Improving energy efficiency in homes should be ‘national priority’, industry says

Making homes more energy efficient should become a “national priority” and funded through general taxation, according to a report from Energy UK.

In Pathways to a low carbon future, the industry body argues that a long-term vision to deliver energy efficiency is required to address the deficiencies of the current building stock, supported by strong building regulations for all new buildings.

A national infrastructure efficiency programme would help develop a competitive environment and a strong supply chain, and would avoid a disproportionate cost falling on the fuel poor, the report says.

“As part of an infrastructure programme, capital investment could be released to help increase Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings in all buildings and ensure any future infrastructure programme has energy efficiency at its heart,” the authors recommend.

The report also emphasises the importance of the power, heat and transport sectors working together under a common policy approach to ensure the UK meets its climate targets at the lowest cost to consumers.

Heat is thought to be the biggest challenge for decarbonisation at large scale. No single solution is likely to deliver the change required, the authors explain: “We will need a combination of technologies to suit the many different situations; these may include converting the gas grid to hydrogen, installing more district heating, and installing heat pumps where cost-effective.”

The Government should pilot the various technology options, develop a full understanding of the pros and cons of each (including costs, feasibility and funding) for the different types of buildings, and deliver a plan on how we can move to a lower carbon heating source, the report concludes.

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