Retrofit revolution can cut emissions and deliver £7.5bn energy savings for UK
Retrofitting the UK's building stock with low-carbon solutions could reduce national energy costs by £7.5bn a year, create more than 150,000 jobs over a 10-year period and cut carbon emissions by 20%, MPs have been told.
Bankers for Net-Zero was set up in July last year. Barclays, Triodos, Tide, Handelsbanken and the Ecology Building Society in became the first banks to sign up to the commitment. The initiative sees banks lead cross-sector discussions with businesses and policymakers to outline ways to de-risk the net-zero and unlock capital to assist with the green recovery.
The group has this week sent a long-term strategy recommendation to MPs, calling on them to seize a “retrofit revolution” that would improve the energy performance of the UK’s homes and offices. The recommendations call for a strategy that would deliver at least a 50% reduction in energy usage and carbon footprints, with a potential to deliver a 100% reduction.
However, the banks warn that a piecemeal, short-term approach would hinder the amount of finance that is funnelled into retrofitting efforts.
The benefits of a long-term strategy would be £7.5bn in saved energy costs annually, the creation of 150,000 green jobs in 10 years while ending fuel poverty. Fully decarbonising the built environment would also address more than 20% of the emissions required to reach net-zero nationally.
The UK Green Building Council’s(UKGBC) director of membership and operations Munish Datta said: “UKGBC firmly supports holistic building retrofit as a national priority and is convinced that the combined total benefit of the recommendations set out in this paper could be significantly greater than the sum of their parts.
“We look forward to continuing working with our >530 members and Bankers for Net Zero to keep demonstrating the ever strengthening case for building retrofit.”
Green Homes Grant
The UK Government’s Green Finance Institute (GFI) has found that scaling up green retrofitting of the UK’s existing housing stock would require investments of up to £65bn while supporting the economic recovery.
Currently, the Government is facing criticism for a decision to pull the majority of funding for the £2bn Green Homes Grant, less than a year after it was unveiled to improve household energy efficiency and play a key role in an economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
A total of £2bn was earmarked for the new Green Homes Grant for those who do not live in social housing. The grant covers two-thirds of the cost of verified energy-saving home improvements – rising to 100% for the poorest households.
However, it has been reported that just 5% of the fund has been spent. Some households have had to wait almost half a year for grants to be approved. The Guardian reports that as of 22 January, only £71m of the £1.5bn promised to householders had been given out – less than 5%.
According to Bloomberg, the Treasury wants to reallocate these funds to other areas of the economy, but Prime Minister wants a successor to the Grant to continue to prioritise decarbonisation of the UK’s built environment.