£6.6 billion in Britain’s pockets: the effects of an eco economic makeover

The study looked at the economic impacts for three ‘scales of ambition’:

I. Lofts and cavity wall insulation. Insulating all the remaining fillable lofts and cavity walls on a national and regional level

II. Insulation and heating systems. Lofts and cavity wall insulation plus replacement of the least efficient gas boilers (G-rated) and installation of heating controls in all suitable homes.

III. Advanced eco-refurbishment. A sustainable overhaul of the housing stock with advanced insulation, modern, efficient heating systems, and microgeneration measures such as solar photovoltaic panels fitted to all suitable homes.

Economic impacts for each ‘scale of ambition’ are estimated taking into account both direct and indirect effects. Direct effects are the immediate impacts on the economy resulting from households installing micro-generation technologies or energy efficiency measures e.g. sales of equipment and installer employment. Indirect effects also include the effects on the supply chain like manufacturing, the re-spend of money saved on people’s fuel bills and employee wage spend.

Based on these calculations, insulating all lofts and cavities alone would bring in £4.6 billion in net Gross Value Added (GVA), support nearly 100,000 jobs and save nearly 6 million tonnes of CO2, while the most ambitious scenario of giving the housing stock a complete eco facelift, which would save around 48milllion tonnes of CO2, could potentially offer a £280 billion economic boost and support 4.7 million jobs in related trades.

Householders’ fuel bill savings are also projected under the various scenarios. The first scale of ambition could save over £1 billion off bills, tackling boilers alone would save £555 million and the advanced eco refurbishment would save £8.7 billion.

Home Economics also takes a snapshot of the British housing stock, highlighting the biggest carbon ‘villains,’ which consist largely of big, draughty houses heated by electricity and oil, but exist in relatively small numbers. It also looks at the biggest problem – those house types, all owner-occupied and gas heated, that produce moderate CO2 emissions but which exist in such large numbers that together they account for a major proportion of our overall carbon emissions. The good news about these properties is they tend to have more space, making them generally suitable for renewable energy
installations.

The worst individual CO2 offenders:

– Pre-1919, electrically-heated, solid wall, detached or semi-detached homes, in poor condition in terms of basic energy efficiency measures (0.07% of housing stock, 25.9 tonnes CO2/ year)
– Pre-1919, electrically-heated, solid wall, detached or semi-detached homes, in good condition in terms of basic energy efficiency measures (0.24% of housing stock, 20.7 tonnes CO2/ year)
– Twentieth century, electrically-heated, detached or semi-detached homes, in poor condition in terms of basic energy efficiency measures (0.22% of housing stock, 17.4 tonnes CO2/ year)
– Pre-1919, oil heated, solid wall, detached or semi-detached homes, in poor condition in terms of basic energy efficiency measures (0.34% of housing stock, 14.4 tonnes CO2/ year)
– Pre-1919, electrically-heated, solid wall, terraced homes, in poor condition in terms of basic energy efficiency measures (0.08% of housing stock, 14.2 tonnes CO2/ year)

The house types which account for the largest proportion of our carbon emissions:

– Twentieth century semi and detached with basic energy efficiency measures fitted (17.3% of housing stock, 5.5 tonnes CO2/ year)

– Twentieth century semi and detached with no energy efficiency measures fitted (7.1% of housing stock, 7.9 tonnes CO2/ year)

– Post-1980 semi and detached, gas heated with basic energy efficiency measures fitted (6.4% of housing stock, 5.8 tonnes CO2/ year) 

– Twentieth century terraced, with basic energy efficiency measures fitted (9.2% of housing stock, 4 tonnes CO2/ year)

– Pre-1919 terraced, with basic energy efficiency measures fitted (5.7% of housing stock, 5.2 tonnes CO2/ year)

With more responsibility for tackling emissions at home going to local authorities, a regional economic vision is also projected in the report.Anything between 1,000 and 8,000 jobs can be supported in each region alone with loft and cavity insulations.

Philip Sellwood, Energy Saving Trust Chief Executive, says: “We are living in hard times, where people are tightening their belts and worried about jobs. A recent survey showed that 74% of people are looking for ways to reduce their energy bills. Two-thirds said that now times are harder economically they are more interested than ever in how to save energy.

"Whilst our focus remains on cutting carbon emissions from the UK’s homes, there’s no getting away from the hard number-crunching going on in the background. The economic benefits of sustainability, nationally and locally, need to be made clear more than ever. Energy efficiency makes economic sense – and this is a statement of what can be done. We hope our figures both invigorate a healthy debate and encourage people to take action.”

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0 thoughts on “£6.6 billion in Britain’s pockets: the effects of an eco economic makeover

  1. Matt Cody

    The benefits of voltage optimisation are clearly being overlooked here. It’s proven to reduce carbon emissions from homes and save consumers money off their electricity bills – yet it is constantly being ignored in articles such as this. At a fraction of the price of solar PV, it really should have a place on the green agenda. It should even be installed alongside solar PV too, as it’ll improve the overall household energy efficiency, reduce payback periods and improve the return on investment.