Energy & Climate Change

Housing; energy efficiency; fuel poverty; sustainability

I worked in the field of energy, climate change, sustainability and fuel poverty for 25 years, both in the private sector and public sector. I even went back to university in 2000 to study for an M.Sc. in Climate Change & Sustainability.

I was responsible for housing research and something called ‘HIP’ – the Housing Investment Programme – at a London borough up to 1995, when I was approached to write a complex statistical and narrative report in response to new legislation: HECA.

The Home Energy Conservation Act 1995 placed new responsibilities upon local authorities – or more precisely, authorities with a housing responsibility. At the time that meant largely Unitary authorities – including the London Boroughs – and District Councils. So County Council were not required to write a ‘HECA’ report.

That first HECA report was difficult. How do you estimate the energy efficiency of an entire housing stock? How does this vary between private rented, home-owner, council and housing association sectors? How do you measure improvements in energy efficiency over time, in order to know if you are reaching targets? The ‘target’ was set by the relevant Secretary of State, and was essentially to improve the energy efficiency of the housing stock by 30 per cent by 2010.

Those were the days. A lot has changed since then, and whilst for some time every housing authority had a ‘HECA Officer’ there are now very few of these highly skilled positions left. Home energy officers are very thin on the ground, which is a shame because we need them now more than ever.

A Home Energy Officer is a very special person. One who understands science and technology as well as the impact of energy inefficiency on poverty and health. One who has a strategic overview of energy infrastructure, consumption and prices in their area, and who can at the same time advise a householder how to use their heating controls or switch energy supplier.

I was very lucky to have been elected Chair of the London HECA Forum back in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, representing all London boroughs at national level and meeting with regulators, energy companies, manufacturers and Government, amongst others.

Having moved back to Devon it was not long before I was elected Chair of the South West HECA Forum, a very different prospect to London. Before long the ‘HECA’ name was dropped in favour of the ‘Carbon Action Network’. But now there are very few local government energy officers left.

Away from my professional role I set up a blog which ran for many years – EnergyProfessional. I closed it down back in 2018.

HOWEVER, I continue to maintain an interest in all things energy, fuel poverty, climate change and sustainability related, and occasionally am able to write a post on the subject.

Energy & Environment Posts

My not-so-smart Meter?

It is perhaps rather late in the day – especially for an energy professional such as myself – but I now have a smart meter, and first impressions are not positive. How useful are they really?

Homes to Survive In

The weather I am experiencing in south west England is thankfully considerably more comfortable than is being experienced in parts of the north west seaboard of North America. We knew 25 years ago – and indeed earlier – that dramatic events like this would occur more frequently and more frighteningly right through the 21st century.…

Andover ZED – Zero Energy Development

It is possible to have a heating bill of £100 a year – or less. All we need to do is design well and, perhaps more importantly, build well. Are we capable of that in the UK?

Olympic Energy Centre

The Energy Centre under construction at the Olympic Park in Stratford was the largest project of its kind I had ever seen, providing low-carbon power, heat and cooling.

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