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Energy Efficiency

Improved energy efficiency can help to combat fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions

  • By Owain Mortimer

London Councils' response to the London Assembly Investigation into Domestic Energy and Fuel Poverty

London Councils recently provided a submission to the London Assembly Environment Committee's investigation into domestic energy and fuel poverty int he capital. The document outlines a number of the challenges to running effective energy efficiency retrofit programmes in London, highlighting the many households in the Private Rented Sector (PRS), Homes of Multiple Occupation (HMOs), and the physical make up of the building types (aging Victorian terrace buildings). We called on the Mayor to lobby the Government to sert out a long term stratergy and related funding for tackling fuel poverty and inefficient homes. The report also looks at the state of renewable power and heat generation in London, and points to a number of good examples to learn from from other countries. We stated that the Mayor should work with boroughs to create a borough owned not-for-profit cooperative specialising in the procurement of district energy (especially heating) products, given London’s leading role in this area.

The London Assembly Environment Committee recently published the findings from their investigation into domestic energy and fuel poverty in London. You can access the report, Getting Warmer, here.

London Councils' Response to the London Assembly Investigation on Solar Power

London Councils recently responded to the London Assembly Environment Committee's call for views and information on the current policy, capacity, opportunities and challenges for solar energy generation in the residential sector in London.  London Councils noted that uptake of solar photovoltaics (PV) per household is lower in London than other parts of the UK but that most other large UK cities also have lower than average rates.  We suggested that it would be beneficial for London to work with the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Core Cities to investigate barriers to PV installations in large UK cities.  We suggested that if cost is found to be a key issue then it may be necessary to consider regional top ups to the Feed In Tariff.  We also suggested that it needs to be made easier for landlords to provide locally generated renewable energy to tenants, who should benefit from the lower energy prices.


RE:NEW is a London-wide homes retrofitting scheme designed to promote energy efficiency in the housing stock. 

The latest phase of the programme was launched in 2014 and offers free guidance and assistance to social housing providers, local authorities and private landlords on the development and delivery of retrofit projects by an expert RE:NEW project team.  

The support can cover all of the stages needed to deliver a project, including support on opportunity analysis, funding and finance, planning, procurement and delivery.  We are represented on the Sponsors Board of the project.


RE:FIT London is the award-winning and tried and tested programme to help make London’s non-domestic public buildings and assets more energy efficient. Established in 2009, the programme not only reduces carbon emissions, but also results in large guaranteed energy savings for the public sector (typically around 15 - 25 per cent).

RE:FIT London helps a range of organisations, including as London boroughs, NHS bodies, central government departments, schools and other educational establishments and cultural and heritage organisations to implement retrofit projects. It does this through:

RE:FIT London, which is jointly funded by the GLA and the European Union European Regional Development Fund, is helping to achieve the Mayor's aim for London to be a zero carbon city by 2050.

You can visit the RE:FIT website here.

Impact of Universal Credit 

We have examined what the introduction of Universal Credit could mean for fuel poverty in London. It showed that London residents in a wide variety of circumstances could be in fuel poverty. We have argued that

  • the Universal Credit system should take account of the higher costs of living in London
  • OFGEM should take action to ensure that reductions in wholesale fuel prices are passed on to consumers
  • there should be regional targets for the spending of the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Zero Carbon Homes - Allowable Solutions

In 2013, the government consulted on 'allowable solutions' that would enable developers to meet zero carbon homes targets by carbon reduction measures off site.

Our response stressed the need for a link between 'allowable solutions' and where development is taking place, with local authorities being able to set an appropriate carbon price and manage funds.  

We raised concerns that London will not see the benefits of the off-setting measures because they will be cheaper to deliver elsewhere in the country.  

Our response is in two parts - the first part comprises overarching comments, the second part is a completed version of the consultation response form containing responses to specific consultation questions.

The Government responded to the comments made on the 'allowable solutions' consultation in 2014.

The Infrastructure Act 2015 (section 37) provides the primary legislation for the introduction of 'allowable solutions'.

Response to Government's Housing Standards Review consultation

In 2013, we responded to the government's consultation on simplifying and standardising housing standards. The response focuses on environmental issues within the proposals and is in two parts.

The first part contains general comments, the second part consists of the completed response form.  Our response raised concern at the loss of the Code for Sustainable Homes standards.

The government issued a Written Ministerial Statement setting out plans to take the review forward and a Technical Consultation in 2014.