Insulate draughty homes and do more to make that happen is the call from Britain’s climate change chief Chris Stark, head of the UK’s Climate Change Committee. Speaking to the BBC this week Stark rated government policy on insulation as “very poor” and went on to say that insulation, together with renewable power, is the way out of the current energy crisis.
According to government data, two-thirds of homes, or 19 million, need better insulation, but it’s just not happening and it’s all down to costs and finding an installer. Many installers were victims of the failed £1.5bn Green Homes Grant (GHG) which the government scrapped on 31 March 2021, after just six months. The scheme failed because too many householders were chasing too few installers. There were also delays in the grant payments which have left many installers out of pocket.
The GHG which offered people up to £10,000 to insulate draughty homes was described by the House of Commons environmental audit select committee, as so inept that it actually damaged the building sector. Just 47,500 homes were improved under the scheme, far fewer than the 600,000 that was promised at launch in September 2020.
Britain has some of the oldest and least energy efficient housing in Europe with housing stock accounts for 20% of its carbon emissions through heating, hot water and cooking. Retrofitting – adding insulation to existing homes – can be very expensive and Mr Stark says the government isn’t doing enough to help fund this costly work.
The government estimates that 19 million of the UK’s 29 million homes are on the bottom rungs of the Energy Performance rankings with a rating of “D” or below. They need to provide “a sharper incentive for most people to make these investments in improving the energy efficiency of the home that they live in,” the climate change chief told BBC News.
As a first step to having a better insulated home, find out where your home might be leaking heat by borrowing ACE’s thermal imaging camera – find out more on our Energy page.