Energy-saving measures could boost UK economy by £7bn a year
A government-backed programme to insulate homes and install heat pumps could inject £6.8bn into the economy by the end of the decade and create almost 140,000 new jobs in the energy sector, according to a new report from Cambridge Econometrics.
The report calls on the government to fund a programme for the nationwide upgrade of energy efficiency across British homes. This includes installing heat pumps, wall, loft and floor insulation as well as double glazing to a minimum of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C standard over the next 10-15 years. As many as 15 million homes in the UK could need energy efficiency improvements to meet the proposed target of an EPC C.
It believes the Government’s targets are off track with its upgrade targets, with home insulation installations falling 50 per cent this year and sales of heat pumps per household in the UK the lowest in Europe in 2020.
The installation of electric-powered heat pumps and home insulation, combined with the shift from expensive high-carbon fossil fuels towards cheap, clean renewable energy for electricity production would lead to lower bills.
How would these measures boost the economy?
A government-backed programme could create around 140,000 jobs. The bulk of the forecasted new jobs would be generated in the manufacturing and installation of energy efficiency measures, and a significant net increase in jobs from the switch away from gas heating systems to low-carbon heat pumps. The money would also come in the form of savings on energy bills which would give people more disposable income to spend which in turn further boosts the economy and creates more jobs in other sectors such as retail and hospitality.
There are also health and social benefits, as people living in under-heated homes are more prone to illness, while lifting people out of fuel poverty improves their wellbeing and the education prospects of children.