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.
Home Energy Conservation Authority (HECA) Progress Report
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These 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 SAP?
SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure) is a way of reliably estimating the energy efficiency of a home. It has been adopted by the UK government as part of the national standard for calculating the energy performance of buildings.
It is calculated by a procedure, specified in Building Regulations (the Building Research Establishment's Domestic Energy Model (BREDEM), 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.
Every new house has to have a SAP rating, expressed on a scale from 1 to 100, with higher numbers meaning better energy efficiency.