Open Data Communities – the bulk data download issue
[28 September 2022] Some social landlords are having difficulty accessing the relevant energy performance data for their stock due to regulations around bulk downloads from the Open Data Communities (ODC) website.
We've suggested some possible solutions for bidders to ensure good quality projects without the public data points they previously relied on.
Last year, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), who manages the Open Data Communities (ODC) website, received complaints that a company was sharing the Domestic Energy Assessor (DEA) survey data with their clients.
This was seen as a data sharing issue, in contravention with the Energy Performance of Building Regulations (2012), which are based on older EU law. The regulations include strict rules around data sharing but were not written with sharing of bulk data in mind.
DLUHC told all lodgement companies to stop sharing DEA data and shut down the functionality of bulk downloads from Open Data Communities (ODC) as they were told this data could be combined with other data online to profile energy consumption, in contravention of the regulations.
The problem for social landlords
Due to this issue, it has become more difficult for landlords to access the relevant energy performance data for their stock. Previously, social landlords were able bulk download 120 RdSAP/SAP data points from ODC for multiple properties at a time and use this data, alongside asset and stock condition data, to baseline property performance (not the full 600 from a survey, but enough for energy performance baselining).
Currently, it is only possible to download a limited set of approximately 40 data points from ODC, and this does not include the space heating (kWh/ year) or the floor area (m2). These two variables are needed to calculate the heating demand (kWh/m2/year) via desktop calculations.
Without this, landlords will need to manually access each EPC Certificate to collect the relevant data. It isn’t clear why heat demand data is available on a public EPC, but not on the limited bulk download.
DLUHC are trying to address this issue of access to relevant energy performance data, but it won’t be resolved until the end of the next year at least.
The government is concerned that SHDF Wave 2.1 bidders do not know how to create good quality projects without the public data points they previously relied on.
For bidders that have access to home energy analytics software:
- If bidders have energy analytics software already, they need to be speaking with their energy analytics providers to understand how they can manage this. For example, can their provider access historic RdSAP data fields (floor area, wall area etc.), to refresh with any stock condition data (new boilers, windows, roofs). Using this data, the software will remodel SAP scores based on newer stock data and bidders can baseline performance from here.
- If bidders have software, but do not have previously held energy performance on certain properties, they will need to build up the energy performance and SAP profile from what’s available. This will mean using the 40 data points from ODC, stock condition data, and cloning data where anything is missing. Again, bidders should work with their energy analytics providers for support.
Note: Bidders do not need to lodge new EPCs – they can build an SHDF project from non-lodged SAP rating using modelling software.
- Many bidders have recommissioned EPC surveys in preparation for Wave 2.1. The bulk data will be stuck with the DEAs, who cannot/should not share this with the bidder due to regulations. DEAs can still upload to ODC, but the bidder will have to wait until the ODC data set is refreshed (which happens quarterly) to download their limited data set. They should use this limited data set, alongside stock condition data and their energy analytics software, to create SAP profiles. They may need to do some archetype cloning.
- Bidders can commission a representative sample of PAS2035 retrofit assessments for well-defined archetypes. This will generate additional property data as well as a new EPC.
If a bidder does not have home energy analytics software, they can still download the limited data set and baseline EPC performance to identify worst performing homes. They then need to go down the archetype identification route (retrofit assessments > MTIP etc.) to create some common solutions for their project.
More information on data for retrofit:
If you have any questions, please get in touch. We have a dedicated team ready to help. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org