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English housing stock energy efficiency gains stall in 2017

Government publishes latest English Housing Report that finds some stagnation in national efforts to improve energy efficiency and quality of homes in areas such as thermal comfort

An ongoing increase in the overall energy efficiency of homes in England over the last twenty years has slowed down considerably in 2017, according to a major national survey conducted by government.

The English Housing Report for 2017 to 2018 compiles a range of data concerning the housing stock across the country to detail trends concerning domestic building performance and safety. This includes compiling data on factors such as heating, ventilation and energy use.

The latest set of figures published by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government found that the average Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) ratings used by government to assess energy and environmental performance of homes had increased from 62 points in 2017 from 45 in 1996.

According to the survey, “This increase was evident in all tenures. However, the increase appears to be slowing and there was no change in the average SAP rating of homes between 2016 and 2017 (in any tenure).”

The report also found that 13 per cent of surveyed dwellings in the social rented sector did not meet the ‘Decent Homes Standard’ that outlines minimum quality requirements for a property focused on factors such as ensuring reasonable thermal comfort and having modern facilities and services.

A quarter of private tented properties and 19 per cent of owner-occupied homes in England were not meeting the same standards.

“Over the last decade, the proportion of non-decent homes has declined from 35 per of the stock in 2007 to 19 per cent in 2017. This decrease was observed across all tenures but has stalled in recent years,” the report stated.


From the perspective of heating, the report found that 85 per cent of the private rented sector used central heating. This was the lowest proportion of dwellings in the England’s housing stock to make use of such systems.

In total, 94 per cent of owner occupied and 95 per cent of local authority homes made use of central heating systems that provide a more efficient source of heat.

A decision in the mid-2000s to make condensing boiler models mandatory for all new or replacement appliances has seen their adoption increased from two per cent of homes in 2001 to 66 per cent of current stock in England by 2017, according to the report.

The report also found that two per cent of homes in England has issues with condensation and mould in 2017, particularly in the rented housing sector.

According to the findings, seven per cent of private rented dwelling were found to have some issues with damp. Six per cent of social rented dwellings and two per cent of owner-occupied properties suffered from issues with damp over the same period.

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