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Energy Efficiency

Volume 201: debated on Monday 13 January 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what initiatives his Department has undertaken to encourage construction firms (i) to ensure maximum standards of energy efficiency in buildings and (ii) to use energy efficient materials;(2) if he will review all aspects of the Building Regulations and codes of practice with a particular view to improving the long-term durability of construction and energy efficiency;(3) if he will make it his policy to adopt new standards for house building and introduce a requirement for all newly built, converted or renovated properties to undergo energy audits.

The Building Regulations and codes of practice are kept under review. The Department supports a programme of research at the Building Research Establishment and elsewhere with annual expenditure of £10 million.Provisions in the Building Regulations for higher standards of energy efficiency came into force in April last year. The Government are committed to seeing how these standards could be further strengthened, including improved provisions when properties are converted or renovated.A Government "standard assessment procedure" for comparing home energy labels was introduced on 18 December. It is our intention that this system should be developed to enable it to be incorporated into the Building Regulations when these are next amended.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment whether his Department has any plans to carry out an audit of low-income households to identify the steps needed to make homes energy efficient.

Changes between years in the standard spending assessments for Shropshire
EducationPersonal social servicesAll services
Year£ millionPer cent.£ millionPer cent.£ millionPer cent.
1989–90–1990–916·0485·03·04815·413·6097·0
1990–91–1991–9217·27413·54·80821·333·69816·1
1991–92–1992–938·5225·92·5059·213·9455·8

The 1991 English house condition survey will include an "energy audit" of dwellings in the sample and record achieved room temperatures and fuel consumption. It will provide an estimate of the energy efficiency of the housing stock, including the homes of low-income households, and the measures needed to make dwellings energy efficient.