each home counts

Each Home Counts briefing PaperBriefing Paper on Each Home Counts with Reference to Domestic Energy Retrofit

Posted by: Laura on January 11 2018 | Tagged: New projects, Industry News

The long awaited Each Home Counts (EHC) Report (the Bonfield Review) was published in December 2016.  This report provides a summary of the recommendations of the report and how this might be used to shape future policy and legislation in Scotland and the wider UK. 


Over 4 million UK households are currently in fuel poverty; with over 44% of the population living in the lowest energy efficient dwellings and 78% of the people are classed as ‘vulnerable’. Scotland, Wales and NI are the worst affected areas although pockets of England such as the North West, Cornwall and the North East are badly affected too: 35% of all Scottish households are classified as ‘fuel poor’, rising to over 50% of all households in rural Scotland. Whilst nationally, fiscal and structural changes to the approach are needed to eradicate fuel poverty, improving the thermal performance of dwellings and engagement with householders to encourage them to make improvements themselves have critical roles to play. Colin King, Director of BRE Wales and expert in the ‘unintended consequences of retrofit’, states that: of the 2,500+ properties he has inspected (random sampling) that have had improvements undertaken, virtually none were done to a high or highly effective standard. Often leaving vulnerable, poor householders in a worse position than prior to the improvements happening.

Despite years of government subsidies to make improvements; publicly funded promotion and customer support and advice programs, the total number of people in fuel poverty has continued to rise. Too often householders have been let down through poor quality workmanship and wrong measures being applied. As a result, in July 2015, the Secretaries of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), now part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) jointly commissioned an ‘Independent Review of Consumer Advice, Protection, Standards and Enforcement’ for home energy efficiency and renewable energy measures in the United Kingdom’.


EHC Review

The EHC Review focusses particularly on the rights of the ‘customer’ and covers:

Consumer advice and protection

What supports consumers’ decisions ahead of the installation, and what assistance is available when things go wrong?

Standards framework

What ensures that the right products are fitted to the right properties in the right way during the installation?

Monitoring and enforcement

What ensures that poor quality work is dealt with effectively, and do arrangements for audit, compliance-checking and sanctions provide sufficient assurance of this?

This Report sets out the results of the Review and proposals for development of a clear action plan for industry to lead on and deliver over the coming years.

The EHC Reports covered all aspects of the current energy efficiency offering in the UK, making 25 recommendations in all, to improve the key elements of these approaches, including 

  • Consumer Protection   
  • Advice and Guidance    
  • Quality and Standards 
  • Skills and Training           
  • Compliance and Enforcement  
  • Insulation and Fabric    
  • Smart Meters   
  • Home Energy Technologies         
  • Application to Social Housing   

 An overview of the recommendations in each area can be seen in Appendix A. (leave out or provide a link if you prefer….) I have attached a pdf copy of the report in the email. 

Central to the recommendations of the EHC Report are wide ranging changes that are required to deliver the assurance and peace of mind for consumers that the right retrofit product(s), for the right reason, to the right standard will be recommended; will then be installed by a competent work force with right knowledge, skills and application, and finally if failure does occur, a clear and single mechanism for redress is available.


Taking forward the EHC

The Review team is working closely with the work stream leads to review the new and existing work streams, ensuring they are in line with the Report’s recommendations.  The Review team are now reflecting on their own roles and responsibilities as implementation plans for the Review take shape.

Work-streams are:

  • Quality Mark Functions
  • Monitoring & Enforcement
  • Consumer Protection
  • Standards
  • Delivery Organisation
  • Information Hub & Data Warehouse
  • Skills & Training
  • Data Privacy & Protection
  • Finance & Insurance
  •  Building Fabric & Technology
  •  Home Energy Technology & Renewables


To contact the Review team about any of the work streams email to eachhomecounts@beis.gov.uk.  


BRE is in the process of developing training materials to support people at all levels in the industry to improve understanding of the issues, increase the quality of installations and achieve better outcomes for occupants of buildings where retrofit measures are being undertaken.

Lori McElroy – Director Energy and Research BRE Scotland

Rufus Logan – Group Director BRE Scotland, Wales and the South West

Colin King – Director BRE Wales


Appendix A


Recommendation 1

Develop a set of minimum requirements for a Code of Conduct for all organisations that wish to gain the quality mark, including agreed requirements on issues such as sales practices, better pre- contractual information, and a requirement for appropriate financial protections for installations.


Recommendation 2

From the Code of Conduct, write a clear Consumer Charter setting out what a household can expect from organisations across the energy efficiency and renewable energy sector covering the entire consumer journey.


Recommendation 3

Ensure the quality mark is easily recognised by consumers as providing appropriate protection and effective signposting to reliable organisations that meet its requirements through sustained promotion


Recommendation 4

Put in place a consistent and fair redress process, including providing a single point of contact for consumers, with the capability to support vulnerable consumers, an agreed standard for complaint handling, and access to ADR

Recommendation 5

Develop new approaches for engaging consumers with energy efficiency and renewable energy (e.g. by using trigger points and promoting the wider benefits of the measures which are valued by households), and deliver awareness-raising programmes at national and local levels.


Recommendation 6

Make available a set of impartial information and guidance to support more effective industry communications with customers and to aid consumer decision-making on installing measures, by establishing a central Information Hub (to act as a collection point for best practice advice and guidance) and a Data Warehouse (to act as a store for property-level data and information).


Recommendation 7

Develop a range of services and tools linked to the Information Hub and Data Warehouse to provide advice (both online and by telephone) and to enable engagement with all consumers, including vulnerable households, in ways most appropriate to them.


Recommendation 8

Develop an overarching standards framework document for the end-to-end delivery of retrofit of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures, building on existing standards and make it freely available (under licence) to all those installing under the new Framework

Recommendation 9

Establish a Retrofit Standards Task Group to address the UK’s standards needs in the retrofit sector in the broadest sense, i.e. including formal and non-formal standard solutions, as appropriate in the short and long-term.

Recommendation 10

Commission a research project to map existing formal and informal standards to shape and deliver a standards development programme for retrofit.


Recommendation 11

Industry to begin to embed core knowledge, including basic building physics, design stage and consumer interaction into all relevant vocational and professional pathways, including qualifications, training courses and apprenticeships.


Recommendation 12

Improve the way in which businesses are assessed for ‘competence’, acknowledging the correct mix of skills, knowledge and experience for all roles; and back this up with a consistent assessment strategy and Approach to recognising Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).


Recommendation 13

Establish a process for greater collaboration within the skills sector to ensure that the appropriate skills and knowledge are properly and consistently integrated across the sector and are available for all.


Recommendation 14

Develop, deliver and maintain a strong consumer- facing brand in the form of a new quality mark, which provides effective redress for the consumer and has a positive association with reputable products and services.


Recommendation 15

Identify or establish an organisation to develop and oversee the quality mark and facilitate activities for the day-to-day management of the quality mark, including enforcement, sanctions, technical, operational, and consumer protection related activities.


Recommendation 16

Put in place a robust and joined-up industry-wide compliance and enforcement regime coordinated nationally; share information on  the quality of assessors, designers and installers to facilitate the identification and sanctioning of   poor practice as necessary; and review and align the frequency of performing, technical monitoring or of on-site audits, possibly introducing a random audit and risk-based approach (where the monitoring frequency is increased when poor quality installations are detected.


Recommendation 17

All retrofit projects will have an appropriate design stage process which takes a holistic approach and adequately considers the home, its local environment, heritage, occupancy, and the householders’ improvement objectives when determining suitable measures.


Recommendation 18

Put in place a process for gathering information and the design specification ahead of any installation of insulation or fabric measures; store this in the Data Warehouse for future use and to facilitate continuous improvement; and load aftercare support and quality information into the Data Warehouse following an installation.


Recommendation 19

Ensure that the Insulation and Fabric work stream feeds into the standards, skills and quality assurance development processes, and that these reflect best practice, and fully take account of the issues specific to the measures.

Recommendation 20

Provide tailored home energy efficiency advice to consumers during the smart meter installation visit, and ensure key delivery partners work together to deliver a good customer journey throughout the roll-out.


Recommendation 21

Industry should work together to ensure that the capacity and skills of smart meter installers deliver a safe and efficient roll-out.


Recommendation 22

Industry should work together effectively to ensure that smart meters can be installed in as many properties as possible, regardless of property type.


Recommendation 23

Undertake a review of all technologies covered by the Framework to identify compatibility with the new Framework; and develop action plans for each technology, as required, to align with the new Framework.


Recommendation 24

Industry to develop a set of independent, impartial advice documents and/or web-based tools for both consumers and the supply chain covering each specific technology, where possible using existing material, and working with the organisation responsible for delivering the Information Hub.


Recommendation 25

Ensure the new framework is sufficiently flexible to cover existing technologies and facilitate the entrance of new technologies; and develop a route map setting out the steps that new technologies will need to go through to operate under the Framework


Recommendation 26

Industry to develop any relevant new standards, specifications and guidance covering the integration and inter-operability of home energy technologies under the Framework, and consider these as part of the standards mapping exercise recommended by the   Quality and Standards work stream.



Recommendation 27

Housing Associations will collaborate with industry and government to ensure that the Framework applies to the delivery of improvements in their housing stock, incorporating energy efficiency and renewable energy measures at scale.




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