INCA has published a manifesto ahead of the General Election calling on any future government to set out a clear role for EWI as part of a coherent energy efficiency strategy. Here, they deliver their message
INCA (Insulated Render and Cladding Association) is the recognised trade association for the external wall insulation (EWI) industry, representing the major system designers, a nationwide network of specialist installers and the key component suppliers. With 100 members, INCA represents over 80% of the EWI industry by volume and is at the forefront of transforming the energy efficiency of homes and businesses in the UK.
The recently published INCA manifesto builds on the findings of the report from the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR), Up Against the (Solid) Wall: What Changes to the ECO Mean for Energy Efficiency Policy, which demonstrates the substantial benefits of solid wall insulation for the UK, including the employment, health and social impacts on residents. INCA is calling for support for EWI to improve energy efficiency, cut fuel bills and lift households out of poverty and the manifesto makes the case for a long-term energy efficiency strategy with sustainable funding initiatives.
INCA Chairman Pádraig Barry said:
“There is still a huge challenge to meet with the latest government figures showing that only 3% of the 8 million solid wall properties in Britain have received insulation. At the current installation rate it will take around 150 years to insulate all solid wall homes, which undermines the important role upgrading our existing housing stock has on lowering carbon emissions and reducing fuel poverty. The General Election offers a real opportunity to make the industry’s voice heard and bring about a step change in the approach from government.”
SWI or EWI?
Solid wall insulation (SWI) includes both external wall insulation (EWI) and internal wall insulation (IWI). It involves the application of an insulation layer to the wall of a building in order to improve the building’s thermal efficiency. As solid wall properties have no cavities to fill, SWI is the only option to upgrade their energy performance. For EWI, a choice of cladding covers the insulation layer and this can be finished in a variety of ways with a result that not only improves the thermal efficiency of the building but also enhances its appearance. It is estimated that EWI represents around 75% of SWI installations1 and this rises to over 90% for Government-funded schemes2.
Vision for the EWI Industry
There are more than 8 million households in Britain living in solid wall properties who are suffering from the highest energy bills, including almost half of the country’s ‘fuel poor’3. With solid wall properties typically leaking twice as much heat as those with cavity walls, there is a vital and central role for EWI in improving energy efficiency, cutting fuel bills and lifting households out of fuel poverty.
The economic case
INCA is calling on any future government to recognise the economic case for investment in EWI to reduce carbon emissions and fuel poverty, to create growth in the UK economy, and to support community regeneration as set out in the IPPR report.
• For every £1 spent by government on the installation of SWI, the Exchequer can recover up to 100% of its investment depending on the funding option chosen.
• The insulation of 100,000 solid walls every year, which was the original target until 2022 under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), would directly and indirectly support up to 29,340 jobs.
• SWI provides a healthier living environment which reduces the burden on the NHS of typical lung and respiratory illnesses associated with living in poorly insulated properties.
• SWI also contributes to area regeneration by improving not only the appearance and value of individual properties but whole estates.
• As SWI is a labour intensive construction activity, it can create significant local training and job opportunities which can help to re-establish a sense of ownership and pride in areas that suffer from anti-social behaviour.
• In turn, this can help to connect communities, increase social capital and deliver a better quality of life for residents.
If value for money remains central to policy decisions, then any future government must recognise EWI as a cost effective solution.
An energy efficiency strategy
We are also calling on any future government to deliver a coherent energy efficiency strategy which supports 200,000 EWI installs by March 20174 and an ambitious upscale with interim targets in line with delivering the Committee on Climate Change’s indicator of 3.5 million solid wall properties insulated by 2030.5
• The industry needs a clear commitment to energy efficiency which is long-term, joined up, and supported by investment.
• Energy efficiency is the only long-term solution to rising energy costs and should be a national infrastructure capital investment priority.
• As EWI maximises the efficiency of the building fabric to provide the greatest energy savings, there should be a clear role identified for EWI within energy efficiency policy.
• By September 2014, almost 14 million cavity wall properties had received insulation (72%) compared to just over 270,000 solid wall properties (3%)6.
• Any strategy needs to take into account solid wall properties as with no cavity to fill, the cheaper solution of cavity wall insulation is not an option.
• Upgrading these homes is a long term task and there must be a realistic upscale of EWI to make a meaningful start on addressing the eight million households that need EWI otherwise at the current installation rate it will take around 150 years to insulate all solid wall homes.7
If warm, healthy and energy efficient homes are a priority, then any future government must support the delivery of EWI on a large scale.
A future government should also commit to consistent energy efficiency policies and targets that provide certainty and stability for the EWI industry in order for businesses to invest and plan for the future to the benefit of its clients.
• The industry up-scaled its workforce to meet the expected demand for insulation as a result of ECO; however, it is currently facing 20,000 job losses 8 as a result of policy change and a subsequent 75% reduction in the target for SWI.
• Inconsistent policy changes have created a damaging boom and bust cycle which is hugely detrimental to the industry and its clients.
• In the face of rising energy prices, the need for effective energy efficiency solutions is more significant than ever, yet it is difficult for businesses to invest or plan until there is a clear and consistent approach to energy efficiency policy.
• INCA members are at the forefront of industry developments and a more consistent approach would support and encourage innovation in systems, components and installation methods.
If significant improvements in energy efficiency is a goal, then any future government must help the EWI industry to move forward with a far greater degree of certainty.
INCA also believe that any future government should prioritise funding for sustainable initiatives developed with input from the industry.
• The Green Deal has failed to live up to expectations due to flawed planning, inefficient delivery of funding and poor implementation9; ECO targets for SWI have been cut by more than 75%; and there is ongoing uncertainty around the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF).
• Funding initiatives should be well designed and managed with input from the industry so that the industry can deliver energy efficiency improvements effectively and successfully.
• The benefits of installing EWI to homeowners are wide-ranging so funding initiatives should not undermine the value of EWI.
• If there is limited funding, this should be directed towards the fuel poor to support hard to treat measures.
• The stop-start nature of GDHIF is not only a setback for the industry but also for customers planning energy efficiency improvements and it is important that funding initiatives are sustainable in the long term.
• Industry engagement is key to developing funding initiatives that are appropriate, well-managed and sustainable and linked to wider sector policies and funding streams.
• Consideration should also be given to legislation and policy changes which could help to drive demand for EWI in the long term and provide a more sustainable position for the industry.
If public money is to be spent in a cost effective way, then any future government must focus on initiatives that support the EWI industry to meet the needs of its clients.
1 An analysis of the market for external wall insulation, BDS Marketing Research, 2013.
2 The Final Report of the Community Energy Savings Programme (CESP) 2009 – 2012 and Domestic Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation and Insulation Levels in Great Britain, Quarterly Report, December 2014.
3 Fuel Poverty: changing the framework for measurement. Taking forward the recommendations from the Hills Review Department for Energy and Climate Change, 2012.
4 INCA’s response to ‘The Future of ECO Consultation’ called for an increase in the SWI minimum to 200,000 to March 2017.
5 Energy Prices and Bills – impacts of meeting carbon budgets, Committee on Climate Change, December 2014.
6 Domestic Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation and Insulation Levels in Great Britain, Quarterly Report, December 2014.
7 Based on the current rate of installations set out in the Domestic Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation and Insulation Levels in Great Britain, Quarterly Report, December 2014.
8 Up Against the (Solid) Wall: What Changes to the ECO Mean for Energy Efficiency Policy, IPPR, April 2014.
9 The Green Deal: watching brief (part 2) – Energy and Climate Change, House of Commons Select Committee on Energy and Climate Change, September 2014.
INCA (Insulated Render and Cladding Association)
Tel: +44 (0)844 249 0040