Report proposes action plan for delivering energy efficient homes

The UK needs a comprehensive Buildings Energy Infrastructure Programme to improve the energy performance of the nation’s homes, according to a new report.

Affordable Warmth, Clean Growth by economics consultancy Frontier Economics sets out a series of policies that could be adopted by the government in order to move forward on energy efficiency.

The key recommendations include:

  •  A target for all homes to be brought up to an energy performance rating of C (on the A to G scale) by 2035, with all low-income households achieving a C rating by 2030;
  • A requirement for new homes to be constructed to a zero-carbon standard by 2020;
  • Subsidies for all low-income home-owners to make energy efficiency renovations to their properties;
  • A demonstrator programme to test the most attractive schemes to unlock able-to-pay households’ investment in energy saving renovations, including zero interest loans, low interest equity loans you don’t have to pay back until a home is sold and salary sacrifice schemes like those for childcare vouchers;
  • Changes to Stamp Duty to encourage renovations when people move home; and
  • Tax allowances for private landlords and 50% subsidies for social landlords to undertake energy efficiency renovations.

In a foreword to the report, Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, said: “We continue to build homes that are so inefficient that they will have to be retrofitted within the next decade, and, at the same time, we’re not beginning properly to improve the existing stock.”

He continued: “We don’t look for prescriptive legislation that inhibits innovation but simply for high efficiency standards that will drive new technology and future-proof construction.”

“The excuse for not dealing with current construction is always that the real issue is the existing building stock. It’s true that, in general, it is much less efficient than even a substandard new build. However, that’s no reason to continue to make things worse. At the same time, there’s so much that can be done to improve the efficiency of all our buildings.”

Frontier Chairman Gus O’Donnell said: “In a world where it is difficult to guarantee getting a return above inflation on any investment, it makes sense to invest in improving the energy efficiency of your home. This cuts bills, allowing you to stay warm and help tackle climate change. Government needs to do more to encourage this investment and this report provides a programme of practical proposals on how they can do it.”

The report was produced by Frontier on behalf of the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group, a collaboration of 28 industry and trade bodies, consumer groups, think tanks, environmental NGOs and engineering, energy, construction and insulation businesses.

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