Making homes more energy efficient through insulation and heating controls could benefit the UK economy to the tune of £8.7 billion, according to new research by economists at Frontier Economics.
The study identifies a number of ways that increased energy efficiency in homes would benefit individuals and communities as well as the nation’s economy.
Citing common energy efficiency investments in the home such as cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, secondary glazing and loft insulation, the report found that more energy efficient homes could reduce UK gas imports by 26% and create up to 108,000 jobs, while reducing carbon emissions and increasing health and wellbeing overall.
Loft insulation alone has been shown to save households up to £250 a year on energy bills, and other measures such as external wall insulation can save up to £460 per household. Those on low incomes find it far easier to be comfortably warm in a well insulated home without breaking their budget on energy bills.
The report calls on the UK government to create an infrastructure programme to deliver greater energy efficiency, pointing to market failures to address carbon emissions which suggest that government intervention in this sector is necessary, and that energy efficiency should become a government spending priority.
The government is expected to announce the allocation of £100 billion over the next five years towards infrastructure projects in the next Spending Review, which is currently being finalised.
Campaigners from the group Energy Bill Revolution, which includes businesses, charities, environmental groups and consumer groups, and which advocates making all UK homes “super energy efficient”, welcomed the report’s findings.
Ed Matthew, Director of the Energy Bill Revolution said:
“Today’s research is clear: investing in energy efficiency offers significant net economic benefits to the nation, comparable to infrastructure investments in roads and railways.
“A major energy infrastructure programme would boost GDP growth, reduce the UK’s reliance on gas imports and help deliver a net increase in employment across the country. It would also have the additional benefit of keeping energy bills down, reducing health costs and warming up the homes of the fuel poor.”