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Union pushes for national energy efficiency programme

The union UNISON has called for a large-scale, national programme to help bring the UK's homes up to an acceptable energy-efficient standard.

After releasing a report on the issue at its Annual Energy Conference in Brighton on Monday (June 16th), the organisation has proposed that the government introduces a cost-neutral initiative to bring all domestic properties up to an Energy Performance Certificate Band C rating within 15 years.

It's hoped the move will enable the country to make the most of its dwindling gas supplies, while also reducing the need for fracking companies to begin operations to extract shale gas from as many as 400 wells.

Poor insulation is a common cause of energy wastage and it is estimated that between £300 and £600 could be saved every year by those who take action to improve the efficiency of their homes.

Under UNISON's plans, free door-to-door assessments would take place to identify what work needs to be done for every dwelling to reach the acceptable standard. It has then suggested the work would be carried out for free on low-income homes, capped at a maximum cost of £10,000. Those properties that are not in this bracket would instead be able to take advantage of a ten-year interest-free loan.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: "The comprehensive set of measures would wipe out the scandal of fuel poverty for five million households and address the soaring increase in winter mortalities. 

"UK householders spend a staggering £32 billion on energy each year, more than double that of 2003."

The government has recently re-launched its own Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, which offers households up to £6,000 in subsidies for the installation of solid wall insulation. This measure is generally used to improve the efficiency of homes that are often difficult to insulate and it can also help protect a building against the damaging effects of the weather.

Posted by Paul Taylor