Reduced stamp duty could boost energy efficiency retrofits by 1.5 million

Additional incentives such as reduced stamp duty or council tax payments could increase the number of annual energy efficiency retrofits by up to 1.5 million, according to a report from the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC).

The report follows the publication of last month’s Government statistics, which revealed early take-up of the Coalition’s flagship energy efficiency policy, the Green Deal, had been much lower than anticipated. 

One proposal the report lays out is a variable stamp duty-based scheme, which would see house buyers receive a discount if a property is above a given energy efficiency standard, or pay a higher rate if its performance is poor.

Analysis suggests this could deliver between 135,000 and 270,000 additional retrofits per year, annual carbon savings of between 209,000 and 417,000 tonnes of CO₂ and a contribution of between £404m and £807m to GDP a year.

The UK-GBC also claims that varying council tax rates according to the energy efficiency of a property could deliver between 518,000 and 1,481,000 additional retrofits per year, annual carbon savings of between 812,000 and 2,232,000 tonnes of CO₂ and £4.4bn to the economy every year.

UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said: “This sends a powerful message to Government that there are viable policy options available to boost demand for the Green Deal and help tackle the UK’s energy efficiency crisis.

“The research shows not only the impact additional incentives would have on carbon savings, but how they could breathe new life into the construction sector and boost economic growth.

“There are some tough political choices to be made, not least in using the tax regime to nudge householders into action, but the opportunities for UK Plc are just so great, that this is a nettle which needs to be grasped.”

Another option that has been tabled is the introduction of an energy efficiency Feed-in-Tariff similar to existing renewable energy Feed-in-Tariffs.

While analysis suggests such a scheme could deliver between 65,000 and 169,000 additional retrofits a year, barriers to this approach include issues over how savings would be calculated and how much it would cost the Government.

Conor McGlone

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