The UK’s energy companies should be made to insulate all cavity walls and empty lofts, says the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) as fewer Britons invest in home insulation.
The Government’s independent climate change advisors are urging the action to help cut Britain’s carbon emissions.
“Energy companies should be on the hook to deliver these emissions reductions,” said CCC chief executive David Kennedy.
The recommendation comes as a new Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) figures revealed that 43% of the UK’s lofts have not been adequately insulated and 42% of cavity walls remain unfilled.
Nor is there a growing trend towards better insulation. Possibly due to the squeeze on household finances, the number of loft insulations undertaken in 2010 fell 30% when compared to the previous year.
Energy saving insulation
The cost benefits of good insulation are very clear. Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association, points out: “Home insulation is the single most effective method of saving money on domestic energy bills – typically cutting around £255 per year by simply insulating your loft and cavity walls at a typical uninsulated, 3 bedroom semi detached house with gas heating.”
But in the current economic climate, it’s increasingly difficult for householders to find the outlay for home insulation. Marshall points out that there is a range of schemes and subsidies available, but the Committee on Climate Change wants to move responsibility for the costs from householders to the energy companies.
“It is very important that someone is on the hook,” said the CCC’s David Kennedy. “The experience over four decades is that the free market does not deliver home energy-efficiency measures.”
However, Energy UK, which represents the electricity and gas industry, was robust in pointing out what energy companies have already done to help insulate homes. Director Christine McGourty said: “Energy companies have already made a substantial contribution to improving people’s leaky homes. In the past few years, companies have insulated more than 1.5m cavity walls and more than 2m lofts, helping consumers save up to £260 a year on their bills.”
Moneyhighstreet comments: “While the CCC is right to promote more and better home insulation in the UK, we’re not convinced that making the energy companies pay for it is the best solution. Energy prices have already increased significantly in recent months, and it’s easy to see suppliers passing on any future insulation costs to the consumer.
“However, if you suspect your home is not properly insulated, contact a National Insulation Association member for a free survey. Proper home insulation, combined with shopping around for energy suppliers, can save you significant sums – and it’s greener too, because you’re using less energy.”