Local area statistics:
- Detached (51%) and semi-detached (31%) are the most common house types across the three villages of Cropredy, Hook Norton and Launton.
- Oil central heating (54%) and electric central heating (15%) are the most common domestic heating systems.
- The overall share of fuel poor households is about 9% in Cropredy and Hook Norton and 6% in Launton.
- The average energy performance asset rating is 48 (E rating band) and 98 (D rating band) for domestic and non-domestic properties respectively.
Cherwell District Council commissioned NEF to undertake a study to:
- Quantify the specific impact of mains gas supply in terms of energy cost savings, reduced emissions of CO2, fuel poverty mitigation, health and wellbeing and economic development.
- Explore commercial options offered by key gas suppliers operating in the area.
- Investigate the views of local businesses and housing developers around the prospect of financial partnerships with Cherwell District Council.
Services we provided:
- GIS-based mapping. A spatial analysis of the three villages via a geographic information system (GIS-based mapping) including the possible reach of the extension pipelines.
- Building stock analysis. In-depth profiling of domestic and non-domestic buildings in relation to aspects such as built form, age band, building type, tenure type and energy use. 12 building archetype models were created.
- Energy modelling. Archetyping work to identify reference buildings representatives of the local building stock. Each domestic archetype was subject to an energy assessment to estimate the heating energy end-use before and after mains gas uptake in order to ultimately assess the heating energy savings across all domestic properties for each village.
- Business model. Benchmarking against gas network extension projects and partnering arrangements in other contexts. Consultation with gas suppliers to explore alternative business models and a survey of local businesses and Parish Clerks’ views around the project.
We found that a mains gas extension would have the potential to trigger a variety of potential benefits to the local villages:
- Reduced energy use for space heating and domestic hot water uses (unregulated energy use such as cooking were not part of the study).
- Reduced CO2 emissions compared to more carbon-intensive systems.
- Reduced energy costs due to the cheaper gas tariff.
- Wider societal benefits including fuel poverty alleviation and improved energy security.
We also discovered:
- A general appetite in favour of natural gas from local businesses and the parish villages.
- The project's feasibility was severely affected by the high upfront cost, which was the main deterrent to the business case.
- The total investment cost for extending the gas network was about £10,000 per connection (customer).
- Alternative heating systems, such as renewable energy-based systems, should be considered as options.
A switch to gas was estimated to unlock, on average:
- 27% savings in the energy use for heating and domestic hot water of domestic properties.
- Around 50% and 80% reduction in the CO2 emissions of domestic and non-domestic properties.
- Around 55% reduction in the energy cost for both domestic and non-domestic properties.
- £750 annual saving per house.