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Mapping domestic energy efficiency in Great Britain

Aerial photo of a town centre in the snow.

A report, data set and maps for Citizens Advice.

Project duration: November 2014 to March 2015

This project aimed to address the lack of published and available data on the efficiency standards of the UK housing stock at regional, or smaller area levels. This lack of data made analysis difficult for people or organisations concerned with energy efficiency and fuel poverty. They needed data to devise housing improvement programmes and to measure their success.

Funded by Citizens Advice, CSE investigated options for producing – and making freely available – data from a range of different sources that could show the energy efficiency of housing in different areas of the country. 

At the time of delivering the project, we investigated and identified six specific options. These spanned: freely available data; data held by government departments and data accessed through specific requests; and commercially owned data.  

two maps of England, one with different areas coloured with different shades of green, and one with different shades of red.
Maps of parliamentary constituencies in England and Wales showing where the highest proportions of the most efficient and least efficient dwellings are located.

One of the options looked at used data from the National Energy Efficiency Data-framework. This was administered by the then Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Our enquiries resulted in the release and publication of data that shows the numbers of dwellings in each EPC band by Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) – an area that represents around 650 houses on average. This data is now freely available on the government website.

Mapping domestic energy efficiency in England and Wales

We used this data to calculate the numbers of dwellings in other types of area. This included Middle Layer Super Output Area (MLSOA) and parliamentary constituency area.

The data that CSE helped to secure release of was used to produce two maps at parliamentary constituency. The maps show areas with the highest proportion of efficient housing (EPC bands A, B or C) and inefficient housing (EPC band F or G) in England and Wales (see image above).

Homes rated F or G roughly correspond to those classified as dangerously cold and a potential risk to occupants’ health in the government’s Housing, Health and Safety Rating System. Cold homes are a major contributor to poor health.

The data revealed the disparity of poor housing energy efficiency standards between different areas of the country. Inefficient housing is more common in rural areas than urban. Although many urban areas also struggle with high numbers of cold homes. Several characteristics of rural properties account for this distribution: lots are off gas homes that are heated by more expensive heating oil; homes that are often solid wall constructions that are harder and more expensive to insulate; many are semi-detached or detached and have extensive areas of exposed wall.


[1] Please note, the dataset used for this analysis was not perfect. It only included EPCs logged up to 2012. It also only represented homes with an EPC, rather than all housing in the country. Thus, the number of cold homes are underestimated and the number of better quality homes are overestimated. Nevertheless, at the time the work was conducted the data gave a useful pointer to the extent of cold homes in different local areas.

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