100.Improving energy efficiency in homes provides major benefits. It helps households to reduce their energy bills, it contributes towards a reduction of carbon emissions and, by reducing demand, also contributes towards energy security. Improving energy efficiency of homes can play a significant role in helping the country tackle the energy trilemma. Moreover, it provides valuable benefits to individual consumers, such as improved well-being, increased comfort and homes that are nicer to live in. Driving demand for energy efficiency measures should therefore be one of Government’s top priorities. Addressing the issue should be seen not as a cost today, but as an investment for the future.
101.There is no ‘silver bullet’ to improving home energy efficiency. A combination of regulations, subsidy programmes, obligations, targeted grants and long-term structural incentives must all be used in a concerted effort. The Government needs to understand that different approaches are required for different households, from the vulnerable fuel-poor, to the private-rented sector, to those who can afford to improve the energy efficiency of their homes. It is also important that the Government recognises that it is individual households who ultimately interact with these different policies, and any future approach must consider the importance of a smooth and rewarding journey for consumers seeking to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.
103.A key part of this approach is to consider the real potential to drive targeted energy efficiency by facilitating the release of and widening access to valuable data on property characteristics, energy use and income. The Department must also recognise the need to be flexible enough to respond to, and maximise the potential of, disruptive technologies such as smart meters. Success in driving energy efficiency will only be achieved if its importance is recognised throughout Government and a genuinely cross-departmental approach is adopted.
Prepared 10 March 2016