Association for the Conservation of Energy

Association for the Conservation of Energy logo

The UK Association for the Conservation of Energy represents the country’s energy efficiency sector. Its stated mission is to enable the UK to drive productivity and business competitiveness, provide warm and healthy homes, and to deliver a secure future for energy; all through making it more energy-efficient.

About ACE

The Association for the Conservation of Energy is made up of researchers, campaigners, and lobbyists who are working to develop a stable, rational, long-term policy framework which supports increased investment in the UK’s energy efficiency sector. This framework will enable steady growth and provide opportunities for those who work in the sector.

The focus of the Association for the Conservation of Energy is on energy efficiency and demand management. It covers all the technologies and techniques used in residential and non-residential buildings. Its work is grounded in an understanding of the wider energy policy landscape and it collaborates with other organisations to ensure that energy efficiency is given weight alongside other issues as a part of broader energy campaigns.

The association also acts as a conduit between the sector and government, participating actively in political and policy development forums, engaging with the media, and campaigning at the grassroots level. It holds the government to account, proposes improvements in legislation and tries to persuade policymakers to support greater action to promote energy efficiency.

The ACE’s seven ‘policy asks’ for this parliament are:

  • A new energy policy framework
  • Buildings energy efficiency as infrastructure
  • A leadership role for the public sector
  • Zero carbon new-builds
  • Minimum energy efficiency standards for existing buildings
  • Incentives for energy efficiency retrofits
  • More finance made available for energy efficiency investments

We’re now going to take you through each of these points in a little more detail:

A new energy policy framework

The Association for the Conservation of Energy contests that the safest, cheapest and most secure form of energy is that which we don’t use. Energy efficiency could mean the construction of fewer power plants - the DECC estimated in 2012 that increased investment in cost-effective energy efficiency solutions up to 2020 would save the equivalent output of 22 power stations.

Policymaking in the UK has been heavily driven towards pushing up energy supply rather than reducing energy demand. The association stresses the need for a need framework, even suggesting a new Energy White Paper, that puts the reduction of demand on a par with measures to increase supply.

Energy-efficient buildings as infrastructure

The association contends that there is a “gaping hole” at the heart of the UK’s National Infrastructure Plan, and it is its most fundamental element - the fabric of the buildings that we live and work in.

No other investment can do as much to cut costs for homes and businesses, thereby stimulating growth and creating jobs all over the country. For this reason, the ACE argues that energy efficiency should be a top priority in developing national infrastructure.

A leadership role for the public sector

Public sector organisations, whether at a national or local level, are significant occupants, leasees and owners of public buildings, and therefore have the power to drive the market for energy efficiency in existing buildings. The public sector therefore already has it in its power to demand and invest in energy efficiency.

The public sector, then, should be subject to a high level of transparency, having to demonstrate the energy performance of its buildings to show the progress being made and be held accountable for failures.

Zero carbon new builds

The trajectory of zero-carbon new build properties has been paused, which only means unnecessary energy expenditure and emissions as the government looks to accelerate construction. The association urges government to push for a new trajectory in order to re-engage the supply chain to innovate in delivering cost-effective, efficient new builds.

Minimum energy efficiency standards for existing buildings

The Association for the Conservation of Energy is of the opinion that the clearest, strongest stance that government could take in order to promote growth in energy-efficient investments would be to introduce comprehensive minimum standards for all existing buildings. It’s also aware that this won’t be a politically popular option for a while.

In the meantime, it stresses the importance of expanding and strengthening existing standards and trying to learn from development in Scotland, where the political will for this seems to be greater.

Incentives for energy efficiency retrofits

Simple incentives like grant programmes do create a temporary surge in investments but do nothing to support the growth of a self-sustaining market for energy efficiency. The transient nature of financial incentives like this means that delivery capacity fluctuates significantly over relatively short periods of time.

For this reason, the Association for the Conservation of Energy is instead pushing for systematic, longer-term incentives that will encourage sustained investment growth by making energy efficiency retrofits as ‘normal’ to consumers as a new kitchen or an office refit.

More finance made available for energy efficiency investments

In spite of the above point, the association stresses the importance of access to competitive finance for energy efficiency investments.

It wants the government to lead a sustained initiative that gives lenders and borrowers an understanding of the attractiveness of energy efficiency as an investment. The use of personal and business loans, as well as mortgages, must be unlocked if this is to happen.

Join the ACE

Membership of the Association for the Conservation of Energy is open to any organisation or individual interested in the UK’s energy efficiency market. It offers an excellent network and access, as well as high-quality research and insight into the sector’s policy context.

Members also have the ability to contribute and influence stakeholders and government at a local and national level, as the ACE is the organisation that they go to for guidance. Your voice would be heard as this guidance is developed, and you’ll be kept up to date with all developments in the sector and how they will affect you.

There are two types of ACE membership:

  • Membership (for UK organisations related to energy efficiency with turnover greater than £1 million)
  • Associate Membership (for individuals and small businesses with energy efficiency related turnover of less than £1 million)

If you’d like to talk to a member of the ACE team, call 020 7250 8410 or send an email to

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