UK Should Re-Insulate 'A Home Minute'

A Parliamentary report by the Green Building Council has emphasised the urgent need for better insulation within Britain's housing stock.

The authors note that home heating accounts for a third of the UK's carbon emissions and that if the country is to stand any chance of meeting its reduction targets, then it must make poorly insulated homes a priority. Under international agreements, the UK is required to achieve an 80% reduction in its CO2 emissions by 2050.

Given present rates of house-building, the properties that people will be occupying in by the middle of this century will be very little different from those around us today. Experts predict that around 80% of the housing stock in 2050 will be made up of properties that already exist. By mid-century, many homes will be well over a hundred years old, with insulation and u-values that fall well below modern standards.

The Green Building Council is made up of professionals from leading construction firms and its report states that 25 million homes will fail to meet the insulation standards required by 2050. To redress the balance would mean upgrading existing properties' insulation at an unprecedented rate - approximately 1.4 homes every minute for the next 33 years.

More details on the report are given in this BBC news article by environment analyst, Roger Harrabin.

Responding to the news, Derek Horrocks, chair of the Sustainable Group said: "This report makes some very strong arguments  about the importance of improving insulation in people's homes. Much of the country's housing stock falls well below the required standards. That means that millions of families have to endure cold and damp living conditions, coupled with unnecessarily high energy bills. Fuel poverty has been a problem that successive governments have failed to address, but this report shows the clear benefits of tackling it.

"By investing in insulation as an infrastructure priority, the Government could be achieving some vitally important goals: it would improve the lives of ordinary people, of course, and it would also reduce the UK's energy demands and its associated carbon emissions. In addition, it would also represent a huge economic boost - at a time when ministers are looking to maximise the impact of their infrastructure budgets. The Green Building Council made a very strong case: the kind of work involved in domestic re-insulation creates more jobs than any of the Government's existing infrastructure priorities; investment here would support huge numbers of additional skilled jobs and have beneficial impacts all the way down the supply chain.

"We now have a great opportunity to see better homes, better living conditions, better employment prospects and a better chance of achieving the UK's carbon reduction targets in the years to come. These are surely goals that the British Government should take very seriously."

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