Two thirds of homes need better insulation

Insulation in the roofspace of a house

The head of the UK’s Climate Change Committee, Chris Stark, says we must do more to improve the insulation of our homes. In 2008, just 9% of properties had an Energy Performance of C or above. That figure has increased to 46% and rising, and the social housing sector has risen from 18% in 2008 to around 66%.

It is estimated that the insulation of over 19 million homes in the UK could be improved. Britain’s housing stock is often older and less energy efficient than that of our European counterparts, but retrofitting insulation to an existing building can prove very expensive.

Mr Stark says the government’s stance on insulation is “very poor” and that it isn’t doing enough to assist with the costs involved. He called for a “sharper incentive” to encourage people to invest in energy efficiency.

The energy performance of a house is rated A-G, according to its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), with the most energy efficient being awarded an ‘A’ and the least energy efficient ‘D’ or below. An EPC is valid for ten years and must be renewed after this time.

Retrospective improvements to an older property might including lagging to pipework, installing modern double glazing, insulating floors and walls, and even insulating the outside walls of the property. Carrying out all of this work would eventually be reflected in savings to heating bills, but the costs could run into the many thousands of pounds.

Since 1 October 2008, landlords and providers of social housing have been required to have a minimum valid EPC ‘E’ on their properties. The EPC rating lasts ten years and need only be renewed after this time if the property is to be re-let to a new tenant.

A new Minimum Energy Performance of Buildings (NO.2) Bill is currently being discussed by parliament. It is proposed that rental properties achieve a minimum EPC rating of ‘C’ on new tenancies from December 2025 and on all rental properties by December 2028.