Retrofit: Domestic buildings

The refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face to reducing carbon emissions. The majority of our existing stock requires some level of retrofit to enable us to live and work more sustainably. Refurbishing the existing housing stock will be key to reducing the UK's carbon emissions so that we can achieve our ambitious carbon reduction targets.

Our existing housing stock

The UK's housing stock is amongst the least energy efficient in Europe, and is responsible for nearly a quarter of our annual carbon emissions. In recent years, this has driven an ever-increasing focus from both Government and the private sector on finding ways to help households save money on their bills, reduce their emissions, and make their homes warmer and more pleasant places to live.

Information for householders

If you are a householder looking for information about how you can improve the energy efficiency of your home, the Energy Saving Trust website is a good place to start your search for advice.

Home energy efficiency as a national infrastructure priority

In the run-up to the 2015 General Election, UK-GBC is collaborating with 19 other charities, environmental groups and trade associations to raise the profile of energy efficiency and challenge the parties to make bold commitments in their manifestos. Together we are calling on all political parties to:

  1. Make home energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority
  2. Support investment with a long term revenue stream
  3. Achieve 1 million deep retrofits each year by 2020

At a Parliamentary event in June 2014, this broad coalition published a joint report setting out these three asks and summarising the economic benefits of energy efficiency retrofit. Download the joint report.

Retrofit incentives

UK-GBC are keen to ensure that there are sufficiently strong incentives for businesses and households to take up energy efficiency measures, and to create a compelling market opportunity for industry. Our Retrofit Incentives report outlines proposals for the three most promising options - variable stamp duty, variable council tax and an energy efficiency feed-in-tariff.

Government policies

Energy Company Obligation (ECO)

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) policy sets targets for the major energy suppliers to deliver energy saving measures to households. The delivery of ECO is funded by the energy suppliers via levies on household energy bills. The targets are split between delivering bill savings to low income households and making carbon savings through cost effective measures. The current ECO scheme is due to finish in March 2017. Find out more about ECO here.

Minimum Energy Performance Standards (Private Rented Sector)

The private rented sector (PRS) has the highest proportion of homes with low energy efficiency ratings so from April 2018 it will be illegal to rent out the least energy efficient properties which are in the lowest Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) bands of F and G. Landlords will be required to improve these properties up to EPC band E by undertaking all relevant improvements for which funding is available. Under the same regulations, landlords of privately rented homes will also be required to accept reasonable requests from tenants for energy efficiency measures to be installed from April 2016. The Government's final proposals for the regulations are available here and the legislation can be found here.

Renewable energy Feed-in-Tariff (FiT)

The Feed in Tariff (FiT) is the primary financial incentive to encourage uptake of renewable electricity-generating technologies in the UK. Most domestic technologies qualify for the scheme, including solar electricity (PV), wind turbines, hydroelectricity, anaerobic digesters, and micro combined heat and power (CHP). The electricity supplier pays the generator a generation tariff for any electricity generated and, where applicable, an export tariff for any surplus electricity exported to the grid. Domestic properties are required to have an EPC rating of D or better to be eligible for the full payments. Find out more about FiTs here.

Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI)

The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) is intended to encourage uptake of renewable heat technologies among householders. Participants of the scheme are offered fixed payments over seven years for generating and using renewable energy to heat their homes. The scheme supports heat from biomass boilers, heat pumps, solar thermal collectors, biomethane and biogas. Properties are required to have meet basic insulation requirements to be eligible. Find our more about RHI here.

The Green Deal

The Green Deal was the previous Coalition Government's flagship energy efficiency policy. The scheme was designed around a 'Pay as You Save' model: householders received up-front finance in the form of a loan to pay for energy saving measures which was then paid back using the savings made on their energy bills.

In July 2015, the Conservative Government announced it would no longer fund the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC) which financed Green Deal loans. This means that meaning that no new Green Deals are currently being offered, although existing loans will not be affected.