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Call to prioritise UK energy efficiency investment

Several UK NGOs and businesses have published: Energy Efficiency First, a declaration calling on all political parties to make investment in home energy efficiency an infrastructure investment priority. 

The declaration says that to reach the UK’s legally binding net zero emission and fuel poverty targets, all homes will have to be made highly energy efficient. Additional public capital investment of £1bn a year for the next 15 years is needed to ensure the targets are achieved. 

The signatories point out that there is potential to reduce energy demand in UK homes by at least a quarter, saving the average household £270 per year. A quarter of the energy currently used could be saved and there is technical potential to cut home energy use in half. 

The declaration was published as the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG) set out its vision for how to make all UK homes energy efficient. Called: The Net-Zero Litmus Test, it reminds politicians that energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to decarbonise the economy, and could deliver a net benefit of over £50bn to UK households and businesses. 

The report finds that the installation rate of home insulation measures has been cut by 95% since 2012. While 170,000 homes are being upgraded with energy efficiency improvements in the UK each year, the number needs to rapidly rise to 1.2mn a year to meet decarbonisation targets. 

The EEIG reports progress made against its six-step plan to set up an energy efficiency infrastructure programme for the UK and sets out how to get on track. It suggests that almost no new funding has been allocated to residential energy efficiency since public investment was halved compared to 2012 levels, and that no incentives have been introduced to help homeowners improve energy efficiency. 

Alasdair MacEwen, spokesperson for the EEIG said: ‘Achieving net zero emissions cost-effectively is simply impossible without a huge cut in energy demand. Whether any political party is prepared to do this is the litmus test of whether it is serious about achieving net zero emissions. It can only be achieved if we treat the decarbonisation of homes as the UK’s number one infrastructure priority. No other infrastructure project can benefit so many and at the same time create returns on investment.’

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