UK Green Building Council voices concerns of retrofit standstill before new ECO policy comes into effect

Green Deal

Avoiding a collapse in retrofit installation rates under the energy company obligation should be top of the new government’s green to-do list, according to the UK Green Building Council.

With installation rates falling as suppliers deliver early on their targets, there are major concerns that the retrofit industry could see a complete standstill in activity next year before the new energy company obligation (ECO) policy comes into effect the year after.

Richard Twinn, policy advisor at UKGBC, said: “The big question the government has to face on home energy efficiency is ‘what is the future of ECO?’

“Installation rates are already falling as suppliers deliver early and some analysis suggests targets will be fully completed up to a year early in 2016. With the next ECO policy not due to get up and running until 2017, we could see a collapse in installation rates in the meantime.”

Official figures for February 2015, the latest available, showed that ECO energy efficiency improvements were at their lowest for 20 months, with 42,804 measures installed compared with a high of 98,872 in March 2014.

The total number of measures fitted in February this year, including improvements made under the Green Deal finance scheme, stood at 44,431 installed in 35,488 homes, which again were the lowest in almost two years.

Twinn added policy trajectories for zero-carbon homes and non-domestic buildings should also feature high on the Conservatives’ list of green priorities.

He said: “With four years until the delivery date for all new commercial buildings to be built to zero-carbon standards, industry needs clarity on the expectations for this key policy.”