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Sustainability – jargon buster

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Sustainability – jargon buster

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Published by Andrew Eagles for Sustainable Homes in Housing and also in Communities, Environment

Ever held a conversation with someone, read an article/ book/ magazine/ regulation or listened to a presentation where it seemed that every other word was some new jargon or term. This experience is not solely exclusive to ‘foreigners’ to a particular field of expertise or experience, but is also experienced by professionals within their particular field of interest.

For one, the term sustainability is becoming a common phrase within the vocabulary of businesses, politicians, home-owners; you name it. As the impacts of our changing climate become more inclusive and evidence based, there is definitely more awareness allowing the environmental agenda firmer ground on which to establish its case.

We here at Sustainable Homes very much support the growth of the environmental agenda and want to facilitate an educational platform, to ensure that all individuals have a clearer understanding of what is being presented to them – particularly in keeping with the recently launched UK government’s flagship energy retrofit programme, the Green Deal.

Affordable Warmth Obligation – one stream of funding (grants rather than loans) for low income and vulnerable fuel poor households, under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), created through an energy company obligation – possible measures include: heating and hot water saving measures, insulation, glazing and micro generation technologies (except photo voltaics) to low income.

Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) – a Government initiative requiring all domestic energy suppliers, with a customer base in excess of 250,000, to make savings in the amount of CO2 emitted by householders. However, will be replaced by the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) at the end of 2012.

Code for Sustainable Homes – an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of newly constructed domestic properties. It is a national standard for use in the design and construction of new homes with a view to encouraging continuous improvement in sustainable home building, within nine areas of sustainable design: Energy and CO2 Emissions, Water, Materials, Surface Run-off, Waste, Pollution, Health & Well-being, Management and Ecology.

CROHM  (Carbon Reduction Options for Housing Managers) – a systematic bespoke carbon assessment of an organisation’s building stock, aimed at identifying and quantifying measures to reduce carbon emissions, based on cost estimates and building physics.

Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) - requires gas and electricity suppliers (with at least 50,000 domestic customers) and electricity generators (generating on average 10 TWh/yr or more in a specified three year period) to deliver energy saving measures to domestic consumers in specific low income areas of Great Britain. Expires on 31st December 2012, to be replaced with the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – the Government department with the responsibility of progressing the Green Deal and creating policies for the energy efficient refurbishment of the UK building footplate.

Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – ECO will take over from the existing obligations of Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP). These existing obligations are due to end in December 2012 and the ECO will take over in addressing energy efficiency in the domestic sector. This will see the energy companies spend about £1.3 billion a year for the next 10 years on subsidising home energy improvements. ECO will focus on providing energy efficiency measures to low income consumers and those living in 'hard to treat' properties, such as period homes. Social housing tenants are not eligible for ECO.

Energy Efficiency for Asset Managers (EEFAM) – course designed by Sustainable Homes to assist asset managers in understanding the energy requirements of their housing stock with the objective of  developing a costed energy efficiency improvement strategy.

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) – EPCs are documents which provide information on the energy efficiency of a building and recommendations for improvement. The EPC is a requirement of the European Directive on the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPBD). Under Article 7 of the Directive, any building which is sold, rented out or constructed must have an EPC. This must be issued by a qualified and accredited assessor in an independent manner and in the UK is issued by an accredited Domestic Energy Assessor. The rating measures the energy efficiency of your home using a grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’ with ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ the least efficient.

Fuel Poverty – describes the socio-economic status of a household when a household needs to spend more than 10% of its income to achieve adequate energy services in the home, including reaching particular temperature standards (as defined by THE UK Fuel Poverty Strategy 2001). Three key drivers of fuel poverty are: cost of energy, energy efficiency of property and household income. The UK government commissioned Professor John Hills to review the definition of fuel poverty which was completed in March 2012 – with further announcements to be made by the government.

Golden Rule (in respects to the Green Deal) – the key to whether a measure, or package of measures, can be financed through the Green Deal. As the guiding principle of the Green Deal, it seeks to ensure that expected financial savings of the measure(s) installed must be equal to or greater than the cost of repayment over the term of the Green Deal Plan and the work.  attached to the energy bill.

Green Deal – a government sponsored framework, launched October 2012 that offers consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses at no upfront cost, and to recoup payments through a charge in instalments as part of their energy bill. The repayment obligation will stay with the property and transfer to any new occupier.

Green Deal Finance Company – a not-for-profit company set up to investigate how to provide the lowest cost finance to the Green Deal, to enable a competitive market and maximise the Green Deal measures that can be implemented across the United Kingdom. Members include British Gas, Carillion, E.ON, EDF Energy, Insta Group, Kingfisher, Mark Group, npower and SSE.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) – an internationally recognised quality assurance scheme, supported by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. MCS certifies microgeneration technologies used to produce electricity and heat from renewable sources and is an eligibility requirement for the Government's financial incentives the Feed-in-Tariff and the Renewable Heat Incentive. 

Microgeneration systems – are small scale low or zero carbon emission  systems for providing energy and/or thermal requriements for a household or building. Examples of systems include photovoltaic, solar thermal, air/ gorund source heat pumps, combined heat & power (CHP) wind turbines and biomass boilers.

Occupancy assessment – The second part of the Green Deal assessment. The occupancy assessment considers the energy use of the household and the impact this is likely to have on the standard energy savings predicted by the EPC.  

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) – a UK Government scheme set up to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies among householders, communities and businesses through the provision of financial incentives. Technologies include solar thermal (water heaters), air-source & ground-source heat pumps and biomass boilers. Currently, RHI is only available for non-domestic properties with domestic properties set to be eligible in summer 2013.

Renewable Heat Premium Payment (RHPP) – a one-off grant designed to help towards meeting the costs of installing renewable technologies in your home, until the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is introduced for domestic customers. Technologies included under this scheme include solar thermal hot water, air-source, ground-source & air-to-water heat pumps, and biomass boilers.

RdSAP (reduced data standard assessment procedure) – a subset of SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) created specifically for existing buildings and assesses a reduced amount of building elements. It is designed to comply with Building Regulation PartL1B.

SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) – the Government's nationwide approved method for calculating energy efficiency and carbon emissions from homes to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations.

SHIFT (Sustainable Homes Index For Tomorrow) Index  - sustainability benchmark and best practice learning network, developed by Sustainable Homes in partnership with the Tenants Services Authority, WWF, Bank of Scotland Corporate and the UK Green Building Council.

U-value – the calculated rate at which heat is lost per unit area of a building element expressed in W/m2K. The lower the U-value, the better an element's thermal performance.

We hope this jargon buster has been of use. Should you like to learn more you may be interested in ourGreen Deal Advisor training or Energy Efficiency for Asset Managers training course. Other courses arelisted here.

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