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Greening UK homes will take a century

It will take at least 100 years to make UK homes fully green
Greening UK homes will take a century

It will take over a hundred years to make existing UK homes totally green to meet our international climate obligations at the current rate, warns WWF.

Insulation rate must ‘urgently increase’

Homes account for 20% of our total climate emissions, and the report finds that, without new policies to make new and existing homes more energy efficient, these emissions – which urgently need to fall if we’re to tackle climate change – could actually be 3% higher in 2030, well below the 10% fall required by the Committee on Climate Change.

The new report, Getting the house in order – Priorities for homes in the Clean Growth Plan, shows that the UK government must ‘urgently increase’ the rate at which homes are insulated to hit our climate targets.

There is public support for this; a new poll carried out by Populus on behalf of WWF found that 86% of people believe that saving energy in the home is important, and 69% are likely to check energy costs before buying or renting a home.

‘This report brings home the huge challenge we face if we are to meet our climate obligations. This winter too many people will be living in cold homes that leak and waste energy. This is piling hundreds of pounds onto people’s fuel bills, as well as damaging their health, and is ruining our planet.’

Head of Energy and Climate at WWF

Will UK hit targets?

With the UK on track to fall short of its climate change targets by as much as 30% by 2025, the government is expected to publish a plan in September outlining how it will reduce UK emissions to address this and meet our international obligations, such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

This ‘Clean Growth Plan’ must triple the speed at which we’re insulating existing homes to ensure that four million are improved by 2025. However, currently the majority of people have no support from government to make this change.

WWF’s poll found that 72% of people would insulate their homes if there were a government subsidy available, showing that there is a public appetite to make this change.

‘Last year was the hottest on record. And with extreme weather and flooding costing lives and livelihoods from Bangladesh to Texas, we are all seeing the effects of climate change. It is real and it’s happening now. The UK government needs to take seriously their international obligations. Stopping climate change should start at home – in fact, it should start in people’s homes. The Clean Growth Plan must prioritise giving support to people to make sure their homes use as little energy as possible; otherwise, our homes really will cost the Earth’.

Head of Energy and Climate at WWF

Warmer, healthier homes

Insulating UK homes to the recommended standard by 2025 would not only save the equivalent emissions of taking 1.7 million cars off roads, but would wipe over half a billion pounds from domestic energy bills each year – equivalent to £25 per household – and as much as £165 for the homes where improvements are made.

As well as tackling emissions it would make homes warmer and healthier, and double the rate at which fuel poor households are lifted out of poverty.

This is especially important as WWF’s new polling shows that 46% of people often have to turn off heating due to the cost of energy.

‘Decarbonising the building stock is crucial to tackling climate change but the current lack of policy certainty is undermining business confidence and investment. The upcoming Clean Growth Plan is an opportunity for the Government to set out a clear and ambitious vision for transitioning to a low carbon economy over the next fifteen years.

‘Achieving the UK’s carbon targets will mean retrofitting more than one home every minute and building high quality new homes which produce as much energy as they use. With the right long term policy framework these objectives can drive innovation in the construction industry and offer huge opportunities for new markets and jobs in energy efficiency. Low carbon buildings will be warmer, healthier and cheaper to run, helping to drive productivity for businesses and transform the lives of residents.’

Policy and campaign director, UK-Green Building Council

Click here to read WWF’s priorities for the Clean Growth Plan.

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