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Councils 'should fit wall insulation to social houses'

Councils and housing associations in the UK ought to improve the thermal insulation qualities of their tenants' abodes, minister of state for housing and planning Grant Shapps has said.

He argued that projects such as the Green Deal provide incentives and discounts for this kind of upgrade, whereas the Social Homes Ecofit scheme in Manchester has resulted in solid wall insulation and improved central heating being provided to 9,000 properties at no upfront cost.

It is thought that around 1,800 employment opportunities can be created in the region due to this policy, while companies based in the city and carrying out the renovations could experience a £100 million boost to their business.

This is particularly important at a time of rising fuel prices, as outgoings on energy can be cut by up to £500 annually though sustainable upgrades, the minister claimed.

'Pay As You Save' initiatives ought to be commenced by social landlords utilising their own funding model, which can utilise existing schemes and result in dwellings being warmer, cheaper to run and more comfortable to reside in, Mr Shapps declared.

The Green Deal, which will be rolled-out in autumn 2012, will enable environmentally-friendly upgrades such as underfloor heating insulation to be installed at properties at no upfront cost to the household, with the devices paid for over time through reduced energy bills.

It is expected that more sustainable refurbishments will take place when the barrier of the initial price of the investment has been removed.

Mr Shapps said measures such as this "will make a huge difference to the lives of tenants and help landlords in their efforts to make their homes cleaner and greener."

He claimed accommodation accounts for around a quarter of all of the UK's emissions, so making them more fuel efficient is "essential".

Recent data from the Department for Energy and Climate Change revealed almost half of British domiciles have inadequate loft or wall insulation.

Posted by Simon Webster