UK Trails Behind As European Countries Upgrade Homes To Reduce Energy Bills And Tackle Climate Crisis


This is according to a briefing paper from Imperial College London experts released today, called Decarbonising Buildings: Insights From Across Europe, published by the Grantham Institute – Climate Change and the Environment at Imperial. 

Countries including Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Italy and the Netherlands have been rolling out multiple programmes and incentives to reduce residents’ energy consumption and costs.  

Meanwhile, the report’s authors say the UK government is falling behind in helping people conserve energy, leaving Brits living in some of the least efficient housing in Europe, and compounding the energy and cost of living crises. 

Lead author Dr Salvador Acha, from the Department of Chemical Engineering at Imperial College London, said: “Studies show the UK’s 28.6 million homes are among the least energy efficient in Europe and lose heat up to three times faster than on the continent, making people poorer and colder. 

“At a time of increased energy bills and inflation, people in the UK can’t afford to lose energy due to inefficient housing, but unfortunately energy policy in this area has been nil for many years. With the continued climate crisis, and the fact that our homes account for 30 per cent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, the planet can’t afford this lack of action either.” 

The Grantham report comes just two weeks after the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) announced a £1billion grant scheme to help homeowners that have low energy efficiency ratings and are in lower council tax bands, insulate their homes. The scheme has been criticised for not opening until Spring. 

Dr Acha added: “I’m pleased to see the UK government taking this step in the right direction, despite the tardiness of the announcement, as we have been suffering from high energy prices for over a year. However, action needs to be taken on an even larger scale. If each eligible home claims the maximum grant of £15,000, the new scheme will help about 67,000 homes – a tiny proportion of the houses that need to be upgraded, and roughly 0.25% of the housing stock.” 

“Insulating the UK’s homes would reduce the amount of energy we need to heat them. Well-insulated homes leave more money in people’s pockets, keep them warm, well and comfortable, and less worried about paying their bills. They also reduce our demand on overseas energy sources, strengthening our national energy security. Our research shows that European countries are ahead in crafting innovative policies to reduce energy use and costs, so we know change is possible.” 

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