Around two thirds of homes in the UK do not meet long-term efficiency targets, according to a new review. But experts say that retrofitting homes could help to meet these standards.

The BBC’s Shared Data Unit has revealed that more than 12 million homes fall below an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) grade of C. The EPC, introduced in 2007, grades houses from A-G based on how energy efficient they are. 

These energy efficiency grades measure how well a property is glazed and insulated, and whether it uses renewable energy or low-carbon heating systems to reduce energy use. 

More than 19.6 million homes across the UK had their grades analysed, and those rated below a C grade are more likely to have higher energy use and running costs. It also means homeowners are introducing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than necessary. 

These findings are disappointing for the government on two fronts. It has pledged targets for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and it has also targeted upgrading as many homes as possible to grade C by 2035. 

How Retrofitting Homes Could Help

Experts say that a deep retrofit – which is a whole-house approach to improving energy efficiency – could help to make more existing homes meet efficiency standards. Retrofitting homes built before 1990 could be particularly important because these homes have been reported to be four times more likely to require repairs.

“There are 29 million homes, all of those need to retrofit energy efficiency measures and better forms of heating, and as we are looking to achieve this by 2050, that implies upgrading a million homes a year, but the current rate is 10 times less than that,” said Jenny Hill, team leader for buildings and international action, Committee on Climate Change.

A report published in January called the government to reduce VAT to 5% for renovators looking to retrofit their homes, and this could go a long way towards making changes. 

The government will invest more than £6m towards these improvements. It is also exploring how to halve the cost of retrofitting properties, and investing over £320m into helping heat homes with lower carbon alternatives, such as introducing hydrogen into the gas network, and heat pumps.

The Benefits of Energy Efficiency

When renovating a house, those who upgrade their home’s energy rating can increase its value by £25,000 according to new research. This can be achieved by measures such as: installing insulation, upgrading your boiler, and replacing light bulbs with energy efficient LED versions.

Self builders and custom builders who design and build their own homes have the opportunity to make their homes more energy efficient from the outset. This can lead to lower long-term energy costs and less carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. 

(MORE: Self Build: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide)

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