Housing Specification Blog

EWI loses out in ECO consultation response

July 24, 2014 PaulGroves Housing IssuesPlanning & Legislation

Following DECC’s response to the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Consultation, Wetherby Building Systems is advising that the reduction in external wall insulation (EWI) installations that will come as a result needs immediate address.

Wetherby’s sales director Paul Kirby comments: “DECC’s response to the ECO Consultation made for bleak reading for the Solid Wall Insulation (SWI) industry. It is clear that there will be a definite shift away from SWI for the next period of funding, which will only serve to hinder achieving the carbon reduction targets and limit the number of families brought out of fuel poverty.

“There was a huge call from all corners of the industry to increase the suggested minimum level of SWI installations from 100,000, and this does not even come close to the achievable capacity, yet instead DECC has completely ignored this advice and set the minimum target based on carbon savings. This will result in less than 100,000 properties being fitting with SWI, since energy companies will opt to cherry pick schemes that will provide the greatest carbon savings, thereby ignoring millions of fuel poor households that could greatly benefit from SWI.

“Further adding to the likelihood of reduced SWI uptake, allowing loft and cavity wall insulation to be included as primary measures will enable energy companies to choose these cheaper, easier options to meet the carbon targets over hard-to-treat measures such as SWI.

“The ECO cuts have already been felt across the industry, with the latest statistics released this week showing just 37,424 measures having being installed in May, compared with 95,484 in March. These changes to ECO, combined with the overnight cut in cashback now being offered for SWI under the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF), will cause further setbacks for the SWI industry.

“There are still some seven million solid wall properties in need of insulation in the UK and half of all households in fuel poverty living in solid wall properties, so the benefit of SWI is not something that can be ignored. If the government is taking the focus away from SWI with the next phase of ECO then a separate solid wall insulation programme is needed to ensure that the potential carbon savings from SWI installations are realised.

“Once again the industry has been left with a lack of certainty about the future of energy efficiency schemes in the UK. DECC is continually making changes to its initiatives, often with very little warning as has happened with the GDHIF this week, causing set backs and cancellations of projects each time.

“Short term fixes, that are subject to constant tweaking, just cause confusion across the industry and are never going to address the very real issue of fuel poverty in the UK. As a matter of urgency, the government needs to re-think its strategy and invest significantly in improving the energy efficiency of the country’s aging housing stock.”

Wetherby Building Systems Ltd is the UK’s market leader in the manufacture and distribution of a wide range of external wall insulation (EWI) systems, polymer modified renders, silicone & acrylic thin-coat renders & brick slip systems for the retrofit market.

Wetherby’s insulated render systems offer environmentally sympathetic external façade solutions that have been successfully installed on many domestic refurbishment projects, new build schemes, commercial buildings and educational establishments for over 20 years.

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