Government must help people turn green homes dream into reality

Millions of existing homes will need extensive refits to improve their energy efficiency if the UK is to meet its carbon cutting targets - and Government needs to do more to make this happen.

This was the stance of WWF’s head of campaigns Colin Butfield when he spoke at sustainable construction trade show Ecobuild last week.

Mr Butfield spoke about the Great British Refurb, a campaign the environmental charity is partnering with that encourages action on existing buildings.

“We need a lot more money and we need financial mechanisms present for people to be able to do this and they’re just absent at the moment,” he said.

“We need an efficient and effective delivery model to be able to do this on the sort of scale we need – 26 million homes to be done – and it simply isn’t there at the moment.”

He said there were also bridges to be rebuilt when it came to public perception, as the whole climate debate had taken some largely undeserved knocks in recent months with the collapse of COP15 and the climategate email scandal.

“If any of those things fail – money, public demand and the delivery model – the whole thing fails,” he said.

“All three have got to be present. We really need a fully fledged national refurbishment campaign – it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Winner of a competition to have his own home retrofitted to impressive levels of efficiency by the Great British Refurb, Will Homoky, spoke about how much better life was in a home with glowing green ceredentials.

“When we bought this property we wanted to make some eco-refurbishments ourselves but what we could do was limited by our finances,” he said.

“Our house is now warm and comfortable in every room and the living space functions exactly as it did before.

“The lesson for politicians is that our house is family typical of about a third of houses in the UK and in the space of four weeks it’s become one that’s exemplary.

“The next step for politicians is to help the public bridge the costs of these kinds of eco refurbishments so it can be beneficial to all of us for the future.

Mr Butfield added: “The results we got from Will’s house were fantastic – 80% cuts in carbon and energy, 123% cuts in Will’s fuel bills. He’s now earning money from his house and not paying anything.”

Their presentation can be viewed here:

Sam Bond

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