Net Zero

GUEST ARTICLE: Revolutionising Energy Efficiency in the UK

  • 27 Sep 2023

Net ZeroLast week, Rishi Sunak announced a ‘more pragmatic, proportionate response’ to Net Zero targets, taking a U-turn on key green policies on boilers and home energy efficiency upgrades and even dismantling the Energy Efficiency Taskforce. This is a major step-back, not only towards achieving the UK’s commitment to net zero emissions by 2050 but also with regards to protecting people’s health and wellbeing, according to Nicolas Gillanders, CEO, South Coast Insulation Services (SCIS)…

Upgrading the energy efficiency of UK homes can go a long way in the battle to reduce carbon emissions, cut on energy bills and improve occupant health. But the UK’s energy efficiency policies are holding us back. It is even more obvious that we are lagging behind when looking at the progress made by other countries across Europe like France and Germany. The UK needs a kick up the backside when it comes to its approach to energy efficiency – and it is policy that can provide this drive.

Looking forward: three key considerations for change

So, what could an effective approach to policy look like? Success will depend on the combination of learning from the past mistakes made in the implementation of regulations and being able to seize the opportunities in the industry.

Firstly, green mortgages offer a significant opportunity for consumers to access energy efficient upgrades affordably. Thanks to zero percent interest options, homeowners can afford energy-efficient upgrades, and ultimately make drastic savings.

The benefits can also include raising property value, reinforcing the case for green mortgages as high-return investment. This goes to show the role that policy can play in the implementation of energy efficiency solutions.

Secondly, the industry must take a data-driven approach to effectively guide performance. Quantitative data can play a pivotal role in shaping informed policy decisions. For example, SCIS advocate for the public availability of smart metre data.

With millions of smart metres now installed in the UK, this provides an opportunity for millions of data sets to be leveraged to help the energy efficiency industry to target properties in most need of support.

Lastly, the government must cooperate with the industry to establish clear and inclusive policies, informed by insights from those actively addressing practical challenges on the front lines. On top of leveraging data intelligently, the end-to-end retrofitting and energy efficiency installation journey must seamlessly connect assessors, brokers/lenders, installers and consumers, if the UK is to catalyse change effectively.

All stakeholders have a role to play, and I would encourage all industry players to demand a seat at the table, to ensure that policies are not only realistic but also reflect collective goals to help consumers create more cost and energy-efficient homes.

Final Thoughts

Without doubt, Sunak’s rework of green policies presents an additional challenge for the energy efficiency industry. Yet there is also an opportunity for us all to stick together for a better, greener future. And the first step to having accessible policies is to make ourselves heard by the government, and keep working for the benefits of consumers and the planet.

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