Climate change

Saving energy and tackling climate change at home and in other buildings

Home Energy Conservation Act

In 1995, the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) placed a duty on councils to submit a report to government on the measures required to improve home energy efficiency by 30% over a 10-15 year period.

In 2012, the government published refreshed guidance under the Act, requiring local authorities to prepare and submit a further report to government by the end of March 2013, setting out:

"the energy conservation measures that the council considers practicable, cost-effective and likely to result in significant improvement in the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in the area".

The report and the action plan has to be updated every 2 years.

Read the Home Energy Conservation Act Report 2021.

Each report sets out the actions the council proposes to take to help bring about a significant improvement in home energy efficiency.

The actions are flexible and may change to reflect changing local circumstances.

Water saving

One of the effects of climate change is the reduction of freshwater levels. This leads to water shortages and can make water supplies more expensive.

Using less water and using it more efficiently is now more important than ever.

The South East of England is at most risk UK-wide from drought.

As such, water should not be considered as a cheap resource.

Here are a few ways that we can all do our bit:

  • don't leave taps running, a dripping tap can waste 100 litres of water a week
  • collect rainwater in a bucket and use it to water your plants
  • take showers instead of baths
  • make sure washing machines and dishwashers are as efficient as possible, A-rated or higher
  • the efficient delivery and cost for the supply of hot water can easily be improved by better pipe insulation
  • think about rainwater capture when building a new property or extension

Energy saving

Renewable energy

More than a third of all UK carbon emissions are generated in the home.

So any renewable energy generation or energy-saving can have a positive impact to help reduce climate change.

There are several different types of renewable energy technologies to choose from.

Grants and funding are available to all householders to install renewable energy technology in their homes.

Find more information about grants from the energy saving trust and get advice from the renewable energy centre.

Energy bills

Many of us may find it difficult to pay our energy bills, particularly over the winter period. Often this is because we're on a limited income or our homes need a lot of energy to warm up.

Anyone who is finding it difficult to heat their home or meet the high costs of fuel bills can call the Better Housing Better Health helpline for free impartial advice on:

  • grants and loans for insulation and heating systems
  • switching to a lower-cost energy supplier
  • how to deal with unpaid fuel bills
  • claiming the benefits you are entitled to
  • support organisations within the area
  • tips to help keep warm and keep bills down

Better Housing Better Health service is run by the National Energy Foundation in partnership with Buckinghamshire Council.

About ECO Flexible Eligibility

The Local Authority Flexible Eligibility scheme is a government initiative that enables local authorities to set their own criteria for low-income or fuel poor households to access energy company grants towards insulation and heating improvements.

The council intends that residents who are on a low income and meet the following criteria will be eligible for Energy Company Obligation Help to Heat funding:

  • have a long-term health condition
  • are aged over 60
  • have a child under 5
  • live in an EPC E, F or G rated property, or park home
  • are eligible for other schemes operated by the National Energy Foundation's Affordable Warmth Network.

Residents who are assessed as being in fuel poverty will also be eligible.

The council's Statement of Intent gives further information.

If you think you may be eligible, call the National Energy Foundation or email [email protected].

Please note that being eligible for the scheme does not guarantee that heating or insulation measures will be installed, or that measures can be installed free of charge.

Any supplier or installer who seeks a council declaration on behalf of an eligible resident will first need to be registered with the National Energy Foundation (NEF) Supplier Network.

The network ensures that councils have information about the standards, practices, and accreditations of installers working in their area reducing the risk of fraud, poor-quality installations, and the exploitation of vulnerable residents.

To register on the network, suppliers should contact NEF on [email protected]

For landlords and tenants

Affordable Warmth Network

We're part of the Buckinghamshire Affordable Warmth Network.

Together with our partner local authorities, the NHS, and National Energy Foundation the Network offers advice and funding to improve the energy efficiency of your home and reduce heating bills.

Free and impartial energy efficiency advice

Whether you rent or own your home you can call the Affordable Warmth Helpline between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday, for free, expert advice on:

  • reducing your energy bills
  • heating your home economically and efficiently
  • grants and financial assistance
  • a free talk to your group

Insulating your home will help it stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. It can be inexpensive and you may be eligible for assistance.

Energy Performance Certificates

Since April 2018, landlords of privately rented properties have had to make sure that their properties reach at least an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.

An EPC gives information on the energy efficiency of a property.

Minimum Energy Efficiency standards

Landlords of privately rented property must ensure that their property reaches at least an (EPC) rating of E before granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants.

These requirements will then apply to all private rented properties in England and Wales – even where there has been no change in tenancy arrangements – from 1 April 2020 for domestic properties and from 1 April 2023 for non-domestic properties.

In addition to minimum energy efficiency standards, a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent to a tenant’s written request for energy efficiency improvements to their home where these can be installed at no cost to the landlord.

Exemptions

Exemptions may apply in the following circumstances, where:

  • all relevant energy efficiency improvements have been made and the property remains sub-standard
  • a recommended measure is not a relevant energy efficiency improvement because it cannot be purchased and installed at no cost to the landlord
  • installation of wall insulation is not a relevant energy efficiency improvement due to written expert advice confirming that the measure is not appropriate for the property
  • third party consent is required and despite making reasonable efforts this cannot be obtained
  • an RICS registered surveyor has confirmed that the installation may have a significant impact on the value of a property

There are limited circumstances for which a temporary exemption may also apply where you have recently become a landlord, a temporary exemption will last for 6 months from the date you become a landlord.

If you consider that an exemption applies which allows you to continue to let a property below the minimum energy efficiency standard, you must register this on the PRS Exemptions Register.

The council can issue fines of up to £5,000 for landlords who do not comply with the regulations, including failing to properly register an exemption.

Read on for further guidance for landlords and tenants: