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Greg Barker 'got loft insulation data wrong'

The Association for the Conservation of Energy (Ace) has expressed scepticism regarding the success the government claims to have had in fitting thermal insulation in the nation's attics.

Discussing the Draft Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme on July 2nd, minister of state for energy and climate change Greg Barker said 99 per cent of all applicable lofts will have been lagged by the end of 2012.

"We now anticipate when we finish at the end of this year that only around one per cent of treatable lofts in the UK will remain to be filled," he declared.

The "major step towards almost declaring victory" is the result of the recalibration of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (Cert) scheme, the minister remarked.

However, Ace called Mr Barker's argument "highly misleading", highlighting recent data from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that found 62 per cent of British attics have adequate levels of loft insulation.

The industry predicts that lagging will still need to be fitted in between 30 and 32 per cent of all treatable lofts by December 31st 2012, with between 6.8 million and 7.5 million households potentially benefiting from the renovation at that point.

Ace pointed out the DECC has put this figure at 5.7 million, which is "grossly underestimated" and still means that 24 per cent of all households could become more sustainable through heating insulation in the loft.

"Whichever way you look at it, there can be no justification for asserting that in 2013 'one per cent of treatable lofts in the UK will remain to be filled'," the body argued.

Furthermore, the DECC claims that only 125 mm of lagging is required in attics, which is considerably lower than the 300mm outlined in current building regulations.

Mr Barker said the government is now shifting from filling lofts to more complicated jobs.

"Easy cavity wall insulation is the equivalent of two-and-a-half loft top-ups. One solid wall insulation job is the equivalent of 26.7 loft top-ups," he stated.

Posted by Simon Webster