The government’s own figures show that its flagship green policy to transform the energy efficiency of 14m homes is likely to see the number of lofts being insulated fall by 93%.
New data, from Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (Decc) own impact assessment and published by Building magazine shows that whilst current government insulation subsidy schemes have resulted in just over 1m lofts a year being lagged in recent years, this will plunge to just 70,000 a year under the Green Deal.
This is also far below the 2m per year required to meet climate-change targets. For cavity walls, the current 510,000 a year will drop of 67% to 170,000, far below the 1.4m a year required.
The Green Deal is designed to help reduce energy bills, make houses more energy efficient and warmer and reduce carbon emissions. It is due to start in October and has been billed by ministers as the most ambitious national refurbishment scheme in the world.
Britain’s homes are old and leaky by international standards and millions of lofts and cavity walls remain poorly insulated. These home energy efficiency measures are seen as the cheapest way to cut bills and carbon emissions.
Existing insulation schemes subsidise the cost of insulation by requiring energy companies to offer low-cost or free insulation under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target. Once the Green Deal comes in, there is no subsidy for all but the poorest households or those with the hardest-to-insulate constructions. Instead, the Green Deal provides a loan enabling the up-front costs to be paid back using the savings made on heating bills.
However, the new Decc figures show that the take-up is expected to be very low. In December the government’s official independent advisers warned in The Guardian that the scheme would fail, reaching just 2m or 3m households of the 14m targeted.
David Kennedy, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change said that as the Green Deal removes the existing obligations on energy companies to deliver installations and leaves it to the open market to deliver there is a “significant risk (in leaving it to the market), as that has never worked anywhere in the world and is unlikely to happen in the UK.”
In the UK, Decc statistics show that 10m lofts and 8m houses with cavity walls remain uninsulated.