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Milliband launches green homes strategy at Ecobuild

04 March 2010

A green transformation of Britain’s homes will take place over the next decade under new plans set out by the Government this week at the Ecobuild event at Earls Court, London.

With around one quarter of UK emissions coming from energy used in homes the is aimed at cutting emissions from the UK’s homes by 29% by 2020. The new strategy dubbed Warm Homes, Greener Homes,  will help people make smarter use of energy in homes, making it easier to take action and reduce bills. Installing some technologies, such as solid wall insulation, could see energy bills cut by £380 a year (average between 2013 and 2020).The new strategy will also be good for jobs, with up to 65,000 jobs required in the green homes industry as a result, for example installing and manufacturing energy saving measures or providing home energy advice. The announcement has been welcomed by the sector (see below).
The strategy will be implemented in a three stage plan:
 To insulate 6 million homes by the end of 2011
 To have insulated all practical lofts and cavity walls by 2015
 To have offered up to 7 million eco upgrades by 2020; all homes to have smart meters.
Ed Miliband, Energy and Climate Secretary, said: “This shows we can meet the national interest of tackling climate change and reducing our dependence on foreign energy at the same time as we help people save money. The Warm Homes, Greener Homes Strategy will remove the deterrent of upfront costs and reduce the hassle of the move to greener living. Making homes more energy efficient will help protect people from upward pressure on bills, tackle climate change, and make us less reliant on imported energy. New ‘pay as you save’ green finance, a new alliance between energy companies and local authorities to help people in their communities, as well as moves to encourage landlords to stop ignoring energy wastage in their properties, will help deliver the radical transformation that’s necessary.”
Communities Secretary, John Denham, said: "Local authorities are uniquely positioned to drive and shape a low carbon economy, low carbon living and influence the kind of behaviour change that will be needed to meet the UK commitment to the 34 percent cut in emissions on 1990 levels by 2020. Councils are already making huge advances on this agenda. We want all local authorities to take the lead on reducing emissions in their area. There are obvious benefits for local people both financially and in terms of quality of life and it is crucial that local authorities maximise these and involve local people every step of the way."
John Healey, Housing Minister, said: “The new measures announced today put the consumer in control of greening up their homes. More than a quarter of carbon emissions come from our homes, so it is vital people are able to make the improvements that will lead to smarter use of energy. It also puts social housing centre stage of efforts to reduce bills and carbon emissions to help the poorest first, with council and Housing Association landlords linking up with energy companies to get efficiency work done, and tenants getting the benefits of warmer, greener homes with lower bills. Today I have also announced an additional £2.5m to provide a network of Green Show Homes across England, lived in by ordinary people and open to the public. People will be able to see first hand what a refurbished green home is like to live in, and the new technologies they can use to improve the energy efficiency of their own homes and save money on bills. There’s a driving force behind the green homes movement with homeowners, developers and local authorities lining up to get on board. There is a lot of momentum to change and radically re-think how we track our energy use and refurbish our homes and buildings for the future. People in their own homes will get help with costs, and there will be help for private landlords and tenants, but we’re also ready to regulate in the future if landlords will not do the green refurbishment needed.”
The main elements of the Warm Homes, Greener Homes Strategy include:
Action to dismantle the financial barriers to energy efficiency
 Legislating to allow new ‘pay as you save’ green loans to be tied to the property, which will avoid the up-front cost of eco upgrades
 Help those in private rented accommodation whose landlords have little incentive to take action and who endure poorly insulated and cold accommodation.
New local approach
 Energy companies and local authorities teaming up to make homes more energy efficient – with energy companies required to help householders become more energy efficient. The new local partnership approach will take over from 2013, once the current Carbon Emissions Reduction Target ends
 Building on the Local Carbon Framework pilots announced by Communities Secretary John Denham in December, which are a new approach for local authorities to set targets and put in place plans to reduce carbon emissions.
Help to those who need it most
 Direct help to those that need it most with energy companies targeting work towards lower income groups
 A new ‘Warm Homes’ standard for social housing will see all social tenants receive free energy upgrades for their homes from energy companies, including fitted smart meters, leading to savings of up to £300 a year on bills
 Consult on setting minimum energy efficiency standards for rented property to help tenants left in poorly insulated, cold and energy wasting properties – and ensuring standards are met before they are rented out
Better information and standards for consumers
 One stop shop energy helpline for people to access trust-worthy information about how to benefit from energy efficiency measures
 New set of standards for workmanship and products to protect consumers from the threat of cowboy eco-builders and dodgy products
 A new network of eco show homes to demonstrate the range of money saving and money generating technology available
 Proposals to overhaul the scope of Energy Performance Certificates, to give householders a better understanding of what they can do to improve the energy efficiency of their homes, including an online modelling system so homeowners can do a virtual green makeover before taking action.
The DECC is funding a new initiative collaborating with a small group of leading employers to mobilise their employees to insulate their homes. Later this month, the ‘Insulate Today’ pilot programme will be launched by Aviva, HSBC and Sainsbury’s reaching around 250,000 staff members, making it easier, cheaper and more appealing for them to insulate their homes and saving them money and energy.
Today’s new strategy builds on the progress already made in making the UK’s homes more energy efficient. Between 2002 and April 2008, the Government has helped 5 million homes become more energy efficient. Government support has already been aimed at vulnerable groups including the fuel poor. Warm Front – the Government scheme for the fuel poor - has helped over 2 million vulnerable households, across England, since its inception in June 2000, including half a million households in the last two years alone.
Click here to see The ‘Green Homes, Warmer Homes Home Energy Management Strategy’
Comments on this announcement include:

Chris Norris, Policy Manager, National Landlords Association: "It is reassuring that these proposals will be available across all types of tenure. However, privately rented property tends to be older and harder to make more energy efficient. It is hoped these measures will remove some of the barriers to making all accommodation less damaging to the environment."
Neil Marshall, the Chief Executive of the National Insulation Association (NIA): “There are around seven million homes in the UK that need Solid Wall Insulation and this plan sets out a roadmap for insulating these and the millions of other houses that require Cavity Wall and Loft insulation in the short term. The fact that there will also be special provisions to provide for council and housing association homes is also very promising. The NIA looks forward to continuing to work with Government, both centrally and on a local level, in the development of a detailed delivery plan to ensure the scheme’s success. This will need to include investment and support for  skills and training  to build the capacity needed for solid wall insulation and a major Government backed consumer awareness programme on the benefits of insulation. The savings that can be made in both carbon and monetary terms (up to £400 per year from Solid Wall Insulation and up to £265 from Loft and Cavity Wall Insulation) are vast, but the message is not getting through to the majority of householders.”
Barry Hall,  RICS spokesperson: "RICS actively supports the drive to improve the energy efficiency of the UK housing stock, and actions to encourage the take up of measures to achieve this. However, it is imperative that information provided to consumers on the true costs of installation, expected lifetime, anticipated maintenance costs and savings achieved, together with the impact on property value, are clear, impartial and objective. For consumers to buy into such measures, they must have confidence in the advice, the products, their installation, and the supporting financial information provided."
Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Director of Business Environment: “This strategy rightly focuses on ways to improve household energy efficiency. Getting this right will make a big impact in our greenhouse gas emissions and save consumers money. Given that all homes need to be properly insulated within five years, much more needs to be done now to get millions of households on board. Helping people overcome the upfront costs by rolling out pay-as-you-save schemes is a step in the right direction. But even if they are willing to sign up for these loans, this scheme is still a few years away.” Earlier this week the CBI published a report called Tackling Climate Change closer to home, as well as a new interactive website 
Hans Schreuder, MD of manufacturer of stone wool insulation products, Rockwool: "The new Warm Homes, Greener Homes, strategy is a bold initiative ensuring costs are tied to a property rather than the current householder. Ensuring by 2015 that every home where it is suitable has loft and cavity wall insulation installed is a significant commitment and sets a benchmark for other countries. It is also pleasing to see the Government embrace the promotion of more sophisticated solutions, such as solid wall insulation. While the promotion of domestic green technologies through Government policies such as The Household Energy Management Strategy, feed in tariffs and the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme are to be welcomed, measures such as power microgeneration are stage two solutions. We must ensure we have completed the basic steps, such as mitigating heat loss from the fabric of a building before we invest resources on more expensive measures.”

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