DECC Not Fazed By Green Deal Overheating Claims

12 July 2013

Reports that home improvements made under the Government's flagship energy efficiency scheme could lead to overheating in UK homes have been challenged by the Government.

In a report by the BBC, it was claimed that installation of Green Deal measures like Cavity Wall Insulation and Loft Insulation, measures designed to reduce heating bills during the winter months, could instead lead to overheating during the summer.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) however believes that it is a lack of insulation and energy efficiency that is the real problem at hand.

The Green Deal was launched on 28 January 2013 in a bid to reduce the nation's carbon emissions while improving the energy efficiency of its housing stock. Under the scheme, householders can take out a loan to pay for energy efficient home improvement measures, including Loft Insulation and Cavity Wall Insulation, and then repay the loan via their fuel bill.

The Government hopes to insulate millions of homes as well as create 60,000 new jobs in the insulation sector as a direct result of the Green Deal.

But a recent report has suggested these insulation measures may actually be harmful.

In a study conducted by Professor Chris Goodier of Lougborough University and Prof. Li Shao of the University of Reading, it was suggested that the risk of overheating has been overlooked in the “big rush to insulate and make homes airtight”.

“Overheating is like the little boy at the back of the class waving his hand, ” Goodier told the BBC. “It is forgotten about because the other challenges are so big. ”

According to research, homes that are insulated in the wrong manner will suffer from a lack of cool air, with the biggest impact on the elderly or infirm who are forced to stay home all day.

Goodier told the BBC: “If you are in the wrong type of house, facing the wrong way [south], in the wrong street and you don't deal with heat in the right way, it is a problem. Particularly for the elderly. They are going to suffer. Suffering means they are going to die from overheating. ”

The DECC refuses to jump to such drastic conclusions though. In response to the report's findings, the department issued the following statement:

“The real problem facing our nation's draughty homes is a lack of adequate insulation and energy efficiency in the colder months. ”

“The Green Deal is giving households a new way to fund improvements, helping them protect themselves against rising energy bills and keep homes warm and cosy in the autumn and winter. ”

"If energy efficiency measures are installed appropriately, overheating should not be a common problem and there's guidance available for those involved in the Green Deal.

"DECC is working with experts and other government departments to understand the potential risk of overheating in retrofitted homes and ensure that the energy efficiency supply chain, including those working within the Green Deal, are aware and guidance is provided on homes which are most likely to be vulnerable and what steps could be taken to minimise any risk of overheating."

Previous studies suggest that 25,000 people die each year as a direct result of cold weather, compared to 2,000 because of overheating.

The Government believes some eight million homes could benefit from Solid Wall Insulation; six million from Cavity Wall Insulation; and 5.5 million from Loft Insulation.

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