How retrofitting could help resolve the UK energy crisis

Could the solution to rising energy costs be closer to home than we realise?

16 February 2023

Energy prices in the UK have risen dramatically in the last 12 months with a 54% price rise in April followed by a 27% rise in October. As costs continue to spiral, with a further 20% increase expected in April 2023, is the secret to saving money hidden in the walls of our homes?

Research by home climate management company tado in 2020 found that houses in the UK lose heat anywhere up to three times faster than houses in Norway or Germany. Our homes are typically older and less energy efficient, with limited insulation and single glazed windows, requiring more gas or electricity to heat them to a liveable temperature. This has presented an economic and environmental challenge for households, pushing many into fuel poverty and leading to increased carbon emissions, contributing to the ongoing environmental crisis.

According to a study from the Building Research Establishment,  the UK’s poor homes cost the NHS £1.4 billion every year in hospital and primary care, with £857 million of this down to exposure to excess cold. With the most poorly insulated housing in Europe, the effects in the UK have led to the media coining the phrase ‘Heat or Eat’ as residents are either forced to spend more money to heat their homes or are unable to afford to do so at all.

How did we get here?

According to research from the UK, Green Building Council shared by The Guardian, despite lofty promises laid out by the Conservative Government in the Green Deal in 2013, the number of installations of both cavity wall and loft insulations have since fallen from more than 2 million per year to around a tenth of this number in 2022. 

The Green Deal, which was a government initiative that supported homeowners to make energy-saving home improvements, was itself scrapped in 2015. While other plans have since been put forward, including last year’s energy security strategy, these have been criticised for a lack of clear plans for delivery of better insulated, more energy efficient homes.

How do we solve the problem?

Alongside City & Guilds and numerous lobby groups, Energy Bill Revolution are pushing for change and are armed with the support of over 244 MPs, alongside Asda, Carillion, IKEA, WWF, Save the Family and the UK Green Building Council. City & Guilds not only join this affirmative action but have covered this burning issue several times with the Great Jobs Energy Report and in numerous podcasts such as Great Jobs Episode 4, where we shed light on the opportunities that could be leveraged in our collective efforts to build a robust, highly skilled workforce in energy. 

Retrofit news sub imageEnergy needs to be invested back into retrofitting these energy-leaky homes if we are serious about lowering the heating costs of UK homes, but also making an impact on reducing the carbon emissions from these buildings. We are actively talking about making retrofitting qualifications a priority, particularly those involving insulation and how they are not only a means of making homes warm again but also lead to much-needed job opportunities.

We have developed Retrofit qualifications in collaboration with industry specialists to ensure that these qualifications are fit for purpose in upskilling the workforce with the knowledge they need about the evolving retrofit industry.

Find out more about Retrofit qualifications