Household energy-efficiency must become the UK’s top infrastructure priority, the UK Green Building Council is urging today.
The demand comes one year on from the launch of the Green Deal – the government’s flagship energy-efficiency policy – which has suffered from disappointing take-up, and follows cuts to its sister scheme the Energy Companies Obligation at the end of 2013.
UK-GBC is calling on the government to back energy-efficiency, creating a national retrofit programme to help permanently reduce consumers’ energy bills and create thousands of new jobs.
UK Green Building Council chief executive Paul King said: “Improving the energy-efficiency of our cold and draughty homes is the only way to permanently cut households’ spiralling energy bills and will be a major driver of economic growth.
“The government must make energy-efficiency a top national infrastructure priority, as important as decisions on High Speed 2 or aviation expansion.
“While the Green Deal is the cornerstone of the UK’s retrofit policy, it has so far massively under delivered.
“The government has to step in to create incentives that encourage homes into taking action and be prepared to prioritise capital spending on energy-efficiency.
“Underwriting the Green Deal – as the government has done with Help to Buy – would provide a huge shot in the arm for the retrofit industry.”
A new report published today by UK-GBC finds that more attractive Green Deal finance could provide a boost to the scheme.
The report – Green Deal Finance: Examining the Green Deal interest rate as a barrier to take-up – finds that while the interest rate on Green Deal loans (currently 8-10 per cent offered by the Green Deal Finance Company) is not the overriding issue deterring consumers from signing up to the scheme, as is often suggested, lower rates could increase take-up.
Produced by a task group of UK-GBC members and other organisations, the report sets out a number of potential options for reducing the interest rate.
Marksman Consulting partner Christoph Harwood, who chaired the task group, said: “The report finds that while current interest rates are not the biggest barrier to take up of Green Deal finance, lower rates would make the scheme much more attractive to consumers.
“However, given the Green Deal requirements, this cannot be achieved through a standard market solution and so financial intervention at either a local or national level would be required to deliver a lower interest rate at the large scale required.”