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The lost decade of home insulation

In 2012 we installed over 2m of insulation in our home. In past years, that number was just one in 10.

We're in the middle of another winter where people are struggling with whether they can afford to turn on the heat. Britain has the most leaky homes in Western Europe Heat is lost three times faster More than some of our neighbors. This means we have to pay more to heat our homes to the right level or risk the health problems that can come with living in a cold home.If you are a private tenant, you most likely to be affected In a cold or damp home.

Upgrading our homes to make them more energy efficient through measures such as insulation, double and triple glazing and heat pumps can save families money and mean we use less gas to heat our homes, reducing dangerous carbon emissions. Improving our homes can also improve our health. NHS costs could be reduced £2 billion per yearIf our homes are up to standard by reducing health hazards such as cold, damp or falls, poor health can be avoided.

But while energy bills are rising, we're seeing the government slow down in providing insulation for our homes.

We looked at data from the government's signature residential energy efficiency schemes and found that the number of homes upgraded through these schemes fell by around 40% in one year. The government has a number of schemes in place to support the installation of insulation in homes.The total number of households we found upgraded Housing Upgrade Grant (HUG) and Local Authority Delivery (LAD) schemes Last year it was down 40% since the year before.Likewise, the number of households ECO upgrade – the largest and longest-running program – is down 55% over the past year.this Social Housing Decarbonization Fund (SHDF) The company is less than two years old, so it's impossible to calculate corresponding numbers, but it was down 41% quarter-on-quarter.

Home energy efficiency measures are an important part of the UK's policy to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. According to the government's own climate adviser, the UK should install around 2,940,087 insulation measures between 2020 and the end of 2023. But our analysis finds a huge gap between these targets and reality: just 464,982 energy efficiency measures were installed across the UK between early 2020 and autumn 2023 to November 2023, ECO from January 2020 to September 2023). These account for only 15.8% of our required installation measures.

Figure 1: House insulation measures implemented through government schemes have fallen significantly since 2012, while the need to insulate more homes to meet our climate targets has increased

At a time when energy prices are soaring and our commitment to decarbonising our homes has never been clearer, the number of homes being upgraded is at its lowest level in years. So how did we get here? ?

Part of the problem is the age of our homes.There is one in the UK High proportion of housing Built before energy standards were introduced in the 1970s and 1980s.

But we can’t blame our housing stock for the problem. We're now in the middle of another winter where people are struggling to stay warm in drafty homes, blamed on more than a decade of failed government policies.

Two recent major policy interventions are the Green New Deal 2012 and the Green Homes Grant 2020. Both are poorly designed, fail to improve usage, and undermine consumer and installer trust. Meanwhile, in 2015 the government abandoned plans to tighten energy efficiency standards for new homes. We continue to build new homes that are not sufficiently insulated and will need to be retrofitted in the future – meaning the number of homes that need to be upgraded increases over time. The government is only now consulting on future housing standards, which are due to come into force next year and will impose tougher energy efficiency requirements on new buildings.The consultation has been criticized as Delay and contain weak proposal.

The energy crisis should have been a wake-up call for the government to subsidize basic insulation in Britain's draughtiest homes as a way of permanently lowering electricity bills. Instead, we took a piecemeal approach, and today we're seeing the results: Government-backed home insulation is declining at a time when it should be accelerating.

The result is another winter of eye-watering energy bills.The government needs to step up efforts A truly large-scale insulation solution and investment in training As a result, we have a well-paid workforce ready to upgrade the nation's housing.

Picture: iStock

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