HECA - a legislative framework for the promotion and implementation of energy efficiency

Author: 19/11/2014

The Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) is one of the few local authority legislative reporting frameworks in relation to the promotion and implementation of energy efficiency. HECA can be used as a lever to make the case for getting some projects off the ground to incentivise energy efficiency.

Our experience shows that a relatively small grant can go a long way. For example, as part of the Eco Town project in Bicester, we operated a £300 cashback scheme for boiler replacements. Launched in April 2014, the scheme had received well over 200 applications by November, helping many residents in the area significantly reduce their energy bills, cut carbon and help the environment.

In many cases, this cashback value represents less than 10% towards the costs to the householder, but has still resulted in an impressive take-up of the project. In partnership with Oxford City Council, we have just this month launched a series of cashback offers to help privately renting tenants who are vulnerable to fuel poverty: their landlords can claim £500 for a high-efficiency boiler, up to £200 for cavity wall insulation, and up to £150 for loft insulation.

At our latest HECA Seminar, held on Thursday 16 October in Amersham, approximately 30 delegates attended, representing over 20 local authorities and Green Homes Together. Our keynote speaker was Steve Ives from the Department of Energy and Climate Change, who provided an insightful update on the requirements for the next HECA report, due 31 March 2015. He also provided some flagship examples of best practice. In summary, for those local authorities who didn’t achieve the results as set out in their report two years ago, due to, for example, difficulties with changes in Green Deal and ECO grants, a revised action plan should be produced outlining plans for the next HECA period. For those authorities who produced a light-touch report previously, DECC would look for a more in-depth report this time around, again, highlighting proposed actions to promote energy-efficiency improvements for the coming two years.

Also presenting were Andy Bowe for Cherwell District Council’s Eco Bicester team, Debbie Haynes from Oxford City Council and our Brad Hook, Director of Local Authority and Economic Services. Following a networking lunch, the afternoon was spent looking at specific topics, via facilitated workshops: 'Getting Your Project off the Ground' and 'Making Good Use of Your Data'. Both workshops highlighted the advantages of robust data, in preparation for future potential funding opportunities, and emphasised the need to make the very best use of the limited resources currently available.

The presentations and outputs from the day are available: