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Wed, 8 July 2020

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Green recovery is impossible without tackling Britain’s leaky homes and buildings, coalition of leading business groups warns

Mineral Wool Insulation Manufacturers Association

4 min read

Tackling the UK’s leaky housing and building stock must be a central part of the UK’s stimulus to recover from Covid-19, says the collaboration of leading cross-industry organisations and businesses, The Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group.

MIMA and EEIG members including the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Energy UK, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), among others, are highlighting that, if the government is going to live up to promises to build back better it must bring in policies to revolutionise the quality of British homes.

Chair of the EEIG and MIMA’s Executive Director, Sarah Kostense-Winterton said: "Simply net zero will hit a wall if the Government continues to sidestep serious action on our homes and our buildings on the path to decarbonisation.  

"Our country is in dire need of the stimulus green recovery can deliver with sustained economic, climate and health benefits and levelling up opportunity in areas that need it most by bringing back jobs and investment, whilst refilling the empty public purse. We stand ready and able to deliver. Surely there could be no better time to future-proof our homes whilst providing buoyancy to our drained economy?” 

A new report – Rebuilding for Resilience – released today by EEIG, details how a programme to upgrade the nation’s homes would create 50,000 jobs in just two years, and 150,000 by 2030. It would also save £7.5 billion from national energy costs, equivalent to £270 per home per year.

The report also details how areas with the highest potential for upgrading homes are closely linked to those seeing an increase in unemployment during the current crisis.

Upgrading the nation’s homes can start right away and continue for a generation, locking in good jobs for thousands of Brits.

The construction sector, a bellwether for the UK economy, has been particularly hard hit by the current crisis.

Kicking off an ambitious home upgrades programme would directly stimulate the industry, bringing at least £3.5bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the sector each year, the report finds.

Tom Thackray, Director of Infrastructure and Energy at the CBI said: “A national energy efficiency programme is long overdue and now is the time to deliver.

"This is essential if we are to reach net-zero emissions and delivering this programme would create a major employment opportunity – providing much needed jobs across the UK and supporting our economic recovery.

“Bringing forward the government’s manifesto commitments on energy efficiency would be a vital first step to delivering this programme. Government must also support this national priority with plans to provide new skills and training programmes.”

An EE programme would deliver £1.25 of tax revenue for every £1 of public money invested and drive a total of £6.2 billion investment over the next two years in our homes, schools and hospitals.

Pedro Guertler, author of the EEIG report and Head of Energy Efficiency at climate and energy think tank E3G said: “There is no other infrastructure project that can do more for the UK’s clean and resilient economic recovery than making our buildings energy efficient.

"It can quickly boost local jobs in areas of greatest need, stimulate demand by saving households hundreds of pounds whilst improving health and slashing carbon emissions. It delivers immediate benefit, prepares us for the future, and must be put at the heart of the Chancellor’s stimulus plan if the Government is serious about building back better.”

MIMA member, Neil Hargreaves, Managing Director, Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “This report sends a very clear message; there is no path to net zero unless the energy efficiency of our buildings is dramatically improved.

"It also sets out the rapid payback and many beneficiaries resulting from developing, and delivering, a large scale retrofit scheme. The obvious question is; “If not now, under current circumstances, then when?”

Another MIMA member, Darryl Matthews, Managing Director of ROCKWOOL Ltd said: “The Government has signalled its intention to put environmental concerns at the heart of the UK’s economic recovery. With the leakiest buildings in Europe, energy efficiency measures must be integral to this.

"An ambitious renovation programme would deliver numerous wins, creating green jobs, bringing down emissions and bills, and improving the nation’s health. Sustainability is fundamental to our purpose as a company and we stand ready to support government to build back better.”

Tony Gordon, Export Director, Superglass said: “The commitment from the government on energy efficiency needs to be strong and clear. The benefits associated with an improvement to the energy efficiency of buildings are well documented. Improvements in levels of fuel poverty, general health and wellbeing, reduced spend on energy, lower carbon emissions to name a few. The energy efficiency sector can help deliver these outcomes but needs government commitment to set a direction of travel for the sector.”

 

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