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Environment Environment

Improve the energy efficiency of existing homes

Last updated: 08:49am 15 January 2019

We will improve the energy efficiency of existing homes, especially for the least well off, by committing to upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.60

Our verdict

Improving energy efficiency means reducing the amount of energy required to perform an action. With regard to homes, that means lower fuel use and a smaller contribution to potentially damaging climate change.  It is also a way for households to save money.

EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate, the EU’s energy efficiency rating scheme (from A to G). An EPC tells you how expensive a house will be to heat and light, and roughly what its carbon dioxide emissions will be. As part of this policy pledge, the government has committed to “upgrading all fuel poor homes to EPC Band C by 2030”.

The government reiterated its commitment to improving energy efficiency in existing homes in its Clean Growth Strategy in October 2017.

In March 2018, the government announced that it was committing to furthering home energy efficiency, releasing £6 billion of funding for this purpose. It also launched a consultation on its energy efficiency scheme, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). The response was published in July 2018, adopting most of the proposals. This scheme obligates energy suppliers to promote energy efficient solutions, especially for fuel poor households.

Another consultation on the Warm Home Discount Scheme was also undertaken and a response published in June 2018, with similar outcomes to the ECO consultation.

The government is taking steps to investigate improvements in energy efficiency for fuel poor households and has released funding to back this effort, so we are marking this policy as ‘in progress’. The target date of 2030 is long after this term of office, so to mark this policy as ‘done’ we would at least need to see evidence of an increase in fuel poor homes moving to EPC Band C by the end of this term of office.

It’s worth noting that in November 2018, the third annual report of the Committee on Fuel Poverty had one key message for government regarding its fuel poverty strategy, which includes this policy on improving energy efficiency for the least well off:

“Overall progress is stalling…”

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