Combined Heat & Power

Demand Side Services

Energy Efficiency

Heat Networks

Bringing buildings’ energy measurement into the 21st Century – Green Finance Institute puts forward

16 February 2021

The Green Finance Institute’s Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings (CEEB) today releases a report recommending a new protocol for real-time ‘metering’ of energy savings in UK buildings, and outlining the data points it should include. 

A national, standardised way to measure the energy saved by retrofit works to our homes is vital to unlock up to £65 billion of investment1 needed to decarbonise our existing building stock. Creating a robust new measurement standard underpins the UK Government’s drive towards greener homes, detailed in its 2020 Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution2.

Towards a protocol for metered energy savings in UK buildings is the outcome of collaboration by over 20 CEEB member organisations, including EnergyPro, Energy Systems Catapult and University College London (UCL). Recognising that technology is now sufficiently advanced to provide an accurate measurement of household energy use, the report sets out recommendations for a new protocol to calculate real-time energy savings – based on the estimated amount of energy that would have been used in a specific building had an energy efficiency retrofit not taken place.

Establishing a UK-wide, standardised metered energy savings protocol is a critical part of building a mainstream finance market for residential retrofitting. With it, financial institutions could better assess the risk of providing capital to energy efficiency projects, helping to underpin the development of new financial products and services. It will also help lenders certify the environmental impact of green home retrofits – a current challenge to scaling the green home finance market – and allow them to measure the overall energy performance of their mortgage portfolios. Insurers will have accurate risk data with which to underwrite energy-efficiency programmes, providing protection for both consumers and investors, and enabling contractors to offer performance guarantees.

The CEEB is now inviting feedback from energy, data, retrofit and finance professionals, in order to further develop the technical proposal and demonstrate the benefits the protocol can unlock with pilot retrofit projects – two of which have already been identified.

Dr Rhian-Mari Thomas OBE, Chief Executive of the Green Finance Institute:

“It is vital to design and embed a more accurate, granular and real-time approach to measuring energy savings than is currently available. Adoption of a Metered Energy Savings protocol by the energy and retrofit sectors would build confidence among the finance community and benefit consumers looking to decarbonise their homes, thereby creating the enabling conditions for the retrofit finance market to scale at the pace the UK desperately needs.”

Alex Rathmell, Managing Director, EnergyPro:

“The UK needs to mobilise vast investment to decarbonise its buildings. The good news is that these investments create cost savings and other benefits for residents and the energy system as a whole, but there is currently no standardised, affordable way to measure these outcomes on a building-by-building basis. Instead we rely on estimates and models, which tell us nothing about the impact of a retrofit on a household’s finances, or whether good comfort and health outcomes have been achieved. This is a major barrier to developing the new policies, programmes and financial products needed for at-scale retrofit.

"This report proposes a universal methodology for ‘metering savings’ that is based on good practice from around the world, and that addresses the issues that are important for the UK: protecting householders and their data, assuring quality, and integrating with the array of other initiatives being piloted by the GFI and elsewhere. We will be developing and testing the new protocol over the coming months with the aim of releasing it in a fully documented, open source form that the whole industry can benefit from.”

George Simms, Senior Project Manager, Energy Systems Catapult:

“A standardised approach for measuring energy savings will help to improve consumer confidence in the market and help make financing retrofit more straightforward. It’s an important part of creating a good customer journey to help people decarbonise their homes.” 

Tadj Oreszczyn, Professor of Energy and Environment, UCL Energy Institute:

“Reducing energy demand in our homes is key to the UK meeting its climate targets. The national roll-out of smart meters is revolutionising the way we can monitor our net zero transition. This report lays the foundations for developing a standardised method of measuring the energy impact of the transitions that our homes will have to go through in the coming decade. This is an important tool to help home owners and businesses to value the impact improved insulation and heating can have on energy use in our homes.” 

Pedro Guertler, Programme Leader, Place Based Transitions, E3G:

“Accelerating the scale and pace of green home retrofits will be crucial for getting the UK on track to meet its climate targets. However, currently it’s nearly impossible to accurately measure the energy and carbon savings associated with these measures, such as installing new roof insultation or double glazing. This new protocol for ‘metering’ energy savings in the UK will be critical to getting largescale investors on board to support to new markets for green home retrofit products and services – with accurate data providing the confidence needed to scale up action and investment.”

For more information contact: Rosie Cade, rosie.cade@gfi.green +44 (0) 7838 368194, or see the original press release on the Green Finance Iinstitute website.

ADE Newsletter