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Empowering British energy saving communities and businesses

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Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director

Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director | Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association

3 min read Partner content

Energy saving is just as important as energy generation. Net Zero success relies on our ability to empower and reward businesses and communities to deliver energy savings.

Net Zero should be viewed as an opportunity. Cognisant of the pace, rate and affordability, focusing on policies that reward people for making positive change. In an already challenging macroeconomic environment, consumer and business confidence needs to be boosted and not damaged, avoiding short-term, siloed energy efficiency policies as sticking plasters.

Imagine our new buildings built to world-class standards and almost 30 million homes and businesses retrofitted? Net Zero provides that impetus to carefully upgrade our ageing, leaky buildings, to reduce and stabilise energy costs for consumers. It also secures energy supply and helps to grow the green economy. Genuine tangible benefits and quality of life improvements.

The energy efficiency market has stalled in recent years, despite new and welcome government schemes, but previous schemes have driven significant progress with domestic energy consumption in the UK falling by 21% between 2002 and 2021, in part by making homes more energy efficient.

We have the ambition, but we simply cannot ignore the scale. New research from WWF suggests that to meet the 15% energy consumption reduction target would require an additional 4.9m fabric efficiency retrofits, 1.5m heat pump installations and 0.6m heat network connections. Governments must fully recognise that energy saving is just as important as energy generation and empower consumers, businesses, and communities to deliver those savings. They need the toolkit.

MIMA, with the Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group (EEIG), is bringing together key elements of a plan to hone in on job creation, investment and economic growth. These are but a few:

1. Certainty and Security: a quantified and dedicated national plan for Net Zero buildings, with committed policy over at least two parliamentary cycles. detailing how to achieve the required energy savings through to 2050. Working together, cross-UK, cross-party and cross-industry collaboration, to agree the suite of policies to be delivered to achieve the current energy demand reduction goal in England of 15% by 2030 and beyond. Policy certainty will encourage firms to invest in skills, training, and capacity.

2. Empower Communities and Consumers: incentivise millions of homeowners to upgrade their homes sooner rather than later and help overcome the up-front costs e.g. through a potentially revenue-neutral “Rebate to Renovate” energy saving stamp duty. Private landlords own around 20% of the housing stock, encourage them to act now to improve their properties and get ahead of future regulatory changes, offering new tax incentives covering retrofit work. Continue to support and potentially expand successful schemes for the 3 million in fuel poverty and on low incomes, driving solid progress, including the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the Home Upgrade Grant. Involve local communities, consumer groups, and the supply chain. Provide consumer advice and information.

3. ‘Go Local’ Approach: work closely with local authorities to give them greater autonomy over and support to deliver local retrofit programmes, building up UK-wide capacity over the next ten years. Local authorities understand their local building stock, supply chains, and residents. Providing more practical and financial support will empower them to plan in detail, coordinate and deliver the retrofit work needed in their area.

“Net Zero could transform our businesses and homes. As an industry, we want to train, upskill, and build capacity to upgrade the building stock at scale. We can help deliver alongside our communities, putting the consumer at the heart. What we need are the right policy tools set within a longer-term, coordinated plan. Boosting, not suffocating our economy, and rewarding, not imposing costs on our consumers.”

For more information, contact sarah@mima.info or visit www.mima.info or www.theeeig.co.uk. MIMA represents the leading non-combustible insulation companies in the UK - Knauf Insulation, ROCKWOOL and Superglass.

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Read the most recent article written by Sarah Kostense-Winterton, Executive Director - Mission possible: Delivering tomorrow’s homes today

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