Home insulation could ease health and social crisis

As energy bills double or triple, insulation could cushion households
12 May 2022 , Katie Coyne

Report highlights desperate need for better insulation across UK homes as the cost of living and climate crises ramp up in urgency

Energy company, EDF has carried out research with property data platform, Sprift, finding that less than 10% of the 21 million British homes surveyed had insulation installed or renewed within the last 20 years, while just 58% met the insulation standards set in the 1970s. The organisation contrasted this with the frequency with which consumers change mobile phones and other devices.

When the average household energy bill stood at £1,200 a year, loft insulation could save £165 a year. Set against an annual £2,000 energy bill, savings would be £250 a year. Savings from insulation measures will also further increase with rises in energy costs and while the energy price cap was raised in April 2022, a further rise is due to come into effect in October 2022.

Philippe Commaret, Managing Director, EDF said it is “surprising” that the average insulation age of a UK home was over 40 years old. EDF said it had committed £20m for energy efficiency measures for fuel-poor customers, and has urged the government to consider new schemes to improve home insulation.

Numerous reports have highlighted the poor state of insulation across UK properties. The CIEH, alongside other charities, has been calling for the government to introduce a long-term investment strategy into energy efficiency measures for homes. The institute said the rise in fuel poverty was a looming health and social crisis. Last year a report from home climate management company, Tado found the UK had the oldest housing stock in comparison to EU member states, many of which are energy inefficient. 

“These inefficient buildings are impacting not only our progress to net zero, but also our energy security, our nation’s health and wellbeing, and are contributing to fuel poverty.”

Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said: “Energy efficiency measures are essential foundations in our nation’s transition to net zero, for too long many UK homes have remained poorly insulated and heated.

“These inefficient buildings are impacting not only our progress to net zero, but also our energy security, our nation’s health and wellbeing, and are contributing to fuel poverty, which will only increase as we weather the storm of our current energy crisis.”

Additional consumer research carried out by OnePoll alongside the survey, including 2,000 UK homeowners, found only a third had updated their insulation. Some 25% said they hadn’t updated insulation because it was too expensive, 19% said they would rather spend the money on other things, and 17% said they didn’t know what type of insulation they needed.

 

Image credit: Shutterstock

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