Energy efficiency of UK homes

The House of Commons Library has released a briefing focusing on the United Kingdom’s progress in enhancing energy efficiency.

The report can be seen here, and highlights several key points regarding the progress and challenges of improving energy efficiency in UK homes:

  1. Trend in Energy Efficiency Improvement: While the average energy efficiency of UK homes has improved steadily over time, the rate of improvement has slowed since 2014. Northern Ireland has the highest average energy efficiency rating, followed by Scotland and England, with Wales having the lowest average rating.
  2. Increase in Band C or Higher Ratings: There has been faster progress in increasing the percentage of homes with an energy efficiency rating of band C or higher. This progress is evident across all nations of the UK, with England showing an increase from 12% in 2010 to almost 48% in 2021.
  3. Factors Affecting Energy Efficiency: The age and type of property are strongly linked to energy efficiency, with newer homes and purpose-built flats having higher ratings compared to older homes, converted flats, and bungalows.
  4. Insulation Levels: A significant number of properties in Great Britain still lack adequate insulation measures. For example, millions of properties with cavity walls have no cavity wall insulation, many homes with lofts have insufficient loft insulation, and a majority of homes with solid walls lack solid wall insulation.
  5. Energy Efficiency Schemes: Various schemes exist across the UK to improve energy efficiency, primarily targeting lower-income households living in less energy-efficient properties. The Energy Efficiency Obligation (ECO) has been a significant scheme, delivering millions of measures in homes between 2013 and 2023. However, there was a significant drop in the number of measures delivered after changes to the scheme in 2014.
  6. Government Policies and Trends: Changes in government policies and schemes have had a notable impact on the uptake of insulation measures. For example, there was a sharp drop in loft and cavity wall installations in 2013 when ECO and the Green Deal replaced existing energy efficiency schemes. Despite some small increases in installations in subsequent years, there has been no clear recovery in insulation measures up to the end of 2022.

Overall, the briefing underscores the importance of continued efforts to improve energy efficiency in UK homes, addressing factors such as inadequate insulation and ensuring the effectiveness of government schemes in achieving energy efficiency targets.

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