The government “needs to do more” to persuade homeowners to go green.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said ministers had to ‘show some backbone’ and introduce tough statutory measures to help reduce carbon emissions.
RICS argues that financial incentives need to be offered to persuade householders to make their homes more environmentally friendly.
It estimates that roof insulation costs between £525 for a terraced house and £3,130 for a detached house.
But it says that the savings made by insulating a roof are just £140 to £170 a year, which means some homeowners would have to wait 18 years to reap the financial benefits.
RICS says the situation is the same with wall insulation and that with fewer householders staying in one place for many years there was little incentive for them to pay for insulation.
RICS Chief Executive Louis Armstrong said: ‘The government continues to fiddle while energy burns in our homes. It is time that it showed some backbone by introducing tough statutory measures to encourage industry and the consumer to make the necessary changes to reduce carbon emissions.
‘The government must introduce fiscal incentives to encourage both the commercial and residential sectors to upgrade energy efficiency provision.
‘Providing grants for home insulation would be a sizeable stride forward in solving the problem of fuel poverty and improving the housing stock.’
Earlier this year the government announced plans for anyone selling a home in England and Wales to provide prospective buyers with an energy performance certificate.
The certificates, which will be introduced over the next two years, will provide an A to G rating for properties to reflect their energy efficiency and carbon emissions.
A government spokesman said these certificates were an example of its commitment to making homes greener. He accused RICS of being completely out of touch with current costs and savings, adding that the cost of lagging a loft can be recouped from lower energy bills in as little as two years.
The spokesman added: ‘The government has invested £100 million a year to support grants and loans to help people cut carbon emissions and the new energy performance certificates give home buyers and sellers detailed information on carbon emissions and practical measures to cut them.
‘In addition, the government has already said it wants to look at green mortgages and other incentives to support energy performance certificates.’