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Energy efficiency 'top priority,' says UK Green Building Council

One year on from the launch of the Government's energy-efficiency policy, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) is pushing household energy-efficiency to the top of the country's infrastructure priority list.

Since the Green Deal at the start of last year, it has been blighted by poor take-up numbers and cuts to its linked scheme, the Energy Companies Obligation.

UK-GBC is urging the Government to re-focus on energy-efficiency, by beginning a national retrofit programme to help to lower consumers’ energy bills on a permanent basis. Items such as energy-efficient gas boilers could be brought in to replace older, less efficient boilers, and eco lighting could replace existing lights, the organisation said.

Paul King, UK Green Building Council chief executive, told Heating and Ventilation News magazine: “Improving the energy-efficiency of our cold and draughty homes is the only way to permanently cut households’ spiralling energy bills and will be a major driver of economic growth.

“The Government must make energy-efficiency a top national infrastructure priority, as important as decisions on High Speed 2 or aviation expansion. Underwriting the Green Deal – as the government has done with Help to Buy – would provide a huge shot in the arm for the retrofit industry,” added Mr King.

The UK-GBC recently published a report entitled 'Green Deal Finance: Examining the Green Deal interest rate as a barrier to take-up', which found that more appealing Green Deal finance could provide a much-needed boost to the scheme.

Lower interest rates could increase the take-up levels, the report confirmed, and detailed a number of options for lowering the rate. “However, given the Green Deal requirements, this cannot be achieved through a standard market solution and so financial intervention at either a local or national level would be required to deliver a lower interest rate at the large scale required,” said Marksman Consulting partner Christoph Harwood, who helped to compile the report.