Inquiry launched into energy efficiency of existing homes


A NEW inquiry into the energy efficiency of existing homes has been launched by the Environment Audit Committee.

Around 29 million homes are considered to have the potential to improve their energy efficiency according to figures published by the committee.

Making homes more energy efficient would improve household incomes, reduce fuel poverty and cut carbon emissions across the UK.

Homes account for just under 30% of energy use and make up around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Environmental Audit Committee Chairman, Philip Dunne MP, commented on the announcement: “Homes with poor energy standards should have no place in 21st Century Britain.

“But there are still too many homes across the country that fail to meet the Government’s own target of EPC rating C – resulting in higher bills and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

“It is unfortunate that despite its promises, the Government has yet to act in bringing forward policies that could transform the energy efficiency of homes.

“The contribution this could make to improving emissions reduction is very significant, but the scale of the challenge is vast.

“The Government should act quickly to address this – doing so could save lives, provide a major boost to economic recovery across the country, and put the UK in a stronger position to meet net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

The new inquiry will look at the Government’s pledge of £9.2bn for energy improvements in homes, schools and hospitals and why funding has not been allocated to improve the efficiency of existing homes.

Over 10 million owner occupied households currently fall below the Performance Certificate Band C, and they have the most potential for the largest carbon savings.

According to the Environmental Audit Committee, the act of decarbonising existing homes would offer the Government an opportunity to grow a domestic supply chain and skills base in addition to working towards carbon neutrality.

Fuel poverty affects around 2.53 million households in England, something the Committee argues is risking the health of vulnerable people and adding strain to the NHS during winter months.

The Committee is inviting written submissions on:

  • Are the Government’s targets on residential energy efficiency still appropriate to achieve its ambition to reach net zero emissions by 2050?
    What are the potential risks and opportunities of bringing forward the Government’s energy efficiency target?
    Should Government targets for energy efficiency be legislated for, and if so, what difference would this make?
  • How effective is the EPC rating at measuring energy efficiency? Are there any alternative methodologies that could be used? What are the challenges for rural areas?
  • How will lack of progress on residential energy efficiency impact the decarbonisation of heat and the associated costs of this?
  • How can the Government frame a Covid-19 stimulus strategy around improved energy efficiency of homes?
  • Is the £5 million Green Home Finance Innovation Fund enough to stimulate the market for and drive action from the banks to encourage owner occupiers to improve the energy efficiency of their homes?
    What policy and/or regulation could supplement it?
    Which models in other countries have been successful at stimulating demand for energy efficiency within this market?
  • What additional policy interventions are needed for social housing, leaseholders, landlords and tenants?
  • How should the proposed Home Upgrade Grant Scheme be delivered to help the fuel poor? Should the new grant scheme supplement ECO in its current form, or should ECO be redesigned?
  • Are there examples of where energy efficiency policy has fallen between Government Departments? How could cross-departmental coordination be improved?

Written evidence can be submitted by 22 June here