Retrofitting the existing housing stock in the South East

Developing a strategy to reduce carbon emissions and alleviate fuel poverty: 2008 to 2011

Project duration: February 2008 to August 2008

CSE, along with its partners, considered how the region can reduce residential carbon emissions by 20% by 2016 (in line with the regional target) and assist with the delivery of national fuel poverty targets, through achieving energy efficiency in the existing housing stock.

The 2005 Defra emissions statistics show that 30.4% of all emissions in the South East originate from heating and running our homes. Improving the energy efficiency of the existing housing stock and stimulating the market for low and zero carbon (LZC) technologies must be a priority if the region is to achieve its targets, and also help reduce fuel poverty in a time of rising fuel costs.

The current rate of sustainable energy activity (both nationally and locally) is not sufficient to meet national and proposed regional targets. If the region is to meet its own targets a step-change in the rate of improvement will be required. For example, according to the research underpinning the strategy, achieving the required improvement in the residential sector will require 5 to 6 times the level of solid wall installation activity.

The regional modelling and stakeholder engagement activity coordinated by CSE identified 33 key actions. The combination of the evidence base provided by the modelling and the focus of these actions has led to the identification of five overarching aims and priority areas for action. The action plan provides a summary of the actions identified, the overarching aim they are designed to support and the priority areas they help to deliver. Whilst these actions often identify succinct tasks, a number of them related to the improved coordinating of sustainable energy programmes i.e. core aim one of the strategy.

The strategy’s overarching aims are:

  • to provide a regional framework that stimulates increased deployment of sustainable energy and water efficiency measures in existing housing, working in conjunction with existing national, regional and local initiatives
  • to ensure the most energy inefficient properties are improved to a minimum standard of efficiency, that is SAP 65
  • to identify and develop opportunities for new sources of funding to retrofit the existing housing stock
  • to support the development of community focussed sustainable energy initiatives
  • to promote and help generate long-term behavioural change at the householder level

The primary focus of this strategy is the end use of direct energy in the home. The region plans to develop complimentary research that supports the delivery of regional targets for residential water efficiency and sustainability as defined by the South East Regional Economic Strategy.

The implementation of a more sustainable energy future is a complex one with many interlinking barriers and opportunities. The priority areas for action and the relevant sections of the strategy that relate to them are:

  • targeting the G to Fs in private sector housing
  • planning gains for the existing stock
  • sustaining local support for residential sustainable energy initiatives
  • further reaching community energy initiatives
  • innovative funding structures for able to pay households
For further information contact:

Ian Preston | 0117 934 1422

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