The Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Joan Ruddock, visited our Energy Saving Trust advice centre in south London this week. Ms Ruddock dutifully manned the phones and talked to a range of Londoners who had phoned the centre for advice on how to stop wasting energy as well as what grants and offers were available to them. The visit was a great opportunity for Ms Ruddock to hear first hand the kind of questions that citizens are asking our advice centres and get an idea of the barriers that prevent Londoners from taking action.

We researched around the topic and discovered that London has the potential to avoid wasting over £70m on energy bills by insulating lofts and cavity walls; that’s not even counting boilers that need replacing or solid walls which are expensive to insulate.

London suffers from having a far greater than average of what we call ‘hard to treat’ homes. These tend to be older properties with solid walls, flats and those that are privately rented. They are difficult to make more energy efficient for a variety of reasons and tackling them is one of the biggest problems in cities like London, that’s why initiatives such as the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance and Pay As You Save are so important.

Greater London has over half a million houses without adequate loft insulation and over 800,000 without cavity wall insulation. We looked at the number of homes in each borough and found that Enfield has the greatest potential to reduce energy wastage. Residents could collectively save around £4.5 million per year on their energy bills by filling their cavity walls and insulating lofts. Barnet and Havering follow closely behind with the potential to save £4.4 million and £4.3 million respectively. Overall the potential for residents to save money by installing insulation is fantastic. Great news in these hard economic times.

Ms Ruddock should be pleased: the London Borough of Lewisham – in which her constituency lies – came 18th out of the 33 London boroughs in terms of energy saving potential. This means that a large proportion of their lofts and cavities have been addressed already. They still have close to 6,000 un-insulated lofts and almost 9,000 that need a top up though. The best news is for Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Camden, both of which are doing a great job of filling cavity walls and insulating lofts. 

Joan Ruddock