Narec’s Tom Bradley tells us about fuel poverty, at Greenbuild 2012
Author: David Thomas
Published: Monday, 28 May 2012
Narec is an independent company concerned with developing and integrating renewable energy and other sustainable measures. We spoke to Tom Bradley about fuel poverty in the UK.
Among other things, Narec is a research leader in fuel poverty in UK. The Green Deal, to be launched this October, is tasked with reducing fuel poverty: an ambitious project.
Fuel poverty refers to a lifestyle in which heating the home is too expensive. In the UK, 3,000 deaths are attributed to fuel poverty a year. Energy prices are on the rise and the economy is not faring well, but the main cause of fuel poverty is that the UK’s housing stock is old and energy inefficient.
Incomplete insulation can lose 70% of a house’s heat, and 60% of your energy bill is due to the efficiency of your boiler. An inefficient boiler (G is the lowest rating) is estimated to waste around £300 per year. The result of such expensive heating means homes are not heated, and those that are uninsulated obviously retain zero heat: inefficiency like this makes a home cold, damp and a potential health risk.
£850m is spent per year on health problems that arise from uninsulated homes, and the damp in 3 million UK homes, caused by leaking, is serious enough to pose significant health risks.
Scroll down for the video interview, and scroll further for the transcript.
Interview with Tom Bradley of Narec
Tom tells us about Narec’s work analyzing fuel poverty, and the consequences faced by the UK for our badly insulated, inefficient homes.
Tom Bradley:”Narec is the national renewable energy centre and it covers a whole wide range of different renewable energy technologies.
The Government funded part of the organisation works on offshore wave, wind and tidal, whereas the part of the organisation I work for - Distributed Energy Division - is focussed on fuel poverty, on energy master-planning for whole cities and towns, and also focussed in detail on training as well: provided accredited training for installers, and also bespoke training for specific issues that different customers have.”
The Eco Experts: Could you say a little bit about fuel poverty in the UK?
Tom Bradley: “Well, Narec's been working quite heavily on fuel poverty through different projects at the moment. There's a major issue in the UK at the moment in whichever way you measure fuel poverty, be it: 10% of your income would be spent on heating, if your home was heated to a reasonable level, or if you take the new definition which is in the Hill's Report, both of them show that there is a major issue, where many people in the UK cannot heat their homes.
And if you look at the statistics, around 3,000 people every winter, die in the UK due to fuel poverty. So, Narec is working on various projects, including one with the European Regional Development Fund in which we are looking at hard-to-treat housing, Wimpey No-Fines, and improving these homes: pulling in data-loggers
to discover how effective the installations are, the fabric improvements, the photovoltaics (solar PV), etc. and we're working with South Tyneside Homes and Northumberland County Council on this.
In addition to this we're working on projects looking at heat-pumps that have been installed in social housing, recommending photovoltaic systems for social housing, and also doing some more experimental things: looking at specific buildings such as Tyneside Flats in the North-East of England, working with charities such as Ground Works. So through doing this, we're finding different solutions for social housing, but at the same time helping lift many people out of fuel poverty.”