BMF CEO, John Newcomb, highlights the benefits of a National Retrofit Scheme.
Soaring energy bills have focused attention on improving insulation and smarter heating to reduce wasted energy in our homes. Our supply chain is addressing this by providing the materials, products and solutions required to create low carbon homes to achieve the country’s Net Zero ambitions.
Net Zero cannot be achieved without addressing the UK’s existing housing stock, which in terms of energy efficiency is amongst the worst in Europe using 35% of the country’s energy and emitting 20% of the carbon dioxide emissions.
Insulating the nation’s existing homes is at the heart of the Construction Leadership Council’s National Retrofit Strategy, which the BMF has supported since its inception. This is a 20-year programme of work to upgrade 29 million UK homes, making them warmer, greener and cheaper to run.
A fabric first approach to upgrading our homes is an essential first step, but for many there is a further requirement to install low carbon heating solutions. Heat pumps, hydrogen boilers and district heating will all have a role to play, and we want to be manufacturing as much of this technology as possible here in the UK.
Without a long-term strategy to retrofit these homes, Government will fail to meet the UK’s legal obligation to deliver zero carbon by 2050, as well as failing to help constituents struggling with family budgets in the face of soaring energy costs.
Retrofitting is labour intensive and will create 500,000 new and meaningful jobs throughout the UK.
However, the programme’s success will require support from successive governments. At our Parliamentary Reception in the House of Commons last month, the BMF called on the new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, to provide a simple financial incentive, such as a cut in the rate of VAT on retrofit work, to provide the vital kick-start which will unlock business confidence and private investment, and secure consumer support for the programme.
Government investment of just over £5 billion by the end of this Parliament would unlock £11.4 billion in private capital investment over this period. Importantly, the programme would more than pay for itself. A win-win-win for householders, industry and government.