PAS 2035: What is it? Why was it developed? How will it affect the industry?

Stuart Fairlie, Technical Director of Elmhurst Energy, explains why PAS 2035 was developed.
The history of PAS 2035 dates back to 2015 when Dr Peter Bonfield, then Chief Executive of BRE, was asked to lead a project of industry experts to review the way in which public and privately funded domestic retrofit projects were delivered. His report, Each Home Counts, was published in 2016 and became a watershed moment for our energy efficiency industry.
The report made 27 recommendations covering Consumer Protection, Advice and Guidance, Quality and Standards, Skills and Training and Compliance and Enforcement, Insulation and Fabric, Smart Meters, Home Energy Technologies and Application to Social Housing. From this 15 new Industry led Working Groups were started to investigate the way forward to solve all the recommendations.
A criticism of past and current energy efficiency policies is that they often happen in isolation simply to maximise the grant funding opportunity. They take little heed to what is best for the home, or for its occupants. Each Home Counts wanted to ensure that the installed measures must be the ‘best’ and ‘most appropriate’ to the home and the occupants.
From the Quality and Standards working group, BSI were asked establish the PAS 2035 steering Group which, nearly two years later produced the PAS 2035 specification. PAS 2035 is a sister standard to the PAS 2030 installation specification and will ensure that;

  • Consumers receive good advice
  • Properties are assessed by trained qualified and competent Retrofit Assessors who consider not only the energy saving opportunities but the condition of the property and its suitability for improvement.
  • Each property has a medium term improvement plan that outlines all the work than can be done to maximise energy efficiency potential. This will include essential maintenance that will, if not treated, undermine the effectiveness or durability of an installed measure.
  • Work completed by designers and installers is overseen to ensure the energy efficiency potential of the home is being fulfilled

It is important to note that PAS 2030 is focussed on the quality of the installation and may, for some applications, be read and used in isolation of PAS 2035.
PAS 2035 is an umbrella standard, stating good practice, that ensures the home achieves its energy efficiency potential. It was not written specifically for the purposes of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) but whenever the customer, whether that be private building owners, Government through policies such as ECO or Local Authorities, require it.
The aim of ECO is to reduce carbon emissions from our housing stock owned or occupied by those unable to pay for improvements themselves. It made good progress but the fabric first philosophy to reducing heat demand has not always been adopted. Replacing a boiler on an uninsulated house makes no sense, it is better to insulate first and then consider the replacement of the boiler.
Regrettably, on some properties where the fabric first philosophy has been adopted, there have been failures. This was either because the property was unsuitable, due to its design or poor state of repair, or because the installation was done badly. In some cases the failure was so severe that further funding was required to remediate the property.
The context for ECO has also changed with the government enshrining in law a commitment to achieve net zero carbon by 2050. To get anywhere near achieving this then it is necessary to ensure that the full potential of each property is achieved. Until now ECO has delivered an average of just over one measure per dwelling and it has been calculated that for our housing stock to achieve its full potential, within the timescales to achieve net zero carbon, that needs to increase to three measures per dwelling.
The introduction of PAS 2035, with Retrofit Assessors and Retrofit Coordinators, ensures that we have a much greater chance of meeting these targets. The “cost of customer acquisition” will reduce as more measures will be installed into a smaller number of properties, there will be more work in preparing homes for improvement, and by ensuring that only suitable properties are improved, the cost of failure and remediation will reduce.
The major issue we have now is a misalignment between the revised process and the ECO funding mechanism. The industry needs to work with BEIS and OFGEM to ensure that the good practices of PAS 2035 are adequately funded.
The process of writing standards is one of compromise with different factions arguing from their perspective. When consensus is finally achieved this can usually result in some disagreement between groups and individuals. It is therefore not surprising that a revision is already being considered and Elmhurst Energy will contribute, as it did to the writing of the current specification, to help ensure the recommendations are sound and the detail is practical.
To learn more about PAS 2035 or to train and be a Retrofit Assessor or Retrofit Coordinator then please visit our website www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk
For more information visit www.elmhurstenergy.co.uk.

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