Downing Street rated ‘E’ for energy efficiency and uses no clean fuels

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Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street are still not using clean energy as their main source of fuel.

Downing Street is rated E for energy efficiency and fails to use any renewable energy sources, NationalWorld can exclusively reveal, as a row rages on with activists over insulating Britain’s housing stock.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Government have come under fire from Insulate Britain over its low energy efficiency rating, which the motorway-blocking activist group says is indicative of a wider problem in the country.

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According to the building’s most recent display energy certificates (DEC), numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street have a below average energy rating score, meaning they are emitting more carbon dioxide (CO2) than other more efficient buildings.

The homes and offices of Prime Minister Boris Johnson also get 0% of their energy from renewable sources, NationalWorld can reveal.

As the UK prepares to host the COP26 summit in Glasgow, campaigners are calling on the Government to provide better insulation for all homes –  including the Prime Minister’s.

What are energy ratings and how does Number 10 compare?

Display energy certificates are issued to public buildings across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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A building is given an energy performance operational rating as part of the DEC which is based on its CO2 emissions for the last year. It is given a score and a rating on a scale from A (lowest emissions) to G (highest emissions).

Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street have an energy rating of E.Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street have an energy rating of E.
Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street have an energy rating of E. | JPIMedia/NationalWorld

A typical score for a public building is 100 but according to publicly available energy certificates Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street score slightly higher at 106. This gives it an E rating.

It has improved marginally over the last three years. In June 2019 the buildings scored 136, a rating of F.

Emissions have dropped too. In the year to June 2021 Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street emitted 724 tonnes of CO2. This has decreased by 21% since 2019.

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But the buildings are still not using clean energy as their main source of fuel. The main energy used to heat Numbers 10 to 12 Downing Street comes from natural gas, a fossil fuel well known for its environmental impacts. The properties get 0% of their energy use from renewables.

On its website Number 10 says it publishes live information on its energy consumption. However, when NationalWorld tried to access this information the site was down.

What about other government buildings?

Downing Street is not the only government building to have low energy efficiency ratings.

The Palace of Westminster, which contains the Houses of Parliament, scores worse than Number 10. The building complex has a score of 124 — 18 points worse than Number 10. It also has an operational rating of E. It gets 0.1% of its energy from renewables.

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Elsewhere in the UK, the Northern Ireland Assembly has an operational rating of D and a score of 85. This has remained relatively unchanged since 2019.

The building does get some of its energy use from renewable sources though. Figures show 1.7% of its electric use comes from renewables.

The Welsh Government’s Senedd Building, which houses the National Assembly for Wales, fares much better. It  has an energy performance operational rating of C and a score of 55.

The Senedd’s main heating source comes from Biomass. Although classed as  renewable, the process burns plant or animal matter for energy, which remains a highly controversial practice. According to its DEC, almost 40% of its heating use comes from renewable energy.

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In Scotland public buildings have an Energy Performance Certificate instead of a DEC.

The Scottish Parliament currently has a Building Energy Performance Rating of C and a score of 45 but has the potential to reduce this to 39 (while retaining its rating of C).

And like Number 10, the Scottish Parliament’s main heating fuel also comes from natural gas. It does not have a renewable source of energy.

‘Insulate Britain and insulate Number 10’

Building insulation has been at the forefront of the news agenda since Insulate Britain began blocking major motorways last month.

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The activist group wants the UK Government to take more drastic measures to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the country.

A spokesperson for Insulate Britain said: “The energy rating of Downing Street indicates why we need a government strategy to retro-fit all the nation’s homes.

“Relying on individual actions is a recipe for failure. Boris needs to get on with job, insulate Britain and insulate Number 10.”

‘Eco-friendly measures’

A spokesperson for Number 10 said a number of steps have been taken to make the buildings more environmentally friendly.

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The spokesperson said: “The Downing Street estate has already taken a number of eco-friendly measures such as full rainwater harvesting system for the gardens and low-energy and motion detecting lighting throughout, whilst preserving the heritage of the listed buildings.

“In line with the Prime Minister’s ambition for the UK to be a global leader in clean, green technology and sustainable living, Number 10 looks to build on these measures in the future.”

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