VPhase and the Green Deal
Published by Matt Cody for VPhase in Housing and also in Bill Payments, Environment
VPhase voltage optimisation device
VPhase voltage optimisation, the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation
What is the Green Deal?
The Green Deal is the new government initiative aimed at supporting wider introduction of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies into the home. It’s officially due to start on the 1st October 2012, but DECC has now confirmed that it not only expects the Green Deal to take up to 18 months to gain traction, but that Green Deal finance for consumers won’t be in place until 2013.
The Green Deal enables homeowners and tenants to choose energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies for their home, and pay nothing for them up front. Instead, it is intended that the cost of supply and installation will be paid for over a period of time out of the savings made.
Importantly, the Green Deal agreement is tied to the house where the technology is installed, so if someone sells their house or moves, then the new tenants or owners will take on the ownership of the debt for the remaining period.
What is included in the Green Deal?
Up to 45 measures are now covered by the Green Deal, including newly introduced ones such as HVAC systems, roof lights, radiant heating, and energy efficient taps and showers.
Is VPhase included?
Not yet. In order to qualify for the Green Deal, VPhase needs a SAP point. Following successful government lobbying, VPhase has now secured agreement from DECC and BRE that they will review the SAP application process and consider voltage optimisation for SAP.
Why isn’t VPhase included?
The current SAP calculations don’t include energy use from appliances. This means that energy savings from appliances (which is what VPhase does), also can’t be included. We believe this is fundamentally wrong, because as we know (and DECC has published in its reports) over two thirds of electrical energy use in the home comes from appliances and lighting.
In fact, DECC reported in its Housing Energy Fact File 2011 that, “electricity use for appliances (outside of its contribution to internal gains, ventilation fans and ceiling mounted lights) is not reflected in SAP ratings, so it would be a mistake to rely on SAP alone to assess Britain’s homes. Lights and appliances are a significant and rising proportion of total energy use (and an even larger proportion of household CO2 emissions).”
What is a SAP point?
SAP stands for Standard Assessment Procedure and is the methodology that allows energy assessors to calculate the energy efficiency of homes. SAP is not only used to determine a product’s eligibility to be included in the Green Deal, but also underpins EPC’s (Energy Performance Certificates).
When will VPhase get a SAP point?
VPhase is working with other domestic and industrial VO providers to petition BRE to accept an Appendix Q application to include energy savings from appliances within SAP calculations. If successful, all domestic voltage optimisation units will potentially be eligible for a SAP point. Putting a timescale against this is going to be difficult because of so many unknowns, the involvement of government agencies and general bureaucracy.
What is ECO?
ECO is the Energy Company Obligation, an initiative whereby consumer energy companies will have to provide £1.3 billion a year in energy efficiency upgrades for low income and hard to insulate homes. ECO is part of the Green Deal.
Who is BRE?
BRE stands for Building Research Establishment. They’re a group of companies that are commissioned by DECC to oversee SAP, amongst other things.
Who is DECC?
DECC is the Department of Energy and Climate Change. They’re the government body that were responsible for CERT and CESP, and are behind the move towards the Green Deal initiative.
What is CERT?
CERT is The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target that has been running since 2008 and is an energy supplier obligation. Under CERT, energy suppliers must deliver measures that will provide overall lifetime CO2 savings of 154 million tonnes; equivalent to the emissions from 700,000 homes each year. It is expected to lead to energy supplier investment of some £2.8 billion. CERT will be replaced with the Green Deal and ECO.
What is CESP?
CESP is part of the government’s Home Energy Saving Programme. It’s goal is to deliver energy saving measures to domestic customers in specific low income areas of Great Britain. The CESP approach has been designed with a ‘whole house’ approach in mind, with the aim of treating as many properties as possible in defined areas. CESP will be replaced with the Green Deal and ECO.
What is Appendix Q?
Appendix Q is a feature of SAP that allows for information to be included within SAP calculations that wasn’t available when SAP was originally published. It is the means by which we hope to include energy savings from appliance use, and therefore voltage optimisation, within the SAP calculations.
What is the Golden Rule?
The Golden Rule is an element of the Green Deal that insists that the amount of Green Deal finance that can be provided must not exceed the projected associated cost savings on an average energy bill. VPhase will certainly comply with the Golden Rule when it enters the Green Deal.
What will happen to CERT?
CERT is scheduled to finish at the end of 2012 as the Green Deal comes into effect. CERT is the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target that VPhase qualified for through its CERT demonstration action.
What is an EPC?
An EPC is an Energy Performance Certificate. The government has introduced new legislation which states that homes must be rated ‘D’ or above before they are eligible for other home improvements through the Green Deal. VPhase will help improve the energy performance bands of a home once it is included in SAP.
Why is voltage optimisation important for the Green Deal?
Voltage optimisation is important for the Green Deal because it represents the lowest cost and easiest to implement energy efficiency technology for the home, after insulation. It’s very accessible for homeowners and tenants, results in a minimum of disruption upon installation, and importantly requires no change to lifestyle or behaviour. With the new legislation due to enforce a minimum standard of ‘D’ or above in an EPC, then VPhase voltage optimisation could offer an ‘easy win’ in qualifying for further energy efficiency upgrades.
Why is the Green Deal important for voltage optimisation?
The Green Deal is important for voltage optimisation as it can make the technology that much more accessible for a wider range of homes. Funding the installation through the proven savings and tying the cost of the unit to the property rather than the individual, will certainly help accelerate uptake. It will also help direct attention and interest towards this technology and allow it to compete on a level playing field with other energy efficiency technologies such as solar PV and insulation.