The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee have published a report assessing the Government’s action on energy efficiency.
‘Energy efficiency: building towards net zero‘ highlights the important role of energy efficiency measures in tackling fuel poverty, reducing energy bills, meeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions and unlocking significant long-term economic returns. However, with the UK housing stock remaining among the least efficient in Europe, the Committee stresses that the Government is not set to meet its targets.
A summary of the key points and recommendations are as follows:
Investment and infrastructure. The amount of public money invested in residential energy efficiency schemes in England per capita, is lower to that in devolved nations.
Recommendation: The Government should be clear about how much public investment is needed to meet EPC targets.
Retrofitting homes. As the Government’s only energy efficiency scheme, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is unsuitable due to limited funding, households required to make a financial contribution towards measures and the focus on low-cost rather than need. The introduction of new regulations in the private rented sector is welcome but the impact and scope is limited.
Recommendation: A three tier funding system should be established to support fuel poor households. This would consist of ECO, centrally funded local authority schemes and an additional national funding safety net. Higher standards of installation should be enforced and a comprehensive advice network established.
Recommendation: The cost cap in place for landlords should be increased and local authorities should receive adequate resources to enforce standards.
New homes. Most large housebuilders are only likely to raise the energy efficiency of stock if they are required to by regulation.
Recommendation: Government should legislate the Future Homes Standards as soon as possible. The Building Regulation regime should also be revised to remove the loophole which permits developers to build homes to outdated energy efficiency standards.