Editor's Pick

Average UK household living with 50 year old insulation standards

Just 41% of Britons live in homes that meet regulations set in 1976. 

The study, conducted by Sprift, involved 25million households in total, the vast majority of the country’s housing stock. The results lay bare the stark challenges that lie ahead not just in ensuring people’s homes are warm and affordable to run, but bringing the built environment in line with net zero targets. 

Across the country, the average insulation was at least 48 years old, and only one-in-five had insulation measures introduced within the past two years. Double glazing, wall cavity, loft and floor insulation were all found to be either missing or inadequate in just under half of UK homes. 

The research also reveals an increase in the number of households investing in energy-related improvements. Just 18% of properties having an insulation age of 2002 or younger, but this is a marked improvement on the 8% which could say the same in 2022.

However, some of this can be attributed to new builds coming on the market, which have to comply with new regulations. From the 2,000 homeowners who reported not having invested in upgrades, 32% cited cost as a primary barrier. 17% preferred to spend money elsewhere. 14% lacked clarity on the work and materials that would be needed. 

‘It’s clear from this research that, despite the energy crisis, little progress has been made in improving the energy efficiency of older British homes in the past two years, meaning millions of homeowners are missing out on significant savings on their energy bills,’ said Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF, which commissioned the study. 

The UK Government’s Great British Insulation Scheme [GIBS] aims to help more homes make significant savings on both carbon and cash, but has been criticised for not going far enough in terms of eligibility for support. EDF has now called on Downing Street to extend the provision in the following ways: 

• Allowing the installation of more than one measure. Currently only one measure per home is allowed. Allowing multiple measures in homes that require them would help customers lower customers energy bills and carbon footprint, as well as reducing the costs of delivering the scheme.

• Including heating control measures e.g. room thermostats, as a secondary measure for all customer groups (currently only delivered within the ‘low income group’). Heating controls are cost effective to install and can bring a big benefit on bill and usage reduction for households.

• Extending the scheme eligibility to include Council Tax Band E homes in England, which would bring in scope an additional 2.4 million homes – representing an extra 10% of all homes in England. Currently the eligibility criteria is Council Tax Bands A-D. This could open up much needed support to customers, including those on low incomes, struggling with the cost of heating a larger home.

Take a look at the interactive map below to understand average insulation age per UK area.

In related news, Midlands residents are being invited to join a new programme run by E.ON, offering 1,000 mortgage holders energy and energy-saving upgrades. Meanwhile, a new campaign is demanding the UK Government gives more control to local authorities on housing policy in a bid to ensure new builds are fit for the future. 


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