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CIBSE: Energy policy 'better late than never'

CIBSE says UK Government’s Electricity Demand Reduction Consultation is better late than never

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has said it will be working with its members across the building industry to prepare a full response to the Department of Energy & Climate Change’s (DECC) Consultation on Electricity Demand Reduction (EDR), announced by the Government.

Buildings consume almost 50% of our energy in the UK, and when coupled with industrial processing, any opportunity for savings in what accounts for well over half of the nation’s energy consumption should be a matter of national priority, and is long overdue. 

It is recognised that around 20% of energy used in buildings is needlessly wasted. Therefore real action to achieve energy and cost savings right now through common sense and rapidly achievable measures must be a national priority.

This issue has implications for all of us. Under the current plans to prevent predicted energy shortages, every household in the country from 2020 will incur an annual £100 ‘levy’ to help meet critical expenditure on new energy generation capacity and reconfiguring the National Grid.  

This will not only make further demands on all our pockets in already straitened times but will have a catastrophic effect on the most vulnerable in our society, particularly the elderly, many of whom already struggle to choose between ‘heat or eat’ - with an aging population in the UK this simply does not make sense.

CIBSE, the body responsible for setting building performance standards and energy benchmarking, has evidence that simple improvements in building performance could contribute a 10% saving in energy usage on the £110 billion which has been allocated for increasing energy supply - a possible £11 billion reduction, meaning that the need for the annual ‘levy’ would be dramatically reduced.  With such significant socio-economic consequences, such options have to be considered.

Whilst maintaining that action on energy efficiency is long overdue, CIBSE welcomes the consultation as ‘better late than never’. CIBSE has set up a dedicated EDR Task Force who will be gathering expert evidence to provide the Government with a thorough response – one that will fully inform both Ministers and policy makers about a range of common-sense options that are already available using existing engineering and technology know-how.

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