Energy efficiency: when will we see savings?
For years, we’ve been told that improving the energy efficiency of our homes is going to save us money. The government is keen to push policy to ensure energy efficiency standards are improved, which they say will help both the environment and our bank balances, but just how long will it be before we see the savings?
According to recent reports, how much longer you keep paying more for energy will depend very much on where in the UK you live, with homes in many areas falling way behind expected standards.
30 years of higher bills in some regions
As a part of its plans to be “net zero” by 2050, the government wants UK homes to receive an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) score of C by 2030. EPC measures homes’ energy efficiency and gives a grade of between A (the highest standard) and G (the lowest).
What is net zero?Net zero refers to the UK government’s plan to reduce its carbon emissions to a level whereby it releases no more CO2 than it absorbs. The current target for achieving this is 2050.
Making homes more energy efficient will certainly make a big difference in terms of meeting our climate targets, as household emissions currently make up more than a fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas production. More than 60% of UK households have an EPC rating of D or below, but this statistic varies significantly by region.
A study done by property data company Kamma, published in The Telegraph this week, claims that while homes in London and the South East could meet the C grade target by 2031, homes in Liverpool and Manchester could take until 2061 to be brought up to scratch. This will mean more than thirty years of higher bills in these areas while they play catch-up.
Even worse off was Yorkshire and Humber, where it was revealed 64% of homes fell short of expectations. Kamma chief executive Orla Shields says that they have revealed these striking statistics in order to emphasise the need to speed up improvements to energy efficiency:
We need to double the pace of energy efficiency improvement of homes to meet these new targets by 2030.
Big fines for landlords who fail on energy efficiency
The government’s plans to enforce this desperately needed acceleration of energy efficiency improvements include big fines for landlords who fail to comply by bringing their properties up to an EPC-C grade.
It is said that from 2028, under plans still being considered, landlords could face a fine of up to £5,000 if their property or properties are below EPC-C. A government source was quoted by The Times this week as saying:
If we’re serious about the net-zero 2050 target it’s the kind of thing we need to do
The news comes among a raft of new energy policies expected to be released in the government’s new “heating and energy framework” in the next few weeks, which it seems will have a big emphasis on reducing our carbon footprint.
The framework is also expected to encourage using electricity over using gas for home heating, as well as a new fuel poverty strategy which will encourage £13 billion of private investment from landlords in order to improve energy efficiency. We’ll have more news on developments in government energy policy as it’s announced.