Making Homes Energy Efficient – ‘We Need To Throw Everything We Have At It!’

It is perhaps unsurprising that over 66% of homes in the UK fall way behind in terms of meeting the governments long-term energy efficiency targets according to data analysed by the BBC.

Simply put, this means householders in that category spend more on energy bills and pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than necessary.

Improving energy performance in homes is crucial if targets are to be met and experts believe this will mean retrofitting millions of dwellings with more efficient heating systems as soon as possible.

Homes are graded using Energy Performance Certificates to measure their level of suitability towards meeting the government’s net zero target by 2050, these grades run from A-G. The closer to grade A means the property is  more energy efficient with a smaller carbon footprint and lower energy bills, the closer to grade G means the opposite. Grade C is just above average and it is the millions of homes, mostly built before the year 1990, that fall into the D,E and G range that need immediate attention.

Dr Tim Forman, a research academic at the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Sustainable Development has stated only a national project of a scale not seen since World War Two, would be enough to help Great Britain meet its 2050 net zero carbon target, which was signed into law in June 2019. Dr Forman goes on to say about the problem, ‘…we need to throw everything we have at it.’

The drawback with retrofitting is that it can be expensive as it can mean extensive renovation work especially to older properties in order to fit newer more energy efficient systems. This is something already in the minds of local authorities and housing associations as keeping running costs in rented properties low for themselves and their tenants is a priority. How to approach the problem financially seems to be the issue.

On the latter point, Jenny Hill, of independent advisory body Committee on Climate Change, has suggested that financial incentives be offered at “trigger points” in people’s lives such as when they make home improvements or move home. Makes sense. It’s a shared responsibility to safeguard the future of the planet so government-funded financial incentives plus input from those that can afford it is a sensible approach with more generous schemes also being made available to the less well off.

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A re-jig of the failed, overly-complicated and poorly implemented government Green Deal scheme which ran from 2012 for three years would be a major boost. This was where householders received cash-backs and incentives for improvements such as double-glazing, better insulation and more efficient boilers but the scheme was phased out because of poor take-up. On providing such much needed financial support Scotland and Wales have given the UK government a red face.

As Energy efficiency is a devolved issue the ruling authorities in Scotland and Wales already provide additional funding for energy saving improvements including low-interest loans for those with the ability to pay and free measures to low-income households at risk of fuel poverty. England needs to do the same, and fast.

If any householders are at a “trigger point” and thinking of home improvements or renovations then please feel free to give E-Green Solutions a call. Our underfloor heating solution is a simple roll-out and wiring fit that saves between 25% to 30% on traditional heating bills and has many other benefits too. We just might be the first step on your journey to being totally green .