Net Zero Homes: Time for a Reset report – six months on

The 28 million households in the UK account for around 14 per cent of our overall carbon emissions. In terms of the scale of the change required by homeowners to meet the government’s 2050 Net Zero target, this will require a home being upgraded every two minutes between now and 2050.

The estimated cost of bringing the entire UK housing stock to a minimum EPC rating of C will be approximately £249.5 billion.

To this effect, in November 2022 we released our ‘Net Zero Homes – Time for a Reset’ report, which calls for greater collaboration between key stakeholders to:

  • inspire action
  • deliver funding
  • define the standards needed for the greening of the UK’s homes, while ensuring no homeowner is left behind.

The report forms the basis of on-going work between UK Finance, government, the banking and finance industry and stakeholders across multiple sectors; recognising that everyone must play their part if greening the UK’s housing stock is to be achieved.

Following its launch last November, the report has received significant, positive coverage across a range of stakeholders and industries involved in the housing and home building sectors.

The creation of the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero and the establishment of the Energy Efficiency Taskforce were both welcome developments. Their creation will ensure specific focus on decarbonising the housing stock, with a view to greener, long-term energy solutions. In addition, they will aim to tackle the most significant challenges in reducing energy demand across the whole economy. UK Finance has a seat on the Taskforce, which provides us with a key opportunity to share the banking sector’s views on this key topic with ministers.

We continue to build strong partnerships with various industry and trade bodies such as the Green Finance Institute and the Construction Industry Council (representing the construction industry), together with bodies such as Trustmark and the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors with the aim of creating a coordinated approach to tackling the Net Zero challenge.

The government’s ‘Green Day’ announcements on 30 March 2023 included its Powering Up Britain and Green Finance Strategy papers. These outline policy commitments closely aligning with many of the recommendations made in our report, including:

  • the provision of funding towards training to close the skills gap enabling the upskilling of new cohort of engineers to undertake, and quality-control, retrofitting installations
  • providing support to local authorities on advice and guidance to their constituents interested in greening their homes
  • extending the Boiler Upgrade scheme (which provides up to £6,000 per household to upgrade to a ground-sourced heat pump system) until 2028.

We continue to use our ongoing stakeholder engagement to deliver our advocacy asks in supporting the Green Agenda. In the short to medium term, we have voiced our desires to see imminent development by government in key areas such as :

  • EPC reform and regulation
  • Stamp Duty and tax incentives to promote retrofitting
  • Implementation of new government-backed policies providing grants or financial support for homeowners to improve the efficiency of their homes (ensuring those least able to afford it, are not left living in cold, energy inefficient properties)
  • Investing in a consumer engagement campaign, raising public awareness of the benefits energy efficiency measure can bring.

It’s fair to say that our long-term collective goal is not an easy one, but with the right collaboration, coordination, and expertise, it is achievable.

Area of expertise: