Energy efficiency must be on par with HS2 and airport expansion decisions

The Government has been urged to make household energy efficiency the UK's top infrastructure priority.

Calling on the Government to back energy efficiency, the UK-GBC says that a national retrofit programme that focuses on energy efficiency will help permanently reduce consumers' energy bills and create thousands of new jobs.

UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said: "Improving the energy efficiency of our cold and draughty homes is the only way to permanently cut households' spiralling energy bills and will be a major driver of economic growth.

He added that Government must make energy efficiency a top national infrastructure priority, "as important as decisions on HS2 or aviation expansion".

Today's call comes one year on from the launch of the Government's flagship energy efficiency policy, the Green Deal, which has suffered from disappointing take-up, and follows cuts to its sister scheme the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) at the end of last year.

King said: "While the Green Deal is the cornerstone of the UK's retrofit policy, it has so far massively under delivered. Government has to step in to create incentives that encourage homes into taking action and be prepared to prioritise capital spending on energy efficiency.

"Underwriting the Green Deal - as Government has done with Help to Buy - would provide a huge shot in the arm for the retrofit industry," added King.

A new report published today by UK-GBC finds that more attractive Green Deal finance could provide a boost to the scheme. However, it also found that the interest rate on Green Deal loans, currently 8-10% offered by the Green Deal Finance Company, is not the overriding issue deterring consumers from signing up to the scheme.

The report, Green Deal Finance: Examining the Green Deal interest rate as a barrier to take-up, found that the long duration of the Green Deal loans was found to be a greater factor putting off householders, as current rates spread over twenty years could lead to a doubling of actual payments over the lifetime of the plan.

Other key barriers include a fundamental lack of demand for energy efficiency and the complexity of the scheme.

Meanwhile, the business community made a similar call yesterday, urging the European Commission to establish a 40% binding energy savings target for 2030.

Leigh Stringer


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