This month, the government introduced the Energy Bill into Parliament as part of its new Green Deal. The Existing Homes Alliance also recently published recommendations to ensure government efforts help the UK to refurbish its existing housing stock – to bring it in line with the UK’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions 80% by 2050.
Their recommendations cover key areas of the Green Deal. The first is finance: policies must allow the most to be made from the economic opportunities of widespread refurbishment – estimated between £5-15 billion. Secondly, the Existing Homes Alliance stresses that the government must place attention on how the work will be done - by investing in tradesmen and exploring area-based schemes for example - and done well. Shoddy work will make a dent in consumer demand for these changes. Thirdly, the government needs to focus on driving demand, regulating minimum energy performance is a necessary ‘stick’, but ‘carrots’ are also important.
Simon, our UK Business Support Manager, also works with the Existing Homes Alliance. He thinks making these changes will stimulate wider benefits:
"Creating demand for uptake of energy efficiency measures and stimulating the behaviour change that is needed to meet our carbon reduction targets is a tall order – but we can learn a lot from many of our Award winners who have worked hard to engage local communities, help them understand the issues, and take action. If, as a result of rising to this challenge, we get more local jobs, a more buoyant local economy and lower energy bills, then everyone wins."
(Pic: House on the right has been refurbished, including external wall insulation, by 2010 Award winners Northwards Housing)