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Observer Ethical awards Winners 2011

YouGen Blog

Ashden Awards winner lists ways to increase uptake of retrofit

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 18 July 2011 at 10:20 am

Hampshire-based Radian housing association won the Gold at this year's Ashden Awards, for an ambitious and innovative programme of retrofitting hard-to-treat homes and building eco-homes that far exceed the current minimum standards for energy efficiency.

Paul Ciniglio, Radian's sustainability and innovation manager used his five minutes speaking at the Ashden conference to present his list of voluntary and compulsory measures that he thinks we need to encourage the uptake of energy efficiency retrofits. It was a heartfelt plea, and an inspiring list, so I've reproduced it in full below.

"The challenge is how do you make household energy efficency the must-have accessory or investment you make? It needs to be the conversation after a dinner party. We need to make it a bit sexier.

"We need to consider the role of the media. They must have a sustained and accurate approach to highlight the benefits of retrofit to residents.

"I’d like to see a reversal of the current apathy to energy performance certificates (EPCs), and also to see estate agents upsell retrofits and understanding how to value the investments that people make in energy efficiency and microgeneration.

"I'd like to see EPCs displayed in every estate agent's shop window, and to begin to make the affordability of running a home just as important as its location.

"We need also to see support from trusted and competent community liaison personnel, not only on the technical aspects of retrofit, but critically on the retrofit process. It’s a very emotive time if people are being decanted from their home and these people need support to understand this.

"Please scrap the 5% VAT rate currently applied to energy-efficiency related measures. I believe we do need some legisltion and some target setting to help us move towards the big challenge of 2050 that we need to achieve. And I’d like to see higher stamp duty applied progressively on EPC bands D, E, F and G with the excess repaid post a retrofit to reach band A or B, while still respecting our cultural heritage.

"I believe that both private and public landlords should not be permitted to let a home of band E or below by 2013, not just bands F and G as currently being debated.

"I would also like to see the previously debated consequential improvements to homes be introduced as part of building regs so that when that home is extended or substantially altered the energy performance of that home is uprated rather than just having one super-insulated extension."

This list carries weight because Radian is practicing what it preaches. If you had the chance to tell energy ministers what they should do to encourage energy efficiency, what would be on your list?

Photos: Ashden Awards

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