AssocRICS Qualification

We promise a Day of Inspiration!  Come and listen to Graham Ellis of RICS who will explain why there will be a need for surveyors and valuers in the future and how the AssocRICS qualification will be an established route of entry.  With all the changes afoot, it is looking like there will be a need for a new breed of practitioners to gather data. IDEA members will be able to consider these important fresh options to keep up with the ever changing landscape of energy efficiency.

For more information, please click here:

Elmhurst Energy Launches New Manifesto

Elmhurst Energy has launched a new manifesto, which you can read here:

Elmhurst Energy, the leading energy performance measurement specialist, has launched its new manifesto, highlighting the six steps it believes are needed to work towards an energy efficient society.
“We need to create a more energy efficient society to reduce carbon emissions which impact upon climate change, reduce our reliance on unsustainable fossil fuels and to lift the poorest in our society out of fuel poverty,” explains Martyn Reed, Managing Director of Elmhurst Energy.

“Undertaking energy efficiency measures can provide a great return on investment and save families and business money, whilst also reducing carbon emissions for the country as a whole.”

Elmhurst Energy’s approach includes six simple steps. To help create an energy efficient society we need to:

  1. Create a clear government strategy that reduces carbon emissions by reducing demand as well as decarbonising energy generation.
  2. Ensure an appropriate focus on energy efficiency initiatives that benefit the fuel poor, those families on low incomes and live in the least efficient homes.
  3. Reduce the validity period for Energy Performance Certificates to three years so the information is meaningful and up-to-date.
  4. Have Energy Performance Certificates at the core of all future energy initiatives to allow successes to be measured and compared.
  5. Extend the role of Energy Assessors to include best practice advice to families on how to reduce fuel bills and make their homes warmer.
  6. Maintain a long-term energy efficiency strategy to allow stability to plan and invest.

These six simple points will be the basis for their lobbying of government and other industry stakeholders over the coming months. It is generally accepted that as a society we need to reduce energy consumption, to take families out of fuel poverty and to reduce carbon emissions. All of these aims will be delivered if we make best use of Energy Performance Certificates and the army of professional energy assessors that produce them. Without a reliable measuring tool progress will only ever be a guess that can be distorted to win a political debate.

“Supporting these steps will provide a route to achieving change and a more energy efficient society,” explains Martyn. “We must not allow energy issues to be ignored in what is a time of change in the United Kingdom. We will continue to work towards a better future where people are removed from fuel poverty.”

For more details on Elmhurst Energy visit

Alternatively, you can view the full PDF version by clicking here: Elmhurst Energy New Manifesto.

Spreading The Word


In recent weeks, we have been striving to improve our social media in order to reach out to our members and connect with assessors who may have an interest in joining IDEA. You may have noticed already that our social media accounts are now much more active and we’ll be posting plenty more in the future such as blog updates, potential offers and general news about all the goings-on within IDEA.

We have made a number of changes, including:

twitter-logo-small• Re-activating our Twitter account, which now has +2,000 followers (@whatstheidea) 

facebook-logo-small• Launching a new page on Facebook. We’d encourage members and assessors to join as we are no longer posting on the old page (

linkedin-logo-small• Launching a LinkedIn page for IDEA, already gaining +200 connections (

web-logo-small• Revamping and streamlining our website in order to make it much easier to find the information you need (

All of these mediums will be updated much more regularly in order to keep you up-to-date with everything to do with the world of energy assessment. You can also play your part by liking and sharing all of our pages if possible!

Spread the word!spread-the-word

ECO: Help to Heat Consultation

On Friday 22nd July 2016, with Martyn Reed of Elmhurst Energy, I attended the ECO: Help to Heat Workshop in London.  The purpose of this consultation event was to seek stakeholder views on the Energy Companies Obligation (ECO).  ECO is due to finish at the end of March 2017 and the 2015 Spending Review set out plans to have a supplier obligation in place until 2022, with a focus on fuel poverty.

The consultation has three main purposes to:

  • Provide interested parties with visibility of the high level vision for supplier obligations to 2022.
  • Set out specific proposals for a first set of reforms, to be delivered from 2017
  • Seek views on both the proposed changes for this first year transition and the high level design for the longer term (2018-22).

The consultation document was issued on the 29 June 2016 with responses by 17 August 2016.  To read the full consultation click here:

IDEA members are invited to respond individually, or to send their comments to me on

Energy Assessor Key Elements

The presentation very much reflected the structure of the consultation document itself, the key elements for energy assessors being:

  • This consultation is strictly only about the transition year and a consultancy for the term beyond will be issued at a later date. A concern might be that anything tested in the short term may “drift” into the full programme.
  • The amount of funding will reduce from £870 million to £640 million per year.
  • April 2017 to March 2018 is a transition year before full scheme comes in for the 4 years between April 2018 until March 2022.
  • There will be no need to do an EPC or an RdSAP calculation, apart from to support district heating claims.
  • It will introduce deemed scores which allocate a nominal carbon saving based upon the type of dwelling (end of terrace etc.), the number of bedrooms and the fuel type.
  • Scotland have the right to go their own way from April 2017 but it is excepted that they will align themselves with England and Wales.
  • In March 2017 CSCO (and CSCO Rural) will be scrapped, leaving just Affordable Warmth (AWG) and CERO.
  • In April 2018 CERO will go leaving just AWG.
  • Facilities are being put in place to allow social landlords, councils and charities better access to funding.
  • The amount of funding to be spent on boiler replacement will be capped.
  • There will be minimum levels of funding allocated to solid wall insulation.

Full Presentation

The new Department of Business Energy Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced appointments to BEIS as follows:

  • Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – R Hon Greg Clark MP
  • Minister of State – Jo Johnson MP (jointly with the Department for Education)
  • Minister of State – Nick Hurd MP
  • Minister of State – Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Margot James MP
  • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Jesse Norman MP


There will be a transition year in advance of the long-term 2018-2022 scheme.  This will enable a focus on fuel poverty, simplification process and to provide industry the time to adapt to changes in scheme rules whilst allowing time to develop policy in the longer term and to improve data sharing required to target high-cost properties with occupants on low incomes.

The changes to the scheme structure will move away from the current ECO complex administration (RDSAP) of CERO, CSCO & AWG with benefits-based targeting.  Current eligibility is too complex and incudes 3 million households of which only 29% are fuel poor.  The scheme excludes social housing and those not on the benefits system.

For the 2017-18 transition year, a move to simpler administration (deemed scores) offering AWG & CERO with low income targeting.  Objectives are to increase fuel poverty targeting for accuracy and to balance accuracy with a simple delivery.

Post 2018 will introduce the Fuel Poverty Obligation with simpler administration (deemed scores) with low income and high cost targeting.

Eligibility proposals

Eligibility proposals include means tested benefits, social housing and flexible eligibility.  For social housing, the worst properties will be eligible with an EPC rating of E, F or G (SocialEFG).  Flexible eligibility refers to LA declarations with referrals being confirmed by letters.  Referrals are optional and will not be mandated.  There will be 2 main categories – fuel poor not in receipt of benefits, and low income & vulnerable households.  Potentially this will enable a street-by-street delivery and focus on fuel poor who are harder to reach.

New CO-led legislation is proposed to make data sharing across government departments easy. The DWP, CO, industry and VOA plan to utilise new powers for better targeting from 218 onwards.

Eligible Measures

The current set of ECO measures will remain.  SWI will be retained, a figure equivalent to 17,000 p.a. with a minimum applying both CERO and AWG.  Party wall insulation will become a full primary measure that can support secondary measures.  The Use Factor will be reduced from 35% to 15%.  For social housing in AWG, insulation, renewable heating, district heating and first time central heating are proposed.

There will be a limited delivery of qualifying gas boilers to ensure a greater long term impact on fuel poverty, focusing on insulation for 1 million homes during this parliament.  Other heating measures will remain eligible:

  • First time central heating
  • Qualifying non-gas boilers
  • Non-qualifying gas boilers
  • Renewable heating
  • Storage heaters
  • District heating
  • Heating controls

New Scheme Rules Date of Effect

It is proposed that the new scheme rules will take effect from 1st April 2017.  This includes changes to administration and changes to eligibility criteria.  Measures installed prior to this date will be installed according to the current scheme rules but may count against future targets.

Early delivery against the AWG minimum will be allowed – measures installed from 1st July 2016 may be claimed against this minimum.  This gives suppliers more time to meet the target whilst providing flexibility to deliver their obligation in a more cost effective manner.


Deemed scores are proposed for most measures in order to simplify property assessments and reduce the volume of data that must be collected prior to installation.  Also proposed is the removal for the need of a GDAR or Chartered Surveyors Reports for measures relating to CERO in order to reduce surveying costs.

Current rules will be relaxed around the extension of notification of a measure including allowing a proportion of automatic extensions to prevent measures being lost for administration purposes.

Further administrative proposals include a system of trading obligations to allow suppliers to deliver their obligation more efficiently.  PAS will be updated and further incentives are under consideration for high cost areas.  Regarding the brokerage platform, views are also being sought.

Simplification Overview

  • Reducing the number of obligations by ending CSCO
  • Removing the rural sub-obligation
  • Simplifying eligibility criteria for certain qualifying benefits
  • Providing simpler routes to evidencing AWG through flexible eligibility and social housing options
  • Introducing deemed scores to reduce the volume of evidence that must be collected
  • Relaxing the rules around the monthly reporting of measures
  • Allowing trading of obligations to enable suppliers to better manage their obligations, particularly across multiple licenses
  • Introducing new scheme rues (except AWG minimum) from a common date

Ofgem policy timelines

Ofgem will publish the response to BEIS’s consultation on the 17th August, 2016.  In January 2017, Ofgem will undertake a 6-week consultation on administration changes with an aim to publish the final guidance and consultation response in April 2017.

Changes to Obligations

There will be no further CSCO installations after 31st March 2017.  There will be an initial determination to suppliers on the 30th September 2016 with the ability to transfer/re-elect out of CSCO prior to final determination in 2018.  Ability to transfer/re-elect into CSCO would mitigate the potential risk of rejections post 2017.

Changes to CERO/HHCRO will take effect from 1st April 2017.  CERO measures and AWG minimum measures can be installed now under the current rules and would count towards the overall targets.

There will be no changes to CERO from an administrative perspective but deemed scores may be introduced and the recommendation requirement removed.  The measures table will be updated to reflect deemed scores and changes to PWI (IUF and ability to support secondary measures).

It is anticipated that eligibility changes will be able to be matched through DWP as at present.  There will be a clarification of compliance requirements and which measures count towards AWG minimum, SocialEFG and LA flexibility.  LA declarations will be accepted as evidence of eligibility.

Areas for Consultation

Consultation 1 will include the automatic extensions process, the definition of a new building in relation to when it was erected, the process for transfer of obligations and deemed scores.

Consultation 2 is about how to evidence SocialEFG, first time central heating, 100% of a measure for central heating, and not to let at above market rate.


Phyllis Prior Boardman BEM BSc (Hons) CIHCM

Chief Executive


DECC Gone In Name Only

Those who wish to remain negative about the change (and many were sceptics of DECC in any case) are concerned with the seemingly playing down of the climate change agenda and the loss of a Whitehall department which had responsibility for climate and energy efficiency.

DECC’s merger with the business department into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) may sound radical, but I strongly feel that energy policies will function much better in practice.

Gone, but not forgotten, DECC has made some remarkable achievements.

Looking at the history of DECC, it was established in 2008 by the Labour government and was renowned for leading on climate change and being instrumental in setting the EU’s 2030 targets.  The following Coalition government reported that emissions had reduced by 40% from 1990 levels, and the UK was very proud of this.  However, these successes have now changed DECC’s purpose significantly.  Having DECC’s building blocks in place, government can now interweave its climate change agenda with that of business and industrial strategy.  In other words, BEIS will be better able to turn policy into practice into action, which DECC was not tasked to do.  Giving greater priority to business is certainly a very important part of carbon reduction and combines the low carbon agenda with heat and transport.  To follow our successes, there needs to be a whole new policy framework in place, with joined up thinking to develop a strong low carbon mind-set across mainstream business and industry.

This is why I think the merger will reap many benefits.

The former business department’s main aim was to support the aerospace, automotive and construction industries.  The merger will now align low carbon energy priorities to ensure much needed advancement on electric vehicles, zero carbon homes and greener aviation fuels.   We should also see progress on carbon reductions in heavy industry and other big energy users, whilst building on the joint efforts of DECC and BIS who created the low carbon roadmaps for steel and cement.   An anticipated ‘Industrial Strategy’ will address the UK’s energy infrastructure challenges.

Remember the supply chain problems?

After years of supply chain chaos, unscrupulous funders, fraudsters and non-payers, it became obvious what little DECC could actually do to reduce these problems.  DECC had no option but to rely on industry to correct itself and to nurture positive change.  But we all know that did not work!  Blending energy policy with business will not have a magic wand, but there will be a better understanding of the effects of government policy on the supply chain.  Low carbon and business activities will now be able to operate under the same umbrella.

Already, there are encouraging signs.

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Greg Clark, said ‘I am thrilled to have been appointed to lead this new department charged with delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy, leading government’s relationship with business, furthering our world-class science base, delivering affordable, clean energy and tackling climate change.’

This is why I think we are in good hands.

Greg Clark has considerable experience with the climate change brief when the Conservatives were in opposition between 2008 and 2010.  He was shadow secretary for energy and climate change and he made his views clear that energy efficiency is a priority in saving energy, cutting carbon emissions, and reducing energy bills.  He publicly acknowledged that Britain’s homes are among the most energy-inefficient in Europe and was concerned that millions of families do not have enough insulation.

Furthermore, we have a new minister for climate change.  A former minister in the Department for International Development, Nick Hurd is a member of the Conservative Environment Network and is widely regarded as one of the party’s greener MPs.  His role will be to represent the UK at international climate talks alongside Greg Clark.

While business is as usual for all of us working in energy efficiency, we can at last see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

DECC merges to become Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Following Theresa May’s appointment as Prime Minister, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has been disbanded and merged with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to form the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy under Greg Clark MP.
This does not mark the end of energy and climate change, but hails the start of fresh ideas, opportunities and policy  changes for the better.  We will begin to see renewed activity very soon with the launch of new initiatives to better combat fuel poverty, cold homes and carbon emissions.

Beat the Brexit Blues

Brexit does not hail the end of the UK, or the energy industry.  It is the start of something new with fresh challenges and opportunities. The doom and gloom mongers are hell bent on promoting the negatives rather the positives.  Human nature I suppose, but my glass is half full and here is why:


Housing Market:

There are encouraging signs in the housing market and the mortgage market is looking good, significantly improving if interest rates fall.  The cost to banks of funding fixed deals started to fall as swap rates fell by as much as one-third in the wake of Brexit. These falls will very soon be passed on to borrowers in the form of lower interest rates.

Remember, people always need somewhere to live and there are too many people chasing too few homes.  Being in or out of Europe will not kill off demand for mainstream housing.  There are signs of increased demand with a number of early, counter-intuitive indicators (i.e. something that does not happen in the way you would expect it to) that some areas, such as the Central London property market, may see a boost due to Brexit.  In fact, there are no signs at all that the British property market will fall off the face of the earth.  Estate agents are seeing a rise in enquiries from Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian and Spanish buyers taking advantage of the tumbling pound making the exchange rate very favourable for foreign buyers.

If Brexit does signal a fall in house prices, it is unlikely to have a negative effect on the number of transactions.  It will provide opportunity for those struggling to get on the housing ladder. First-time buyers will benefit from lower competition for housing, as house prices and rents inflation will slow down.  Falling prices has its benefits – when buyers demand a discount on price, sellers have to take less and then discount from the sellers of their next home.

House prices rose before the referendum despite the uncertainty of a Brexit outcome.  Average UK property valuations rose 0.2 per cent month-on-month, the same rate of growth as in May.


UK’s Climate Change Obligations:

Brexit is unlikely to change our climate change targets.  These are set nationally by the UK under the Climate Change Act 1998.  However, at an international level, the UK emissions reduction commitment will require unravelling from the EU under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the recent Paris agreement. The UK would also need to submit its own Nationally Determined Contribution in respect of its intended climate actions under the UNFCCC processes.

Regarding the UK’s renewable and low carbon energy policy, we will be released from our renewable energy targets under the EU Renewable Energy Directive and from EU state aid restrictions, potentially giving the government more freedom in the design and phasing out of renewable energy support regimes. The availability of funding from EU institutions may impact the deployment of capital intensive projects such as offshore wind but given we are still bound by national and international decarbonisation obligations, it is likely that renewable and low carbon energy development will continue to form part of our climate change policy.


Energy Efficiency in Buildings:

With or without the EU, we have not been particularly effective in the UK, look at the failed Green Deal, national zero carbon homes policy and Code for Sustainable Homes. The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive 2010 and Energy Efficiency Directive 2012 require EU Member States to introduce measures to promote energy efficiency and reduce the energy consumption of buildings (obligations relating to energy performance certificates (EPCs) and display energy certificates (DECs); air conditioning inspection requirements; all new buildings to be nearly zero energy by end of 2020; setting of minimum energy performance requirements for new buildings; obligations to prepare national energy efficiency action plans; obligations on companies to carry out energy audits; etc.).  These have been implemented by way of obligations, for example, the Energy Performance of Buildings (England and Wales) Regulations 2012 in relation to EPCs and DECs, the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014 in relation to energy assessments and Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 in relation to minimum energy efficiency standards.

These Regulations are unlikely to change directly because of our exit from the EU, although national legislation may have to be amended to make way for changes or progress in the EU frameworks.  It is likely that UK policy may lead to a change in these schemes where permitted to reduce red tape which may expand the ESOS reporting requirements (assuming the UK retains it) or replace it with something tailored to the UK market.


UK Policy:

Before the referendum, Government commissioned a review of consumer advice, protection, standards and enforcement – Every Homes Matters.  This was not an EU initiative, but instigated jointly by DECC and DCLG and which should help to support and develop the retrofit and renovation industry.  The intention to improve training, increase standards and develop customer awareness for the future, should create a thriving market without needing the EU to set us on the right path.  Another positive about Brexit will be our ability to keep VAT on energy efficiency measures at 5%.

It was interesting to note that during the campaign, the EU was often referred to as the reason for the UK’s progress on carbon emissions reductions.  However, the UK was already pioneering this by way of the Climate Change Act, thereby confirming we have a commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 (from 1990 levels) and to supply 15% of energy consumption from renewables by 2020.  This Act is a legally binding commitment in order to achieve these goals.

FiTs may have been reduced but there still remains some subsidy.  We have the RHI, the Energy Companies Obligation and a consumer demand for renewable energy and energy efficiency installations.   We have a Fuel Poverty Strategy and a Community Energy Policy which are unique and tailored to the UK.


IDEA’s Position:

IDEA will encourage and support the Government to continue pioneering on energy efficiency, and to implement better building regulations to inspire lower carbon new builds and renovations.

IDEA will be urging Government to maintain the 15% renewable target by 2020, and to set further targets in line with the Carbon Budgets and the 80% greenhouse gas reduction target by 2050.

IDEA will help to strengthen Government’s aim to maintain their commitment to the transition to a zero carbon economy.

IDEA has a lot of work to do in order ensure our input into laws and treaties in the energy field and to support the UK’s contribution within the Paris Agreement.

IDEA’s key message for members is to hold your nerves and not make any knee-jerk decisions. Try to look past the short-term volatilities of Brexit and consider the longer-term benefits.  Markets will fall but they will stabilise too, and trading with Europe won’t end.  Nothing has changed yet since the referendum but the next two years will see Article 50, which oversees the exit from the EU, and invokes a two-year transition period for new trade deals to be negotiated.


Energy Supplier Efficiency Statistics – March 2016

More than 42,600 energy efficiency measures were installed in March under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) as per DECC.  A total of 1.79 million measures at end of January were installed under ECO and Green Deal:

  • 37% for cavity insulation
  • 25% for loft insulation
  • 22% for boiler upgrades

The  Affordable Warmth and the Carbon Savings Community obligations combined within ECO accounted for more than one million measures in 797,000 low income and vulnerable households by the end of March.  With regard to Green Deal Assessments, more than 6,900 were made in February.

Using EPCs as Installers

A few DEAs have said to us that they’d be interested to know how EPCs are read by an installer.

From the perspective of Green Deal Consortia, there are some pieces of information in the EPC we find very useful at the start of a retrofit project.

The EPC helps us get a picture of the property’s fabric and services.  It can often be a challenge to get some answers from the customer about the property’s details, and an EPC is a great tool for getting a quick snapshot.

(N.B. If only every EPC could be done by an IDEA member!  Unfortunately, not every DEA out there is up to that standard, so while we are reading for information, we are also trying to gauge the competency of the DEA.)

What do we look for when viewing an EPC for the first time?  Well, we don’t look at it in order.  And we focus on certain parts over others:

  1. RdSAP version – if the EPC isn’t at least RdSAP 9.91 we’ll still look at it, but we’ll just not rely on it very much.
  2. Floor area – to get a general idea about the size of the property.  But we are also trying to figure out whether the DEA was competent, so does the floor area match up with expectations given the build type and footprint (satellite view in any online map)?
  3. Summary of current energy features – this also fills in our picture of the features of the property.
  4. Current & potential energy efficiency rating – it answers two questions: how far does this property have to go, and how good could it be?
  5. Recommended measures – not the list of three on the front, but the full list on the third page.  The current energy features list is not complete, and we look at the recommended measures to see what it doesn’t show.  Ex: if PV doesn’t show, it’s likely PV is already installed.
  6. Who the assessor was – there are a lot of DEA’s out there, but if the assessor is one we know (and for positive reasons) we’ll feel that much better about the findings.

That’s all.  It usually doesn’t take longer than a minute to get this information from the EPC, which is a big part of what makes so useful.  We can even gather all this info while we’re on the phone with the customer.

It doesn’t seem like the EPC gets enough credit for the practical help it can be, but from our point of view, there is nothing better than an EPC for getting the right start on a project.