A UK energy assessor is warning that zero-carbon towns are wholly unrealistic.
Paul Staley, managing director of Energy Reports and Surveys, says it is not possible to make all homes zero-carbon and that Britain needs to concentrate on existing properties to solve its energy crisis.
Staley claims that in its quest to cut emissions, the government has largely ignored Britain’s ageing housing stock.
He says it is “all very well” to pledge that all new houses will be energy efficient, but older properties have the most room for improvement and should be targeted accordingly.
Staley believes that as the price of fuel rises, the implications of having an inefficient house will hit the homeowner where it hurts – in the wallet.
ERS says that if financial initiatives were introduced, such as a Stamp Duty rebate, then this could provide the impetus needed to encourage occupants, and buy-to-let landlords, to take a property’s emissions into their own hands.
It says the government also needs to fund research into new technology to aid domestic energy efficiency.
A statement from the firm says: “A more immediate action the government should take is to expand the current capabilities of the Energy Performance Certificate.
“Although it is a very useful tool, at the moment some individual features, such as solar panels and wind turbines, which make a substantial efficiency impact on a property, cannot even be recorded and so make no difference to a property’s energy rating.”
The statement adds: “It is not possible to make all homes zero carbon, or for each property to be able to achieve an ‘A’ rating on their EPC.
“The challenge is to make a property as efficient as possible. Encouraging all property owners to do this will make a huge impact upon Britain’s emissions. By improving existing stock, we safeguard the character of older properties whilst remaining in line with European guidelines.”