New research shows a programme to make homes energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority for Government. The Report confirms that energy efficiency can be classified as infrastructure and delivers economic benefits comparable to HS2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads.
Findings build on analysis which shows deploying infrastructure funds to support an energy efficiency programme could create up to 108,000 new jobs and boost Britain’s energy security. A coalition of 50 business leaders, representing over 100,000 employees, including Kingfisher, Knauf Insulation, Co-operative Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Keepmoat, Willmott Dixon and Worcester Bosch have called on Government to create new national infrastructure programme
Making this country’s homes highly energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority, according to new independent research published by Frontier Economics.
The research reveals that a programme to make UK homes energy efficient would provide net economic benefits of £8.7 billion, based on the Governments own economic analysis, delivering comparable economic benefits to infrastructure initiatives such as HS2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads.
This builds on analysis from Cambridge Econometrics which shows that major jobs, economic and energy security benefits would be created as a resultof an ambitious energy efficiency infrastructure programme. It could:
• Reduce gas imports by 26%, strengthening Britain’s energy security
• Deliver a net increase in employment of up to 108,000 jobs
Over 50 leading businesses and energy leaders, representing over 100,000 employees, including Kingfisher, Knauf Insulation, Co-operative Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Keepmoat, Willmott Dixon and Worcester Bosch have written today to the Chancellor, calling on Government to deploy infrastructure budgets to create a new energy efficiency national infrastructure programme.
This follows a move in Scotland in August where the five main political parties, including the Scottish Conservatives, committed to outlining plans in their manifestos to improve home energy efficiency through a “national infrastructure project”. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has called on industry and consumer groups to work with the Government to make new, stable policy and build a system that works for the longer term.
The call for action comes as the Government is finalising its spending plans in the lead up to the Spending Review when £100 billion is anticipated to be allocated to support infrastructure projects over the next 5 years. If just £3 billion of this was allocated to an energy efficiency infrastructure programme, it could help establish a world leading energy efficiency programme if combined with current funding streams.
Director of the Energy Bill Revolution, Ed Matthew, said: “The Government has rightly decided that it is time for a rethink on energy efficiency. Now it is essential to develop a new, value for money infrastructure programme that works to keep our homes warm and bills down.”
“Today’s research is clear: investing in energy efficiency offers significant net economic benefits to the nation, comparable to infrastructure investments in roads and railways. A major energy infrastructure programme would boost GDP growth, reduce the UK’s reliance on gas imports and help deliver a net increase in employment across the country. It would also have the additional benefit of keeping energy bills down, reducing health costs and warming up the homes of the fuel poor.”
Sarah Deasley, Director at Frontier Economics, said: “The Government has identified productivity as one of the key economic challenges of our time. Our analysis shows an energy efficiency programme can boost UK productivity and has comparable economic benefits to other major infrastructure projects, providing excellent value for money. There is a strong case for energy efficiency to be made an infrastructure investment priority.”
Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability & Communications Director at Kingfisher, said: “Better homes lead to better lives and fixing Britain’s draughty homes would be a triple win. It would be good for bill-payers, good for our economy, and good for our environment too.”
“It would provide a massive boost to jobs and more than pays for itself. Ultimately, an investment in the infrastructure of our homes is an investment in the productivity and prosperity of the UK.”
This country’s draughty homes are amongst the most expensive to heat in Europe. The UK has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in Western Europe, as well as one of the worst proportions of homes in a poor state of repair.
While most other European countries face higher energy prices than those of the UK, better quality home insulation means most of our European neighbours pay less to heat their homes. The UK scores poorly against other European countries on a range of measures, including the affordability of heating, the share of household expenditure going on heating, and the ability of homes to keep heat in.
Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?
Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?
Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.
Is Biofuel Green?
One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.
Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?
Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.
Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.
Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.
Benefits Of Biomass
The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.
Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.
7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees
As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.
After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:
One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.
While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.
Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies
Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.
The Ability To Work Remotely
It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.
Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.
Unlimited Time Off
This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.
A Full Pantry
Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.
Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!