Older homes losing out on energy efficiency grantsEnergy grant help less likely to benefit old homes

09 June 2009

Millions of people living in old houses are unable to take advantage of grants helping them improve their home's energy efficiency, according to the Energy Saving Trust (EST).

The government's Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) obligates energy suppliers to help households improve their energy efficiency. But according to the EST, millions of older properties, which usually require more extensive insulation, are less likely to be able to take full advantage of the scheme.

Insulating older homes

Under CERT, grants are available to households insulating their homes, and free insulation is provided to low-income households. 

But according to Marian Spain, of the EST, bigger projects such as solid wall insulation in old properties need to be addressed. 

Ms Spain said: 'CERT has been a good delivery mechanism to date to help reduce the amount of household carbon emissions through simple measures like low energy lightbulbs and loft insulation.

'However going forward we will need to address more expensive measures such as solid wall insulation. There are over seven million solid wall homes in the UK and only a few thousand so far have been tackled.'

Solid wall insulation

While installing cavity wall insulation is a relatively straightforward task to complete, costing around £500, the insulation of homes built before 1930 - prior to the use of cavity walls - is a more complicated and expensive project. In some cases, solid wall insulation can cost up to £10,000.

However because solid walls generally lose more heat than cavity walls, the opportunity to make savings through wall insulation is even greater for older properties - households could save around £500, or two-and-a-half tonnes of CO2 a year.

If you want to make your home more energy efficient, find out if you're entitled to financial help - our guide to home heating includes information on energy efficiency grants, which takes you through the different grants available and how to apply for one.

We've also got information and advice on how to choose the right type of insulation for your home.

Long term energy strategy

Ms Spain said: 'In order to meet our climate change targets we need to start treating these more hard to treat homes and re-think our long-term strategy so this can be achieved.

'If all homes with solid walls were insulated it would save the UK 14.9million tonnes of CO2 per year – equivalent to 2.7 per cent of the UK's total CO2 emissions. Households can cut £500 from a heating bill through solid wall insulation.’

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