Millions of tonnes of carbon and billions of pounds from fuel bills could be saved by simple measures like cavity wall insulation, new government analysis has revealed.
The initial report from the Review of the Sustainability of Existing Buildings shows that millions of homes across the country could benefit from cost effective improvements that cut both carbon emissions and fuel bills.
Widespread implementation of such improvements could save around a million tonnes of carbon a year.
In a speech to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Climate Change, Yvette Cooper said more needed to be done to give householders the information and support they need to make changes to their homes.
She highlighted the potential of Energy Performance Certificates introduced next year to be linked to green mortgages or schemes such as the Council Tax rebates offered by some councils funded by energy companies.
And she says the need for more homes across the country gave us the chance to develop new energy efficient technologies which can be exported worldwide.
Cooper says: “This research suggests our existing homes and buildings could offer some of the most cost effective ways to cut our national emissions over the next few years.
“After all, many of the measures needed to cut carbon from our homes also help cut our fuel bills as well.
“New housing should be seized on as an opportunity to increase environmental standards rather than as a threat.
“The sheer scale of new building is an opportunity to raise standards, to develop and implement new technologies and reap the benefits of economies of scale.
“To make the difference we need by 2050 we will need radical changes to the way we heat and power our existing homes as well as new ones.
“Whether it be turf on the roof, wind turbines in the garden, heat pumps below the basement, or micro Combined Heat Power boilers, the homes of the future will need to be powered in a completely different way.
“And we need to develop the technology to support our Victorian terraces and sixties tower blocks as well as our modern new homes.”