That is the message behind a major report published by a number of key players in the sustainable housing arena.

Low Carbon Existing Homes is the result of collaboration between the UK Green Building Council, the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes, the Sustainable Development Commission and the Technology Strategy Board at the request of Government.

The report highlights the problems of persuading professionals and the public to spend money up front to make savings in the longer term, and warns against focusing on building greener new properties at the cost of existing stock.

Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council said: “For too long we’ve been throwing our money out of the window, either indifferent about our energy bills, or completely turned off by the hassle and upfront cost of energy efficiency improvements.

“Spiralling fuel costs and concern about climate change now call for a revolution in attitude and approach – we can and must make it easy and affordable for everyone to slash their household bills and carbon emissions.

“The great strength of this report is in the sheer breadth and depth of those that contributed to it, and it should prove a line in the sand on this hugely important issue.”

Mark Brown, director of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes added: “To meet ambitious carbon saving targets in the housing sector, we need a confident delivery supply chain that will invest in the necessary capacity and skills.

“The current myriad of incentive schemes, funding programmes and policy drivers has not made it easy for the supply chain to deliver effectively and for householders to take action.

“This intensive stakeholder consultation has emphasised the need for a coordinated approach and some strong leadership by Government.”

The report will inform Government’s energy efficiency consultation later in the year, and the resulting Low Carbon Homes strategy next spring.

Sam Bond

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