The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) recently announced that it has tabled amendments to the Energy Bill which may have a significant impact for the non-domestic building sector, the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) has said.

Under the proposals, building owners who install measures that deliver permanent reductions in the amount of electricity used could receive financial incentives. Currently the UK government is exploring whether to test the proposed approach via a pilot, in order to gather evidence that will inform final decisions on an incentive the DECC Electricity Demand Reduction (EDR) Team has advised.

At the end of 2012, CIBSE worked with its members across the construction and property sectors to prepare a full response to the DECC Consultation on EDR. It set up a dedicated EDR task force to gather expert evidence in order to provide the government with a response that would fully inform both Ministers and policy makers about a range of ‘common-sense’ options.

In its response to the Consultation, which closed in January 2013, CIBSE stated that while some forms of financial incentive would be likely to encourage measures for energy reduction, it must also be recognised that targeted support needed to be balanced in favour of encouraging behaviour change rather than one-off actions.

The issue of energy consumption has gained further attention with Robin Hastings, director of energy and infrastructure at the Crown Estate, last week disclosing that in March 2013, the UK had “six hours-worth of gas left in storage”. The volatility of gas supply coupled with accordant price increases places a further impetus on reducing energy demand.

This was the core message from the CIBSE Annual Lecture in 2012 by Ofgem’s chief executive Alistair Buchanan CBE, who posed the question: “How secure is Britain’s electricity and gas supply over the next decade?”

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