Building a Greener Britain
In 2007/2008 ECI researcher Gavin Killip was commissioned by the Federation of Master Builders to write a report outlining practical policy recommendations to help encourage householders to make their homes greener.
The report on transforming the UKís existing housing stock, published in July 2008, shows that a long term policy commitment to low carbon-refurbishment will create jobs, improve health, comfort and eradicate fuel poverty.
The UK has over 25 million homes contributing nearly 30% of the nationís CO2 emissions, and the technical potential for radical improvements to the existing housing stock has been well known for many years. The small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction industry are key to delivering the necessary improvements on the ground, but there is an almost total lack of knowledge, training, incentives and infrastructure to make low-carbon refurbishment mainstream. The market is estimated at between £3.5bn - £6.5bn per year for over 40 years, while other benefits include greater resilience to energy price increases, eradication of fuel poverty and greater comfort and health.
A long-term policy commitment to low-carbon refurbishment from government would stimulate industry response in the key areas of training for skills and product supply chains. Innovation can best be supported at regional level, aiming to create a mature market within a decade. Policy needs to be built on the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), which gives a rating from A (best) to G (worst) and is issued every time a property is sold (the EPC applies to rental properties from October 2008).
In the first 10 days after the report launch:
- The 3 recommendations on training have been welcomed by ConstructionSkills, the body responsible for developing training in the construction industry
- A motion has been tabled in the Scottish Parliament in support of the report, proposing that the Scottish Government take forward the recommendations as they apply in Scotland
- The report has been welcomed by Jane Davidson AM, Welsh Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing
- A copy has been requested by the Prime Ministerís Special Advisor on Environment, Energy and Climate Change Policy
- The report is being used in the preparation of a government consultation document in autumn 2008 on reducing the environmental impacts of existing homes
- The All-Party Parliamentary Group on roofing has offered to help lobby the Treasury on VAT reform
Download: Building a Greener Britain report
View project website at: www.buildingagreenerbritain.org.uk
Selected Media Coverage and Publicity
- PRESS RELEASE: Green Housing Upgrades Would Create £3.5 Billion Market for Builders, says Oxford University. Published 09/07/08
- Facelift factor: Building new eco-housing is only half the solution - the UK's old housing stock needs to be modified if we are to hit government emissions targets Guardian. Wednesday 25 March 2009.
- Green home improvements can create £3.5bn market for builders Business Green. Thursday 10 July.
- Cutting CO2 emissions from UK homes 'could create new market for building firms 24dash - Hereford, UK. Thursday 10 July.
- Green retrofitting of older housing would help building trade Green Building Press - Llandysul, Wales, UK. Thursday 10 July.
- Troubled builders could find relief in £6.5bn 'green' renovation market Contract Journal - UK. Thursday 10 July.
- Master Builders to research greener building New Builder Magazine. Thurs 20 March 2008.
- Building a Greener Britain campaign gathers pace. About Property Magazine. Wed 19 March 2008.
- Researching incentives for green homes. Building Talk, November 2007