- A new briefing from independent think tank E3G finds that stricter minimum energy efficiency standards could save tenants £570 per year in the UK.
- This would mean total savings to the whole economy of £1.75bn per year.
- These savings are achievable if the UK government goes ahead with energy efficiency regulations it first proposed in 2020.
- Over 1 in 4 renters live in fuel poverty, more than in any other housing type. Two-thirds of privately rented homes do not meet the government’s target energy efficiency level, and almost a million rented properties would not meet the legal definition of a “decent home”.
Private renters have the highest rates of fuel poverty of any housing tenure but are being left behind in government efforts to conserve energy and cut bills. Improving the energy efficiency of homes – through measures like insulation, draught-proofing, and new heating systems – lowers bills and cuts harmful greenhouse gas emissions. But while tenants are responsible for paying their energy bills, only landlords can decide whether to invest in energy efficiency.
Currently, homes can only be rented out if they meet a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E. In 2020, the government consulted on plans to raise this minimum standard to EPC C from 2025 for new tenancies and 2028 for existing tenancies. These new standards would help the government meet its legally binding fuel poverty and net zero targets.
Since then, rising energy prices have made the situation more urgent. Implementing the government’s proposals would now save tenants an average of £570 per year. Despite this, the proposals have not yet been put into law. Now, a group of independent experts, think tanks and charities – including National Energy Action, the Green Finance Institute and Generation Rent – are urging the government to follow through and raise the minimum standards through the Energy Bill currently in Parliament.
Read E3G’s briefing, Cutting Energy Bills and Raising Standards for Private Renters.
Colm Britchfield, Policy Advisor at E3G said:
“The poor state of many rented homes is a growing national scandal. Tenants are facing sky-high bills in part because so much energy is wasted in inefficient homes. The government has an oven-ready set of regulations to fix this – now they need to put them into law.”
Matt Copeland, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at National Energy Action, said:
“Private renters are more likely to be fuel poor than people in any other tenure, and are more likely to live in the leakiest properties, often needing to spend thousands of pounds more than the average household just to keep a healthy temperature at home. Tightened minimum standards are key to ensuring that all fuel poor private renters can live in a warm home.”
Emma Harvey-Smith, Director at the Green Finance Institute, said:
“Decarbonising homes in the private rented sector offers an opportunity to address the cost-of-living, energy, and climate crises in the UK. Introducing revised minimum energy efficiency standards and fiscal incentives to improve private-rented homes will support those in fuel poverty, while also providing certainty to landlords, retrofit contractors and financial institutions on the timescales and demand for energy efficiency improvements.”
Dan Wilson Craw, Deputy Director at Generation Rent, said:
“It is clear what a positive impact minimum standards have already had for renters living in the worst properties. By improving insulation and heating in private rented homes, landlords allow their tenants to heat their homes at less cost which not only improves comfort levels but reduces damp and mould, and the health problems they cause. The government has to go further, not just for renters but for the sake of the planet and the country’s energy security.”
Available for comment
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Notes to Editors
- E3G is an independent European climate change think tank with a global outlook. We work on the frontier of the climate landscape, tackling the barriers and advancing the solutions to a safe climate. Our goal is to translate climate politics, economics and policies into action. About – E3G
- The new briefing, Cutting Energy Bills and Raising Standards for Private Renters, has been written and published by E3G and is endorsed and supported by National Energy Action, the Green Finance Institute, and Generation Rent. National Energy Action is the national fuel poverty charity, working to ensure that everyone in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is warm and safe at home. The Green Finance Institute is an independent organisation backed by UK government and led by bankers that works to accelerate the transition to a clean, resilient and environmentally sustainable economy. Generation Rent is a campaign led by and for renters, that works to make sure that the voices of private renters are heard by landlords, policymakers and politicians.
- The £570 annual saving for renters is calculated based on E3G modelling using the 2018-19 English Housing Survey and Ofgem typical consumption values.
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