-driven decisions

Supporting your data

Despite the wealth of knowledge this data will provide, it can be difficult to navigate for the inexperienced. The open source EPC data doesn’t have complete coverage – in fact, it only covers about 60% of homes in the average local authority area.

If your local authority or organisation has its own experienced data analyst to manage what’s downloaded, you can get a really good picture of housing stock in your region or local area. This can be a great place to start if you’re looking to target energy efficiency measures, fuel poverty, carbon reduction measures or energy efficient products. It can also be useful in local area developments.

Sometimes it’s worth spending a bit more time analysing the data and calling in the experts to extract its true value, especially when you’re looking to futureproof the SAP score of homes for net zero.

Filling in the gaps

We’ve worked with local authorities in England and Scotland who have found the open source data difficult to analyse and use effectively without the right experience. Here at Energy Saving Trust, we’ve spent many years handling domestic housing data and have finely tuned a method to extract and present EPC data in an easy-to-use format, as well as fill in missing gaps in the data using our Home Analytics.

Learn more about Home Analytics

Energy modelling

The next step is using the data you have. Modelling an effective strategy to improve EPC ratings of housing stock can be a daunting and time-consuming task, especially with catch-all measures, energy efficient retrofits and estimates of savings and carbon reductions.

Working in tandem with our Home Analytics data, we’ve 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 you the best course of action for your fuel poverty and carbon reduction plans, or it can give you the best areas to install particular energy efficiency measures such as new roof insulation or heating controls.

Benefits of the tool include:

  • translates Home Analytics data into SAP inputs
  • recommends a package of retrofit measures for each home and models different retrofit scenarios based on target SAP scores and funding budgets
  • reports costs, savings, carbon dioxide reductions and estimated SAP improvement for each property

Once you’ve made sense of the data, filled in the gaps as best you can, and attempted to model the best course of action, you should have the data and insights to improve the SAP scores and welfare of residents in your chosen area.

All of this based on the free, open source data (with additions and expertise you can add along the way with energy surveyors, historic data and third parties such as Energy Saving Trust). If you are part of a local authority and want support locating homes, filling in gaps in your home data, modelling different energy measures or evaluation the effectiveness of your energy-related schemes, contact us.

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Last updated: 23 September 2021