In the old family house which was grade II listed, we found it incredible difficult to make the family home more energy efficient for our use, in the City of Westminster where as much as 80 per cent of housing stock is in conservation areas. This whilst we have some 40 per cent of CO2 emission also coming from our buildings, makes it imperative that we deal with planning system which clearly hinders making our homes much more energy efficient.
So it is good to hear one local authority making some effort to reduce the planning bureaucracy next door in Royal Borough of Kensington Chelsea. Here heritage rules were blocking energy efficiency and renewables for historic UK homes and they have loosen their restrictions binding residents who want to better insulate their homes.
So with heat pumps, planning requirements are to be 1 metre off the surface of the building will considerable restrict the numbers that call replace all the boilers in the homes of our City. Given it was a response primarily due to noise concerns and that these have now been dealt with in the design of heat pumps, the Council needs to make it much easier than now to get the consent to put them up, in response to the climate emergency.
Similar issues also apply to the Office blocks in the City, which may of course strand these assets so its a good reason for the managers of these assets to a dress these issues.
So whilst there is much emphasis on the supply side of the energy markets, we also need some time thinking about what needs to be done to reduce the demand for energy in the first case, particularly in the housing stock of Central London.
Having visited Westminster Councils Energy Saving Show Home at Bravington Road, W9 during last summer it shows well all the measures you can undertake – wall & underfloor insulation; window and door improvements; heat pumps & new radiators; solar panels & battery storage; waste water heat recovery systems and finally electric cookers – with the likely costs, energy savings and carbon savings as well. In these cost of living crisis it was well worth having a look around.
Finally, if you want to check your homes energy efficient please check this ft link for a quick analysis. https://ig.ft.com/uk-energy-efficiency-gap/
ONS figures for energy in homes make up in the City of Westminster.