Cheap loft insulation under fire

The Builders Merchant Federation has attacked a system which allows the big DIY sheds to sell 'loss leading' loft insulation.

Under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), which requires energy suppliers to deliver energy efficiency improvements in housing, energy firms are teaming up with retailers to offer insulation at bargain basement prices.

Earlier this month, B&Q and British Gas used CERT funding to begin selling loft insulation for just £1, sparking a price war among the major DIY retailers.

CERT funding is restricted to top-up insulation for private individuals who are improving their own home, so the offer is not available to professionals.

But the Builders Merchant Federation is campaigning against the practice, arguing it is ‘deeply flawed logic’ because there is nothing stopping professionals buying the stock.

Chris Pateman, managing director of the BMF, said: “The reason this scheme is currently restricted to DIY sheds is the mistaken belief among energy companies this is their route to the home owner, who is the intended recipient of this benefit.

“There is therefore supposed to be some element of policing at point of sale to ensure sales are made exclusively to members of the public, which is, of course, a complete nonsense in reality.”

But the price war could be good news for homeowners looking to make their homes more energy efficient.

B&Q announced it would sell a million rolls of the insulation at just a £1 a roll, in what it claimed was an industry first.

Backed by a major television advertising campaign, the rolls went on sale nationwide on February 13.

B&Q said the low prices would allow the average home to be insulated for under £25 and save an average of £200 a year on heating bills.

On the same day, rival company Focus DIY also began a three-day promotion during which it slashed the price of its smallest rolls of insulation from £11.99 a roll to just £1.15.

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie