Our strategy is aimed at delivering substantial progress towards an overall improvement in energy efficiency of 34% within a 10 year period. Up to 2011 an improvement of 22% in energy efficiency has been delivered. The overall aim is to reduce domestic energy consumption in Northern Ireland, without compromising on comfort levels.
The objectives were based on several key findings from the House Condition Survey and other research:
- Northern Ireland had a lower average Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) than Great Britain – this meant that on average, NI homes were less energy efficient than the UK as a whole. This situation has now changed, and Northern Ireland homes are now slightly more energy efficient than those in Great Britain.
- There is now a higher average SAP in NIHE homes than in owner occupied and private rented property
- Housing Association homes, being mainly of relatively recent construction, have the highest SAP rating.
- Northern Ireland has had a traditional reliance on solid fuel as a heat source but this has now changed, with oil being the main fuel in 70% of homes
- A high proportion of income is spent on fuel
- There used to be a general apathy towards energy efficiency, in terms of both carrying out physical works and in making behavioural changes - this has now also changed dramatically
- Many organisations were involved in energy efficiency, and a partnership approach was developed.
What is an SAP?
SAP has been adopted by government as part of the UK national standard for calculating the energy performance of buildings.
Every new house has to have a SAP rating. It provides a simple means of reliably estimating the energy efficiency performance of your home.
SAP ratings are expressed on a scale of 1 to 100 - the higher the number, the better the rating. Thus it is similar to the fuel consumption of a car under standard driving conditions. SAP is calculated by a procedure which is specified in Building Regulations, and which predicts heating and hot water costs.
These costs depend on the insulation and air tightness of the house, and on the efficiency and control of the heating system. The calculation uses the Building Research Establishment's Domestic Energy Model (BREDEM).