We made both the front page and page three of The Times this week with our vision of making F & G rated homes obsolete.
It’s an understatement to say – when you read some of the online comments – that not everyone shares our view.
I have to say that even I was surprised at the potential carbon savings of making this vision a reality. We would save 9.4Mt CO2 per year by making every F & G rated home at least an E rating. ‘What does that mean?’ you ask. Well, that is the equivalent to the current yearly emissions (from heating, lighting and appliances) of all the households in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol, Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and Glasgow put together.
If you take a typical three bed 1930s semi and increase the loft insulation depth from 50mm to 270mm, install cavity wall insulation, fit a modern hot water cylinder jacket and cylinder thermostat, upgrade heating controls (to fit a programmer and thermostatic radiator valves) and use low energy lighting in all fittings all at a cost of about £1,000 this would repay for itself in three years.
About a third of our UK housing stock fits into this category.
Policies like these might sound great, I hear you say, but not everyone has the cash to pay these up-front costs.
There are a number of grants and offers available and the £1,000 cost can be significantly lowered, making it a much more viable option for people on lower incomes. The fuel poor are a real priority group for these offers.
We propose that regulation should come into force in seven years time, and we believe grants, financing packages and advice should make it possible for everyone who wants to act to do so in the next few years.
Fifteen per cent of homes will cost more than £5,000 to bring into the E band. Often these will be older, larger homes in rural areas. Specific help will be needed to support the owners of these homes. For example, we are looking into how Green Finance Packages – essentially low or no interest loans – can help people access the financing they need to make improvements.
We cannot make this vision a reality unless we make this a possibility for everyone, despite some vociferous views to the contrary!