Improving the energy efficiency of UK homes could create 8,000 jobs, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, drive down energy bills and save the NHS £1 billion.
That’s according to a report by the National Insulation Association (NIA), which suggests the Home Upgrade Grant Scheme should be launched this year as part of the post-Covid stimulus package to address fuel poverty and accelerate the low carbon transition of the country.
NIA calls for a street-by-street approach to make homes more affordable to run – poorly insulated homes are more expensive to run, especially for those who are now working remotely or home-schooling.
The study suggests a retrofit assessment followed by deep retrofit upgrades for low-income households could offer a saving of £329 per year on their energy bills and notes with impacts on physical and mental health and contributing to excess winter deaths, poor performing homes could benefit from the scheme and save the NHS £63 million in the first year of the roll-out.
The trade association also recommends grants should be used for a combination of improvements ranging from wall insulation to low carbon heating systems.
It says an improvement in energy efficiency could also lead to a remarkable reduction in energy demand and consequently, in carbon emissions – the initial pilot is estimated to create £8.5 million in air quality damage and £81.9 million from avoided carbon dioxide emissions.
The NIA also estimates the pilot scheme would create more than 470 new jobs in the first year, rising to 8,000 total jobs if the full £2.5 billion investment is delivered.
Derek Horrocks, Chairman of the National Insulation Association, said: “The benefits that come from improving the quality of our homes are substantial on any level but particularly now as we come out of the crisis.
“Providing support to those in need must take priority, but incentivising the deep street-by-street retrofits that will be needed to achieve our climate targets will drive uptake in all homes below standard. If we are going to ‘build back better,’ it is now time to turn promises into action.”