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Efficient Homes Would Save Us £9.5bn on Energy Each Year

Raising all homes to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) band C would slash households’ energy bills by £9.5 billion each year, new research from PwC has found.

If all homes were brought up to their potential EPC rating, domestic energy bills would fall by around a quarter, with households seeing average annual savings of £178.

This transformation of the UK’s housing stock would cut the carbon emissions of households by 16%, saving an estimated 52 million tonnes of CO2 per year. 

Currently, homes are responsible for around 14% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions. Improving their energy efficiency will be essential to the country's legally binding net-zero target. Inefficient properties also contribute to fuel poverty, with one in eight households in England struggling to afford to heat their homes to an adequate standard.

With the UK’s homes the draughtiest in Europe, there are currently 17 million homes—more than half—rated below an EPC band C. The government wants all of these homes to be brought up to that level by 2035.

The deadline for properties in the private rental sector, already draughtier than average, is sooner. Under government proposals, rented properties will need an EPC rating of C for new tenancies by 2025, with all rented properties needing to be brought up to that level by 2028.

However, homeowners baulk at the cost of these upgrades, and government schemes to fund them have foundered. The £1.5 billion Green Homes Grant scheme was axed in March, having delivered just 10% of the promised 600,000 vouchers for efficiency upgrades.

35% of adults PwC surveyed are concerned about the cost of energy efficiency upgrades like loft insulation and double glazing. More than a quarter of respondents say these improvements are too expensive.

So while 46% are planning to make efficiency improvements to their home, a third don’t intend to make any upgrades.

Jonathan Gilham, Chief Economist at PwC UK, urged the government to take steps to extend efficiency upgrades to all households. “While the willingness is there from the public, there are clear barriers in terms of costs and awareness. There is a real risk where policies aimed at protecting the environment are seen to disproportionately benefit wealthier homeowners, whilst leaving renters and those without the means to pay out in the cold,” he said.

Lauren Smith
Lauren Smith

Lauren Smith has worked as a journalist and copywriter for most of the last decade, covering technology, energy, and consumer rights, in the US and UK.

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