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How can we maximise the benefits of renewable energy for social housing?


New research finds that social landlords need greater certainty to plan investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes.


First inner city co-operatively owned renewable energy project in London shines on – Brixton

solar panels

Repowering South London was established in February 2011 by local residents with the aim to create beneficial ways to use the Feed-in Tariffs to offer solutions to improve their local community’s energy use. In 2010 more than one in ten residents were living in fuel poverty in Brixton. By October 2011 Brixton Energy Solar 1 became the first inner city co-operatively owned renewable energy project. The solar panels started generating power on the 30th March this year at Elmore House, Loughborough Estate.


Home improvements for fuel saving and renewable energy

Energy efficient boiler

Rising fuel costs have focused concerns about energy efficiency for many citizens, leading them to seek ways to save fuel while simultaneously minimising their impact.

For those currently heating their homes with boilers, many people are replacing aging units with a new energy saving boiler to improve the bottom line and reduce carbon emissions. Boilers over 10 years old are likely to function at an efficiency rate of 78% or less. Energy saving boilers recycle much of the waste heat that would otherwise go out of the flue, and are 85-90% efficient. In combination with room or radiator thermostats, as much as 25% can be saved on heating costs. Simple steps such as closing windows and drawing curtains when it is chilly and the boiler is on can further reduce energy waste.

Proper insulation in lofts and walls will also minimise heat loss.  Many homes already have some loft insulation, but increasing this significantly to 270mm thickness can save as much as one third off heating costs. Cavity wall insulation properly installed, is a very cost-effective way to save up to another third of the heating bill, and will keep the interior temperature more even. Grants up to 100 per cent of costs can be available to qualified recipients to install these measures.

Incentives for solar thermal heat and other renewable heat installations are under development. The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme involves a tariff for heat generated by biomass, ground heat pumps and other renewable sources. The tariffs, already available for commercial and industrial users, will be available to householders in 2013.


Top ten Green Deal facts every housing professional should know

Green Deal

The Green Deal provides an opportunity to significantly improve the energy efficiency of tens of millions of UK homes. If the right policy instruments and checks are put in place the finance that is made available by the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill will dramatically reduce drafts and improve the health of our homes.  


HCA issues Feed In Tariff guidance for partners

feed-in tariffs

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has today issued a statement to its Investment Partners to explain how the Feed-in Tariff relates to schemes that have received HCA funding. The statement has been developed in conjunction with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to clarify issues about State Aid rules on ‘double public subsidy’ for Investment Partners.


Ofgem reports surging uptake of Feed-in tariffs

chart showing renewables by region

Figures released by OFGEM at the end of 2010 show a considerable increase in FITs take up over the second quarter of the new scheme introduced in April 2010.


Greg Barker’s Microgeneration Strategy to boost consumer confidence

solar panels

Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker, launched a formal consultation document for the coalition’s Microgeneration Strategy on 22nd December 2010.  The Green Energy (Definition and Promotion) Act 2009 commits Government to promote microgeneration technologies in England only. The basis of this Strategy is to provide savings to consumers when coupled with the Green Deal, smart meters, Renewable Heat Incentive and Feed-in Tariffs. It will also assist in Government’s goals to reduce UK CO2 emissions by sourcing 20% of EU energy from renewables by 2020.


Housing Associations as the new "Green Deal" providers

green building

With the Green Deal being a major driver for carbon emission reductions, there is a feeling that Housing Associations and Local Authorities could become financiers for refurbishments to existing builds. The Housing Associations can oversee the developments which can be undertaken by Local Authorities, Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), energy companies or other providers. The providers will have to take into account the skilled workforce that’s needed and the scale of the refurbishments. With this in mind Housing Associations and Local Authorities could conceivably deliver wide scale improvements to the existing housing stock by using the Green Deal.


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