Energy efficiency to be the new regulatory focus

A fringe meeting of junior ministers at the Conservative Party Conference last week has led to a suggestion that great energy efficiency in public buildings would achieve better value for money for taxpayers and could be a focus for the Treasury spending review.

Exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick stated that one of the focuses in the upcoming spending review for 2019 will be how money is being spent wisely through the lens of energy efficiency. He suggests that when schools, hospitals and other public buildings are commissioned by local authorities, the first thought should be whether they meet modern energy efficiency standards and ways of construction. He hopes that the public sector can lead the way on this and that it will flow through to standard building practices.

Jenrick suggests that this is one of the best value for money interventions that the government can make.

The chief executive of British Gas owner Centrica has stated that while the thinks Treasury sees the value in this, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is failing to get the message. He says that they don’t seem to have even gotten off the starting blocks with this message.

Richard Howard from research consultancy Aurora Energy stated that the government seems to be putting money into the wrong things. For example, they are considering scrapping the winter fuel payment in favour of energy efficiency measures. He suggests that new regulation needs to be put in place for the new build industry to improve housing stock. He points out that this move will not be a vote winner and that the money could be redirected in better ways.