Memorandum submitted by the Association for the British Electrotechnical Industry (BEAMA) (FP 46)

 

BEAMA

 

1. BEAMA represents over 350 companies in the electrotechnical sector in the UK who employ over

137,000 people and have a combined annual turnover of more than 13 billion. Our members

provide building and infrastructure technologies and products that influence all generation

efficiencies, electricity use and system energy losses as well as related UK carbon emissions and

carbon abatement technologies.

 

2. BEAMA welcomes the opportunity to submit evidence to the Energy and Climate Change

Committee inquiry into Fuel Poverty, and looks forward to further engaging with the Committee

on this Inquiry as it progresses. BEAMA is available to provide supplementary oral and written

evidence to the Committee.

 

Executive Summary

 

3. A key means by which fuel poverty can be alleviated is through improving home energy

efficiency and empowering consumers to better manage their energy usage.

 

4. Government and industry must work in closer partnership in overcoming the lack of consumer

awareness about the energy saving products available on the marketplace and the often simple

steps that need to be taken to deliver efficiency savings.

 

5. There are significant immediate opportunities to help address fuel poverty through existing

technologies.

 

6. Domestic heating controls offer the greatest potential to reduce fuel poverty through increasing

energy efficiency in the home Simply fitting the correct heating controls can save up to 23% of a

home's heating bill[1] Given that heating and hot water account for 84% of an average home's

energy use, and 70% of its carbon emissions[2] then these savings are significant, and will be even

more pronounced where an older, less efficient boiler is in place.

 

7. In the longer term, the rollout of smart metering in the UK will give households greater

potential to effectively manage their energy usage. The meters will give consumers time-of-use

information regarding their energy usage which will empower them to use it more effectively

and efficiently thus reducing consumption.

 

The role of low carbon technologies in alleviating fuel poverty

 

8. Effectively tackling fuel poverty in the UK requires a holistic policy approach from Government.

BEAMA believes a key means by which fuel poverty can be alleviated is through improving home

energy efficiency and empowering consumers to better manage their energy usage. As the trade

association representing manufacturers of electrotechnical equipment in the UK, we can provide

a unique perspective on the technologies with greatest potential to improve home energy efficiency for the most vulnerable UK consumers.

 

9. BEAMA believes that Government and industry must work in closer partnership in overcoming

the lack of consumer awareness about the energy saving products available on the marketplace

and the often simple steps that need to be taken to deliver efficiency savings.

 

10. There are significant immediate opportunities to help address fuel poverty through existing

technologies, two of which - heating controls and smart metering - are outlined below.

 

Heating Controls

 

11. We believe that domestic heating controls offer the greatest potential to reduce fuel poverty

through increasing energy efficiency in the home. Heating controls optimise the operation of

energy using elements of a heating system (e.g. boilers and pumps) and allow occupants to

define the levels of thermal comfort that they require. This means that sufficient heating and

hot water is provided for the least possible energy input, and the least household expenditure

on energy.

 

12. As a minimum for homes, BEAMA believes that there should be controls to:

o Automatically turn off heating when not required (Time Control);

o Automatically prevent the building getting warmer than it needs to (Temperature

Control);

o Avoid overheating rooms that are unoccupied or need lower temperatures (Zone

Control);

o Provide enough hot water at a suitable temperature, and no more.

 

13. Homes that don't have one or more of these control functions already installed will be able to

make cost-effective energy savings through the installation of additional controls. Simply fitting

the correct heating controls can save up to 17-23% of a home's heating bill[3]. Given that heating

and hot water account for 84% of an average home's energy use, and 70% of its carbon

emissions[4] then these savings are significant, and will be even more pronounced where an older,

less efficient boiler is in place. Furthermore, heating controls allow the occupants to save more

energy through behavioural change measures.

 

14 The current Building Regulations require that some controls are installed when, for example, a

boiler is replaced But waiting until all boilers are replaced, which on current rates will take

about twenty years, is missing the huge opportunity for energy saving from upgrading controls

on their own:

o A controls upgrade is a low cost, cost-effective measure.

o Controls will reduce carbon emissions from older boilers in the years before they are

replaced.

o Installed controls will reduce the cost of the eventual boiler replacement, and may

therefore bring forward the decision on this replacement.

 

15. We estimate that over 80% of UK homes do not reach the minimum levels of heating controls.

The potential market for upgrades of controls is valued at 3 billion and potential carbon savings

offered by heating controls are estimated at 48 MtCO2, greater than the potential for loft insulation.

 

16. In Ireland the Home Energy Saving Scheme offers householders up to 500 for a heating controls upgrade and a similar scheme in the UK could reap significant energy savings for the fuel poor.

 

Smart Metering

 

17 The Government roll-out schedule calls for 48 Million smart gas and electricity meters to be

supplied to 27 million homes in just over 10 years. In the longer term, therefore, the rollout of

smart metering in the UK will give households greater potential to effectively manage their

energy usage. The meters will give consumers time-of-use information regarding their energy

usage which will empower them to use it more effectively and efficiently thus reducing

consumption.

 

February 2010



[1] Source: Energy Saving Trust and calculations using the EU Ecoboiler model developed for the Energy Using Products Directive.

 

[2] Policy Brief: Improving the energy performance of domestic heating and hot water systems, Defra 2008.

 

[3] Source: Energy Saving Trust and calculations using the EU Ecoboiler model developed for the Energy Using Products Directive.

 

[4] Policy Brief: Improving the energy performance of domestic heating and hot water systems, Defra 2008.