The long-awaited Each Home Counts - Bonfield Review was published in December 2016, an independent report which looks at how to improve energy efficiency, and encourage uptake of renewables in the UK.
Chaired by BRE chief executive Peter Bonfield, the review makes 27 recommendations for the government to consider, in order to ensure greater consistency across the sector, including:
1. Introduction of a new Quality Mark
Similar to the Gas Safe Register or TrustMark, a single Quality Mark is recommended for all domestic retrofit energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements.
It is hoped that standardising the myriad of schemes, brands, certification bodies and organisations operating across the sector will provide clarity to both consumers and installers.
The framework of the Quality Mark consists of three key elements:
- A Consumer Charter which ensures that all consumers receive excellent levels of customer service, a clear redress process and guarantee protection;
- A Code of Conduct which sets out how companies behave, operate and report, the requirements of which must be met or exceeded for the company to operate; and
- Codes of Practice which are relevant to the installation of each measure under consideration so that the risk of poor quality installation is minimised.
2. Supporting infrastructure
The report recommends the creation of the following, to help the new framework to work effectively:
- Central Information Hub - acting as a collection point for best practice on standards, guidance, statistics and information approved under the Framework, the hub will be both consumer and industry-facing.
- Data Warehouse a Data Warehouse will be created to enable customers to access accurate data and information about their homes, which can be used to provide more bespoke advice and allow the industry to better understand the market.
Focus on Smart Meters
The report is positive about smart meters, recommending that industry should work together effectively to ensure that smart meters can be installed in as many properties as possible, regardless of property type, provide tailored home energy efficiency advice to consumers and ensure the capacity and skills of smart meter installers.
The report has led to mixed response, with many industry bodies still raising questions and concerns:
APHC chief executive officer John Thompson said: On first impressions the review appears to focus on greater regulation and replacing the Green Deal scheme, but there doesnt appear to be any details on incentives for consumers to adopt energy saving measures. Without such incentives I can't see why the plumbing and heating industry will invest in an additional regulatory standard, particularly after the failings of Green Deal.
APHC is keen to support a framework that improves quality and consumer protection, however we need to be sure that a new standard doesnt duplicate current requirements, that consumers are properly informed and incentivised to use green technologies, and that the proper inspections and enforcements are implemented.
Detailed plans will now be developed to implement the vision set out in the report. The review calls on the government to openly report its progress annually until at least 2020 - watch this space!
For more information, you can read the full Each Home Counts Bonfield Review here.