Government Urged To Address Housing Energy Efficiency

A leading group of construction industry bodies has urged the government to ensure that legislation is in place to address the environmental impact of the current housing stock so that it meets sustainability goals.

The group, including Builders Merchants Federation, Federation of Master Builders and Building Alliance, highlighted the fact that current housing stock is responsible for 40 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions.

If the government are to achieve carbon neutrality and zero carbon emissions status by 2050, then the group claim more needs to be done to modernise older homes.

The UK is already lagging behind our continental neighbours when it comes to energy efficient homes.

According to recent research which looked at over 50,000 properties throughout Europe, by tado, UK homes lose their heat at a quicker rate than European equivalents, even when outside temperature is taken into account.

UK homes with outdoor temperatures of 0˚C and an indoor temperature of 20˚C will lose 3˚C over a five hour period. In contrast, a European home under the same conditions and temperatures will only lose 1˚C.

38 per cent of the UK’s housing stock was built prior to 1946, long before modern standards were imposed. This figure is significantly higher than older housing stock available in the rest of Europe.

Given the UK’s history and heritage locked into our archaic homes, the group claims it is important to ensure the government finds an adequate solution to ensure older homes are able to meet contemporary and future environmental standards.

John Newcomb, CEO of the Builders Merchants Federation, said:

“If we are to achieve net zero by 2050, Government action is needed to improve the existing housing stock.

“We must work together to provide confidence, incentives and support to homeowners to undertake the necessary upgrades.

“Collaboration across the industry is needed to help achieve the best long terms results.”

Brian Berry, CEO of the Federation of Master Builders, said:

“A new ambitious national retrofit strategy is needed if the Government is to deliver its zero carbon target by 2050. Buildings contribute 40 per cent of all carbon emissions and given that 85 per cent of our existing housing stock will still be in use in 2050, urgent action is needed now to improve the energy efficiency of our homes.

“To deliver greener, more energy efficient homes, we need a skilled workforce to carry this out.

“Unfortunately, the current skills crisis is a major handicap which is why we need a stronger commitment from the Government to develop home grown talent with more quality apprenticeships and funding for the further education sector.

“We also need to stamp out the cowboys in our industry which is why a licensing system is needed to raise standards and protect homeowners.

“It simply cannot be right that anyone in this country can call themselves a builder with the result that too many homeowners are fleeced of thousands of pounds every year.”

Mike Leonard, CEO of the Building Alliance said:

“With global economic head winds putting pressure on the market and the UK now having left the EU, the time is right to secure the future of Britain by investing in infrastructure, new homes and other buildings and the improvement of existing buildings.”

Christian Deilmann, co-founder and chief product officer of tado, said:

“The UK is a leader in smart technology adoption but is lagging behind Europe when it comes to energy-efficient homes.

“The good news is that there are lots of great solutions available and a huge opportunity for energy savings to be made.”

Chris Lovatt, managing director of E.ON UK’s Residential business, said:

“On an individual level, there are many ways we can ensure our homes are as energy efficient as possible.

“Simple steps such as ensuring lofts and walls are well insulated, ensuring you have a smart meter installed, an energy efficient boiler, and investing in other smart technologies can help you cut energy waste and enable you to better manage your home energy use.”

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