Scrapping energy efficiency plan has cost UK homes £200 a year

The UK government’s decision to scrap an energy efficiency standard for new homes has cost owners more than £200 in extra bills each year, new analysis has revealed.

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This amounts to a total of £120m in additional energy costs that households have had to pay since former chancellor George Osborne axed the Zero Carbon Homes policy in 2015.

And these costs are set to rise to £2bn by 2020 as more new homes are occupied, according to the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), which carried out the research.

The think tank’s head of analysis, Dr Jonathan Marshall, said carbon emissions are rising thanks to ineffective energy efficiency polices, but that Zero Carbon Homes could have made a “real difference”.

“As well as future-proofing new homes, the policy would have saved families money, reduced Britain’s vulnerability to energy supply shocks, and cut carbon emissions,” he added.

Zero Carbon Homes was due to come into effect in 2016 after nine years of discussions with housebuilders and other stakeholders, but was cancelled just six months before implementation.

This is despite the UK having some of the most inefficient homes in Europe, and government advisors like the Committee on Climate Change saying it is essential to reduce the amount of energy wasted from buildings.

Heating is thought to account for approximately 40% of national energy consumption and 25% of emissions, with homes responsible for more than half of this.

And heating represents the largest component of domestic energy bills in the UK, according to the ECIU, so is therefore directly linked to fuel poverty and health risks.

It also estimates that the Zero Carbon Homes policy would have delivered cost savings nearly three times those sought by the government’s recently introduced energy price cap.

The Homeowners Alliance’s chief executive, Paula Higgins, said: “Britain’s leaky homes mean that people can struggle to manage their bills – for the less well off, this can have a real impact.

“Homes should be built to the highest standards to be fit for this and future generations. Government and industry need to recognise that it’s in everyone’s interest to get this right.” 

 

Image credit | iStock
Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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