Last year, Citizens Advice published Insulation Nation, which outlined that homes that upgrade

their energy efficiency to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of band C could save up to £951 per year per household. Following up this work, it has now released a report on the total cumulative benefits of improving the majority of UK homes (those that are technically / financially feasible to do so) to EPC band C and is now calling for all homes to be upgraded to this level by 2030.

The report states that upgrading 13 million energy inefficient homes to EPC band C would deliver almost £40 billion of cumulative benefits by 2030, with approximately £70 – £100 billion in additional benefits expected over the following decade to 2040. This near £40 billion boost includes £5 billion of benefits to the North West alone. The North West would see total societal benefits worth £400 per person between now and 2030.

The annual benefits would rise sharply as more homes are insulated to EPC band C. This means that, despite the cost of upgrading homes, the benefit would rapidly outstrip the initial investment – paying for itself within a decade of kickstarting the programme and providing ongoing benefits into the future.

In addition, Citizen Advice found that upgrading these 13 million homes would:

  • Improve the nation’s mental and physical health, including stopping 670,000 children from developing asthma and preventing 6,000 excess winter deaths every year. These improvements would reduce strain on health services, saving the NHS £2 billion by 2030.
  • Save consumers £24 billion on energy bills by 2030, helping households trapped in fuel poverty. Energy efficiency improvements would deliver the strongest benefits to regions with the highest levels of deprivation. The North West has some of the highest levels of fuel poverty in the country, with Greater Manchester having 15.1% of households in fuel poverty in 2020 (the latest data available), compared to 13.2% in England.

The research assigns monetary values to various categories of benefits, including improved health, avoided excess winter deaths, easing pressure on energy networks, and reduced consumer energy bills. Regions such as the North West and West Midlands would receive the highest benefits to the NHS per person. The North West and West Midlands also have among the most overloaded hospitals during winter peaks; improving the energy efficiency of homes helps to reduce levels of both physical and mental health conditions, which could significantly reduce patient numbers during the winter peak. [JA1] 

Densely populated city neighbourhoods would also see reductions in air pollution due to lower emissions from heating appliances. Regions such as the North West have some of the worst air-polluted cities in the UK.

Also of concern in the findings, is that there is a Low awareness of schemes which can help people fund home upgrades. For example, 64% of homeowners haven’t heard of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme. Of the homeowners that know about ECO, 74% of those that are on benefits are unsure whether they are eligible for the scheme, resulting in many households missing out on the support they need to keep their homes warm.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is helping low income and vulnerable households to access free energy efficiency measures that could lower energy bills – find out more and check if you might be eligible by visiting:

About the report:

Citizens Advice commissioned specialist energy consultancy Baringa Partners to conduct an in-depth analysis. The model analysed key data sources and scientific literature and combined these with tested assumptions to quantify the benefits of improving 13 million homes to EPC band C.

To read the Citizen Advice report click here.

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