Will deemed scores be the future of ECO?
Will deemed scores be the future of ECO? Jun 20, 2016
Installers - would you prefer to know how much grant funding you can claim for a property without having to do an assessment?
Will deemed scores be the future of ECO?
Well, that could be the future of the Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme as policy writers consider a new deemed scoring system to replace the need for EPC assessments and Charted Surveyors reports.
On the 27th May, Ofgem released an open consultation on a new process to calculate ECO funding rates for different properties.
Instead of carrying out EPC assessments, properties would be given a deemed score (tonnes of carbon or lifetime savings) based on the measure being installed and the property type. For some measures the age of the property and the type of heating system will also be considered. This score represents the predicted average savings that can be achieved.
Installers would use a spreadsheet to work out the rate of funding they can claim for the measures they wish to install and the properties they are interested in targeting.
If approved, the new scoring system will be implemented on the 1st April 2017.
Installers have until 8th July to respond to the consultation.
What this means for installers
Deemed scores will certainly be less intrusive for customers, as installers can work out the amount of grant funding available without having to carry out an in-home survey. They will have a good idea of what funding can be applied and in many circumstances even offer residents a set price before a technical survey is even carried out. Less paper work and less red tape.
However, deemed scores eradicate the work of DEAs (Domestic Energy Advisors) who have spent time and money training themselves to work under ECO requirements. Without the need for EPCs, thousands of DEAs will be excluded from the process and many jobs could be at risk.
The new system effectively puts a cap on the amount of funding available. There would no longer be situations where a property could offer excessive funding opportunities, as carbon scores and heat costs savings will have already been pre-determined.
It might also deter installers from even considering working in areas with unprofitable housing stock (e.g. homes that have a lower deemed score). While this may help installers, it doesn’t help those vulnerable residents in fuel poverty who would benefit greatly from the funded measures.
Alongside the consultation, Ofgem have provided their calculations to show what scores will be given for different properties with different measures.
The Green Deal Provider, Happy Energy has done some useful analysis to help installers understand the proposed system included a table of calculations: Visit the Happy Energy website
Not surprisingly, homes with older and inefficient heating systems will receive a higher rating.
For example, a three bed semidetached house with electric storage heaters getting cavity wall insulation installed will receive a deemed score of 47.2 tonnes. At YES Energy Solutions current funding rates of £19 per tonne, this would mean £896.90 could be claimed against the measure.
The same property with gas central heating (more energy efficient) would receive a deemed score of only 18.46 tonnes - £350.74 funding available.
Room in Roof Issues
Critics have already pointed out that deemed scores for room in roof insulation are unfavourable under the new system and could signal the end of this measure.
BRE (the Building Research Establishment) have stated that there is not enough data available to work out an appropriate U-value in a Room in Roof as they don’t have enough evidence to determine the amount of existing insulation there may be. They suggest using the same default option as a normal loft which only gives a u-value of 0.696. This would mean that the funding available could be far less than the current EPC system.
Using the current methodology, many installers are finding favourable carbon scores as most properties requiring Room in Roof insulation are older than 1967. The default option using RdSAP is to select that no insulation is present, which boost the carbon saving potential of the measure.
Have Your Say
The consultation is your chance to highlight any concerns or improvements for the proposed deemed scoring system. Whether you think it will help or hinder the ECO process, let the policy writers know your thoughts before 8th July 2016.