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‘Home Advantage’ makes clear case for investment in energy efficiency

Research Comment

New Citizens Advice research shows why the government should commit to improving the energy efficiency of the nation’s homes. It sets out the human and economic costs of delay and the significant benefits of adequate investment.
Research and Campaigns Team (3 minutes)

There have been calls on the government for years to plan major investment in energy efficiency. And make it happen. For many reasons it never has, but the cost of delay has grown and grown.

Now we are feeling the consequences of energy inefficiency in the soaring cost of living and chronic ill-health.

NHS EE savings
Effective home insulation would reduce the pain and the cost.

Inefficient homes lose heat more quickly and mean higher energy bills. Home Advantage, a new report from Citizens Advice*, reveals the truth in stark economic terms:

  • 15 million homes are inefficient with EPC ratings** lower than C.
  • 13 million have ‘significant potential’ for upgrading.
  • Families would save £24 billion a year on energy bills.
  • Benefit to the economy would be £40 billion a year.
  • The NHS would be saving £2 billion a year by 2030.
Human cost

The human cost is just as high but more painful:

  • Currently 670,00 children living in damp or cold are at risk of getting asthma.
  • Cold homes also increase the risk of mental ill-health affecting 570,000 children and adults.
  • 6000 excess deaths are attributable to energy inefficient homes.

The average cost of increasing a home’s energy efficiency to EPC** C is now £3,800, unaffordable for many. Government has tried various support schemes but not made great progress. Among the main problems have been high upfront cost, low awareness and lack of personalised advice.

Case studies detailing the experience of recent Citizens Advice clients reveal the problems and enormous potential of effective action.

Epsom & Ewell

Across the country the average home energy efficiency rating is Band D with a score of 60. In Epsom & Ewell some 59% are rated Band D or below; the median score for all homes is 65; by tenure: owner-occupied 62, private rent 66, social rent 71 (Census 2021).

Citizens Advice says government funding, subsidies and private finance are now necessary. There must be careful planning to meet the challenge of energy inefficient homes.

We share this national call for action and hope policymakers take note. The overall investment cost will no doubt be high but the cost of not investing is bound to be higher as the research clearly shows.

* Home advantage – Unlocking the benefits of energy efficiency, Citizens Advice, June 2023
** Energy Performance Certificate

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