We take a look at the month’s hot topics for the elemental audience.
The Climate Change Committee (CCC) published its Progress Report at the end of June, with the sobering headline “Current programmes will not deliver Net Zero”. The report pulled out the areas where we are seeing achievement – renewable energy and electric vehicles – as well as those where we aren’t, namely energy efficiency in homes, plus agriculture and land use, and said that it’s clear the areas where we’re doing well are those led by ‘well designed government policy’.
The need for support in tackling energy efficiency in our existing buildings, not just homes but our public and communal buildings, is a subject raised on a daily basis by the elemental community, and was certainly reflected in the schools webinar we held this week, with three experts discussing the challenge facing those tasked with decarbonising school buildings. Alex Green, schools lead at Ashden (and the Let’s Go Zero campaign) spoke about the big impact behavioural change can make to energy use, and that’s before any retrofit is carried out or additional technology installed. She said: “It’s so important to get that use down first. Why even look at how you’re going to generate it, if you don’t need it to start off with?” Alex also referenced the change that means every education setting in the country will need to have a sustainability lead in place by 2025, a policy put in place earlier this year by former education secretary Nadhim Zahawi, who, at the time of writing, is settling in as the new Chancellor.
Organisations from the Energy Saving Trust to BESA have responded to the CCC’s report. Stew Horne, head of policy at Energy Saving Trust, said: “The conclusions on progress towards improving home energy efficiency are disappointing but not a surprise. This must be a higher priority and significant policy gaps must be addressed to help cut household energy bills and decarbonise our homes. To help this happen, we agree with the report’s call for a comprehensive advice service, providing tailored support to maximise public engagement and uptake of available assistance to make low carbon choices.”
Last month thousands of people travelled to the NEC to visit InstallerSHOW – and the elemental content theatres – and just a quick glance around the packed halls would tell the government just how much interest there is in the products and services that can help to decarbonise heat and buildings. Reflecting the CCC’s report, there was a huge amount of interest in our sessions on renewables and EV charging, but there was also a real desire to talk about the practical ways we, as an industry, can push forward home efficiency improvements at scale.