Today (Monday 22 March), the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has urged the UK Government to take urgent action to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the next 10 years.
In its latest report, Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes, the EAC states that the UK will be unable to reach its target of net zero carbon by 2050 unless improvements are made to the energy efficiency of homes this decade.
The report notes that the government appears to have underestimated how much it will cost to decarbonise the country’s existing homes by 2050 at between £35 billion and £65 billion, excluding those properties in which energy efficiency installations are more challenging.
A total of 19 million UK homes require energy efficiency upgrades to reach the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ‘C’ rating, at an average cost per property of £18,000 (before a heat pump installation).
Commenting on today’s report, Stew Horne, head of policy at Energy Saving Trust, said: “We are encouraged by the recommendations made by the Environmental Audit Committee in their report on Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes, published today. Meeting the challenge of net zero will mean changes within many of our homes to retrofit insulation and install low carbon heating. To do this at the pace and scale required to meet the government’s ambitions, the UK must provide certainty and confidence to supply chains. In addition, this process will require the upskilling of the UK workforce, the setting of clear targets and long-term investment.
“Bespoke advice and support is a vital part of making these changes a reality. We have seen how effective the support that we provide through Home Energy Scotland is at helping people take action. We agree with the Environmental Audit Committee that this advice should be available to people across the UK, to support them towards choosing alternative renewable heating or installing energy efficiency measures.”
The EAC recommends the UK Government should roll out energy efficiency schemes such as the Home Upgrade Grants, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and phase two of the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme as soon as possible to stimulate activity.
Other recommendations made to government in the report include:
- Overhaul the EPC methodology to support energy efficiency and low carbon heating measures.
- Roll over all allocated funding for the Green Homes Grant that has not been spent by the end of March 2021.
- Set an ambitious but realistic pathway for owner occupiers to achieve minimum EPC ‘C’ in the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy.
- Work with the financial sector and major landlords to stimulate renovation through green mortgages, green finance and low-cost loans.
- Consider how the national infrastructure bank could be used as a vehicle to finance energy efficiency.
- Upgrade the government’s basic energy advice service in England to a specialist bespoke advice service similar to the Home Energy Scotland network.
Read the Environmental Audit Committee’s Energy Efficiency of Existing Homes full report here.
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