MEES for the private sector?
First we had Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) in the private rented sector and now sellers may be required to meet minimum energy efficiency standards.
Bright Blue, a Conservative think tank, is proposing that Government regulate the energy performance of privately owned homes.
They are suggesting
1. that a minimum EPC rating could be mandated in order for the sale of the home to be permitted
2. and the Building Regulations could be amended to mandate builders to improve the home’s overall energy performance whenever renovations take place.
and if people can’t afford the improvements, it says, they should be made to take out loans under new schemes similar to the Help to Buy home ownership mechanism. Repayments would be made in instalments added to consumers’ energy bills. Sound familiar?
The author accepts that “it’s not likely to be a popular plan” in all quarters but by rebranding Green Deal as a home improvement scheme it could win homeowners over
Quodox welcomes the focus on EPCs as the basis for this proposal and is pleased that political organisations are still considering options for a viable pay-as-you-save model for the “able to pay”market. However whilst fuel poverty does obviously exist in the privately owned sector, it is less of a problem than in the social and private rented sectors, and that needs to be Governments first priority. Putting obstacles in the way of commercial transitions is also likely to have unintended consequences.
Quodox is a supporter of the “carrot and stick” approach to energy efficiency improvement. Demanding sellers take action without some inducement is unlikely to be welcomed. It would be better, we propose, that Government consider Quodox own 2016 Manifesto
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.
Finally it was refreshing to see the think tank refer to energy efficiency in terms of making homes It“warmer, healthier, and more valuable”, rather than as a ‘green measure” which does not necessarily appeal to everyone.