Efficiency key to combat energy bills

Energy efficient homes are the key to keeping fuel costs low for rural residents, say housing experts.

The warning was made by rural housing specialists Hastoe in response to a new government inquiry.

Led by Professor Dieter Helm, the inquiry aims to sort the facts from the fiction around the rising cost of energy.

It will also examine how the UK can keep household bills down while also meeting its climate change targets.

Commenting on the announcement, Hastoe director of dusiness development Don Barclay said: “This is a welcome review at a time when there is widespread concern about rising energy bills.

“Government statistics published at the end of last year showed that more than 2.3 million families were living in fuel poverty.

“Nowhere is this more concerning than in rural England, where many households rely on expensive storage heaters or oil as they are not connected to mains gas.

“For Hastoe, the answer lies in building highly energy-efficient affordable homes – helping the environment while substantially reducing fuel bills for our tenants.

“All our new homes are built to high energy efficient standards and we are the leading provider of rural affordable Passivhaus homes in the UK, having delivered over 100 Passivhaus properties across the south of England.

“While building to these standards requires increased investment, their eco-friendly features can deliver tangible benefits to our residents.

“The average fuel cost for a three-bedroom house at our first Passivhaus scheme is approximately £125 per annum. This, for us, is true affordability.”

The government hopes the inquiry will secure the lowest energy costs in Europe for UK households and businesses.

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said: "All homes and businesses rely on an affordable and secure energy supply and the government is upgrading our energy system to make it fit for the future.

“We want to ensure we continue to find the opportunities to keep energy costs as low as possible, while meeting our climate change targets, as part of the Industrial Strategy.

The review will consider new technologies to ensure clean, secure and affordable supplies over the coming decades.

Professor Helm is one of Britain’s leading energy experts and a former member of the Council of Science and Technology, advising the UK Prime Minister from 2004 to 2007.

He said: “The cost of energy always matters to households and companies, and especially now in these exceptional times, with huge investment requirements to meet the decarbonisation and security challenges ahead over the next decade and beyond.

“Digitalisation, electric transport and smart and decentralised systems offer great opportunities. It is imperative to do all this efficiently, to minimise the burdens.

“Making people and companies pay excessively for policy and market inefficiencies risks undermining the objectives themselves.”


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