Can renters go greener and warmer?

hand holding a light bulb

As Insulate Britain protestors lie down strategically across Britain’s road network, infuriating commuters and getting a fiery response in the media, the more mundane reason for their controversial action has been lost. As the name suggests, they feel Britain needs to get better at insulating homes. They are not alone in this belief and indeed, evidence put forward by far less polarising sources, suggest that if Britain were to see massive updates to its housing stock, the impact on the environment, utility bills and people’s well being could be significant.

Can homes get warmer?

In an era when renting is the norm and most people will wait decades before putting down a mortgage on a property, the lack of quality in UK housing stock is even more acute. While Insulate Britain have grabbed headlines and got something of a message into the public domain, other groups, notably Generation Rent, have been having a drier, but no less worthy conversation.

In February 2021 the group stated;

“Installing insulation and other improvements improves a property’s value but landlords are leaving their tenants to put up with cold and draughty homes. Even the £5000 Green Homes Grant the government introduced in September has not nudged landlords into action.”

MPs also found that the Green Home Grant (GHG) had fallen well short of the 600,000 homes it had targeted for better insulation. With about 10% of the intended target upgraded, the situation for renters remains grim. The reality is that cost is the main barrier, with landlords reluctant to spend out of their own pockets. The National Residential Landlord Association agreed, pointing out that grants are “quite limited”.

Can renters make their homes greener?

The biggest challenge facing renters who want to make their homes more fuel efficient, is persuading Landlords to make the changes. On top of that, the fact they may only be living in the property for one or two years makes it hard to know if the change is worth it. The general consensus is that greener means warmer, so it is in a tenant´s interests to see changes happen.

Landlords say grants of up to £5000 are not enough, while renters are more inclined to move on that stay and argue for better insulation. Both sides of the debate say the same thing – Government action is needed, with more funding for upgrades and greater legal protections for tenants. Who ask for necessary upgrades to keep their homes warmer and keep the cost of soaring energy bills down.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has said;

“The UK has a strong track record in improving the energy performance of its homes.

“However, we ​are committed to going further and faster, and are investing £9bn in improving the energy efficiency of our buildings, while creating hundreds of thousands of skilled green jobs.
“This includes funding for the first hydrogen powered houses and allocating more than £500m this year alone to improve the energy efficiency of 50,000 households in social and local authority housing across the UK, as we work to eliminate our contribution to climate change by 2050.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *