The global recession has had both a positive and negative effect on the environmental situation in the UK. On the one hand, the economic downturn has contributed towards lower carbon emissions – although, CO2 levels are expected to rise again as the country claws its way out of the recession – on the other hand, many homeowners have chosen not to improve the energy efficiency of their homes due to financial concerns or constraints.
There are many ways in which homes can be made more energy efficient, not least by upgrading old central heating boilers or loft insulation and cavity wall insulation. The cost associated with such endeavours, however, has driven many homeowners to the conclusion that now is not the time to think about the environment. According to new analysis by the Energy Saving Trust, this could not be further from the truth.
The Energy Saving Trust has revealed that, in 2008, 17 per cent of homes in England were categorised in the F and G bands, which represent the lowest gradings on the energy performance certificate (EPC). This figure contrasts favourably with that of 2006, at which time 22 per cent of homes fell into the lowest EPC bands.
Although the trend of improved energy efficiency in UK homes is expected to continue, the Energy Saving Trust fears that not enough homeowners are doing their bit to reduce carbon emissions at the domestic level. Furthermore, the Trust claims that it would cost just £3,000 to bring an F or G rated home into the E band.
At present, the average UK home falls into the D band, which is encouraging but perhaps not good enough to meet wider carbon emission targets. Bringing the UK’s most energy inefficient homes into the E band is thought to provide the most substantial savings in terms of carbon emissions and energy efficiency, which can also result in significantly lower annual fuel bills. Housing Strategy Manager for the Energy Saving Trust, David Weatherall, claimed that F and G rated homes could be improved for “less than 2 per cent of the sale price of the average UK home”.