Tradespeople want to give trustworthy energy efficiency advice

Most tradespeople would be more willing to give advice on energy efficiency if they had access to better information themselves, according to a poll conducted for the Energy Saving Trust.

55% of those working in trades who were quizzed for the poll said they would be more likely to give advice if they had better information themselves while 84% said they wanted to be able to give advice that would be trusted by customers.

The poll showed a chasm between those working in different trades, with 81% of plumbers and 73% of electricians claiming they already tell customers about their choices when it comes to energy efficiency, while just 48% of those offering roofing services or loft conversions and 56% of general builders offering the same advice.

More than two thirds of tradespeople felt they needed clearer explanations of current environmental legislation while almost 80% felt the need for clearer guidance of changes in the pipeline for energy efficiency requirements.

Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said: "If the national target of an 80 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 is to be met it is vital we tackle the lack of energy efficiency in our existing housing stock. We simply must act now and not be afraid to go over and above the minimum energy efficiency building standards.

"Latest figures show that around £24 billion is spent annually on repair, maintenance and improvement works in UK housing and some of this work represents a missed opportunity to make green improvements.

"Real cost savings --in terms of labour and minimising disruption - are on offer to householders who employ tradespeople to install energy-efficiency measures when they are in doing other work. Householders can on average save up to £340 a year on energy bills through green improvements.

"Seventy-five per cent of people in the UK believe the best way to improve the energy efficiency of a home is when the builders are in, but until tradespeople have the knowledge, training and skills to be able to offer this expertise as second nature then they will be building in the dark."

The Energy Saving Trust says this advice is available free of charge, with its housing programme working with construction professionals to achieve higher standards of energy efficiency in the UK housing market.

David Gibbs



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