The Government's current strategy for targetting fuel poor homes in England can be found in Cutting the Cost of Keeping Warm. It sets a target of making every home as is practicable achieve FPEER band C or better by 2030. FPEER stands for the Fuel Poverty Energy Efficiency Rating and is very closely related to SAP, the Standard Assessment Procedure that is used to rate a dwelling's energy efficiency.
FPEER is very similar to SAP, but also includes a mechanism to lower the calculated running cost for a dwelling based on Government schemes designed to alleviate fuel bills. Currently this only includes the Warm Homes Discount (WHD). The SAP rating of a dwelling is determined by first calculating the energy used for space heating, water heating and lighting, converting that into a running cost, calculating the running cost per unit floor area and then transforming that into a rating between 1 and 100 where lower cost per unit floor area scores highly. FPEER follows the same approach but at the point where the running cost is calculated, if the household is in receipt of the WHD it deducts this amount from the running cost and then calculates the rating. Due to this definition the FPEER is always either identical to or greater than the SAP rating, depending on whether a household receives the WHD.
UNO & FPEER
The fuel poverty module in UNO now includes a portion that will calculate the FPEER depending on whether the home receives the WHD. The extra data required to do a LIHC calculation is not required to produce the FPEER, only the normal energy data and an assessment of whether the WHD should be applied. Applying the facility to calculate FPEER to the whole housing stock then allows a quick search of all homes that do not currently meet the target.
Approximating FPEER With SAP
To calculate FPEER it is necessary to know if the household receives the WHD and this information may not necessarily be easy to find out. The discount is applied by the supplier to the bill before reaching the occupants so that in some cases they may not be aware of being in receipt of it. In planning to meet the fuel poverty targets it is sensible to approximate the FPEER with SAP. The SAP score is either identical to or greater than the FPEER one and so if the dwelling falls in SAP band C, then it will be in band C or better under FPEER. Also, roughly ten percent of households receive the WHD, so on a purely random basis the SAP rating of a dwelling is about 90% likely to be the FPEER as well.
Finding Homes In Band D And Below
One approach to take in finding poorly performing homes is to search the EPC data, released in bulk format at opendata, for properties that were assessed as being in band D or below. This is problematic, in several ways. EPCs can date back to as far as 2007 and the older the EPC is, the more likely it is that the property will have received an improvement such as wall insulation or a new heating system. The data available from opendata only runs upto October 2016, meaning any upgrades installed after then, such as through ECO or LA Flex, will not be available. Also, EPC data will cover at most 50% of the dwellings in a given area.
Using a housing database like UNO alleviates these problems. Data from EPCs and other sources can be loaded into it to increase the data coverage and improvements can be added into the system as and when they are done, with the new results then calculated instantly. UNO's improvements module can then quickly calculate what improvements would be needed, as well as at what installation cost, to figure out how to meet the band C target for any given housing stock.