Gillian Charlesworth, CEO of the Building Research Establishment, has criticised the government’s energy security plans.
“The UK has one of the oldest and least-energy-efficient building stocks in Europe, which unnecessarily inflates demand for natural gas,” she said. “Accelerating the roll-out of retrofit measures such as insulation is a short-term solution that could address spiralling bills and significantly improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock, but it is disappointing to see that this has not been covered.
“The need to accelerate the roll-out of and investment in insulation extends beyond housing. With nearly a fifth of all gas being consumed by the non-domestic sector, a lack of a retrofit strategy will result in higher costs for businesses and public infrastructure – including schools and hospitals. This will ultimately be felt by households, who will bear the brunt of higher prices.
“Aside from keeping consumers’ energy bills down and reducing their carbon footprint, retrofitting homes is a fast and cost-effective way to reduce demand for gas and will support UK energy security. Recent announcements such as the abolition of VAT on some energy-saving materials are a welcome start. However, without a clear plan and funding to upgrade the UK’s building stock, our energy security strategy cannot be driven forward effectively – and we will lose momentum on the drive to net zero.”