Not for profit organisation Future of London has launched its latest report, Delivering Energy Efficiency in London, examining the practicalities in implementing and driving demand for the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO). Produced in conjunction with EDF Energy, the group’s research concludes that carrying out these efficiency measures will be more difficult and costly in London and therefore will require increased financial aid compared with the rest of the UK.

The findings of the paper have been formulated through discussions with over fifty London practitioners, a series of stakeholder interviews and three research seminars attended by London Boroughs representatives, the GLA and sector specialists.

Future of London claims London was only able to access five per cent of the previous energy supplier obligation, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, despite housing 15 per cent of the UK’s population.

Other barriers to the implementation of the Green Deal and ECO considered in the report include:

• The increased cost of parking and the congestion charge in London;
• The particular characteristics of the London housing stock with a high proportion of solid wall properties and large blocks of flats that are harder to insulate;
• The lack of accredited suppliers and installers within the M25;
• The increased difficulty with planning processes in London owing to the high volume of properties in conservation areas, and the need for external wall insulation on solid wall properties.

Furthermore, the report includes evidence from previous energy efficiency schemes suggesting that there is very little natural consumer demand for energy efficiency measures. Residents are reluctant to undergo the ‘hassle and disruption’ associated with the installation of measures, and are likely to be wary of committing themselves to long-term schemes. Future of London also describes the Green Deal ‘customer journey’ having the potential to be confusing due to the number of agencies involved with the various different steps, ranging from the initial contact, through the assessment, planning processes, installation, payment and ongoing customer services

Future of London Director, Ben Harrison said, “Energy efficiency measures such as home insulation or improved heating systems are vital to creating warmer, more comfortable homes that cut carbon emissions, energy bills and costs to the NHS.

“By using the range of policy options available to boost the take up and implementation of energy efficiency improvements under the Green Deal and ECO, London boroughs can make progress towards carbon reduction commitments, alleviating fuel poverty and improving health and wellbeing in their areas.’”

Future of London offers solutions to overcoming red tape barriers, including removing the requirement to gain local authorities’ permission before you can install some measures, such as external solid wall insulation. The report also emphasises ways in which London boroughs could encourage consumer demand for the Green Deal:

• Promoting the scheme through council media and public-facing staff such as social workers or housing officers;
• Using data from tax records, planning information and previous energy efficiency schemes to identify properties that could benefit from the Green Deal;
• Working with faith groups, tenants and residents associations and other community groups to promote the Green Deal and energy efficiency.

Angus Wilby, Head of Energy Services at EDF Energy, said, “Energy efficiency measures can provide householders with significant and permanent benefits, in terms of helping to save money and carbon, particularly for vulnerable consumers.

“London is a key area and we support recommendations that would make it easier for companies such as EDF Energy to carry out measures to as many properties as possible. We do this by supporting schemes such as the London Warm Zone which has delivered energy efficiency measures to over 57,000 homes in London.”