Improving home insulation could save UK households an average of more than £500 a year on energy bills, saving the country a total of £7.8bn a year.
That’s according to the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG), which is calling on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to prioritise energy savings through home improvements.
The government has been under pressure to tackle rising gas bills, with households seeing an increase in payments over recent months.
Further increases will take effect in April, when the energy price cap will be raised to take higher wholesale gas prices into account.
The government is exploring ways to support those on low incomes who will struggle to afford higher heating costs.
But the EEIG – a group of business organisations and charities that includes the CBI, Kingfisher, Energy Savings Trust, and the green group WWF – says the current and previous governments share some of blame for higher bills.
Chair Sarah Kostense-Winterton said: “The cost-of-living crisis is being driven by soaring gas prices. A permanent solution to lower bills is by reducing demand through energy efficiency measures.
“Emergency short-term measures for the most vulnerable households are crucial, but it’s fundamental for the government to simultaneously focus on the long term to avoid futures crises.
“Green home retrofits have significant social, environmental, and economic co-benefits, and stand out as a ‘no regrets’ solution to the energy crisis, climate crisis, and levelling up agenda.”
In the short term, the EEIG wants the government to provide additional support for vulnerable households, which it says would include expanding the Warm Homes Discount, an option the government is currently considering.
But the EEIG says ministers must also strengthen the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which requires energy suppliers to support low-income households to fit energy-saving measures.
The group says it is concerned that, insted, the chancellor may suspend the long-term ECO funding and shift the cash to tackle the immediate bills problem.
The EEIG is warning that cutting ECO would be damaging for households and industry, and would stall progress in making fuel-poor homes more energy efficient.
In his manifesto, Boris Johnson promised £9bn for energy efficiency up to 2030.
Approximately £6bn was allocated to be spent this parliament – money the EEIG says has not yet been allocated.
The EEIG is also calling for a new £3.6bn grant or subsidy scheme to help all households insulate their homes.
The call for better insulation was backed at the weekend by MPs on the Conservative Environment Network.
Image: Nagy-Bagoly Arpad/Shutterstock
Are you a social housing professional? Sign up for a FREE MEMBERSHIP to upload news stories, post job vacancies, and connect with colleagues on our secure social feed.