Every UK home sold ‘should hit C energy rating’

The main professional organisation for estate agents and surveyors is demanding that the Government ensure that practically every home sold should achieve a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of C.

Traditionally the least outspoken of construction professionals, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) is now demanding radical initiatives to modernise the UK existing housing stock.

A new RICS paper calls on Government to make a “step-change in policies” for decarbonising existing UK housing stock, as people spend more time at home due to the Coronavirus lockdown. Government “must maximise public interest in home improvements to green the entire existing UK housing stock”.

Seeking to “provide a blueprint for Government to take forward as part of their resilient recovery from COVID-19,” the new policy paper highlights how government incentives can promote positive consumer behaviour, and both entice and support more people in making their homes energy efficient.

Recommendations are encapsulated in a package of regulatory measures, industry standards, fiscal levels and market insight. These include:

• Government must work closely with sector stakeholders and publish a defined energy efficiency road map, with quantitative targets, investment and implementation plans to achieve ambitions of a minimum EPC rating ‘C’ existing housing stock;

• Government should monitor and ensure that local authorities are adequately resourced to manage and enforce across their portfolio of building control, minimum energy efficiency standards and EPCs;

• Government must engage with industry to improve public awareness of standards and professional competency-based advice and training regarding energy efficiency retrofits and wider home improvement works, especially for heritage buildings which are more complex and present a skills gap in the market; and

• a uniform VAT rate of 5 per cent for home improvement and repair to houses to enhance energy efficiency, to be carried out by an accredited installer or contractor with a recognised quality mark.

Government must create long-term policy and regulatory energy efficiency roadmaps to bring confidence to the financial sector, encouraging mortgage lenders to invest and develop products to support these ambitions.

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