Mapping domestic energy efficiency in Great Britain
A report, data set and maps for Citizens Advice
Project duration: November 2014 to March 2015
Most exisiting data on the efficiency standards of the UK housing stock at regional, or smaller area levels is unpublished, or in a format that makes analysis difficult. This is unhelpful for people or organisations concerned with energy efficiency and fuel poverty who need data to devise housing improvement programmes and to measure their success.
To address this issue, CSE investigated options for producing – and making freely available – data that shows the energy efficiency of housing in different areas of the country.
Dr Toby Bridgeman managed the project that was fully funded by Citizens Advice.
"This work means that people engaged in fuel poverty alleviation work and similar areas can now use this data to measure the number of homes in their locality that perform poorly in terms of energy efficiency, and see how progress with housing improvements stacks up against national targets and policies," he said.
"The options we assessed make use of data from a range of sources: freely available data; data held by government departments and accessed through specific requests; commercially owned data."
The work is particularly aimed at those who want to:
- construct databases for smaller geographical areas (i.e. not the whole country)
- use other data not available to the public for similar purposes
- construct the more expensive data options evaluated in the report
Download the data
One of the options looked at used data from the National Energy Efficiency Data-framework administered by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). Our enquiries resulted in the release and publication of data that shows the numbers of dwellings in each Energy Performance Certificated (EPC) band by Lower Super Output Area (LSOA) – an area that represents around 650 houses on average. This data is now available on the government website.
We used this data to calculate the numbers of dwellings in other types of area, including Middle Layer Super Output Area (MLSOA) and parliamentary constituency area. Data showing the number and proportions of dwellings in each EPC band by LSOA, MLSOA and parliamentary constituency can be downloaded here.1
This data has been made available as part of our Open Data Collaboration Initiative. See our Open Data page for more on this and access to other datasets.
Download the maps
The data released by DECC was used to produce two maps at parliamentary constituency, showing areas with the highest proportion of efficient housing (EPC bands A, B or C) and inefficient housing (EPC band F or G) in England and Wales (see image above).
Homes rated F or G roughly correspond to those classified as dangerously cold and a potential risk to occupants’ health in the government’s Housing, Health and Safety Rating System. Cold homes are a major contributor to poor health, such as respiratory and heart disease, particularly for older people and young children.
The data reveal there are more cold homes in certain areas of the country. Inefficient housing is more common in rural areas than urban, although many urban areas also sturggle with high numbers of cold homes. Several characteristics of rural properties may account for this distribution: lots are off the mains gas grid and so use more expensive fuels to heat spaces; they are often solid wall constructions that are harder and more expensive to insulate; many are semi-detached or detached and have extensive areas of exposed wall.
High-resolution versions of the maps are available to download:
 Please note, the dataset is not perfect. It only includes EPCs logged up to 2012 and only represents homes with an EPC, rather than all housing in the country. Thus, the the number of cold homes are underestimated and the number of better quality homes are overestimated. Nevertheless, the data give a useful pointer to the extent of cold homes in local areas.