Energy Efficiency – A Policy Pathway

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Too many of our homes are cold, leaky and inefficient. Yet many of us, including those classified as able to pay, face significant barriers to carrying out energy efficiency improvements. The Sustainable Energy Association (SEA) has developed a policy paper which sets out proposals to address able to pay households. Through the development of stronger policy frameworks and the introduction of a comprehensive set of incentives in able to pay sector, the SEA believe that the Government can address a significant proportion of the UK’s poor housing.

Our policy paper, which can be downloaded, here proposes a number of mechanisms which could help to motivate able to pay consumers to take up energy efficiency measures that pay for themselves quickly; lowering energy bills, keeping families warm and reducing carbon emissions.

The SEA has assessed four key policy drivers which target homeowner trigger points to encourage households to address the energy efficiency of their properties. The below policy drivers are discussed in detail in our paper:

  1. Variable Stamp duty
  2. Conditional Mortgages
  3. Council tax rebates and flexing
  4. Minimum Energy Performance Certificate at point of sale

These policy drivers could be introduced separately or together as they are complimentary. However, they should be implemented alongside a range of financial mechanisms which will enable homeowners to remove or minimise the upfront investment required to make home energy improvements. The three financial mechanisms recommended by the SEA are:

  1. Help to Buy / Lifetime ISAs
  2. Help to Improve / zero interest loans
  3. Equity Loans

The policy interventions assessed in our paper are market-based and scalable and will help to close the energy efficiency gap and address the UK’s poor housing stock thus enabling the availability and affordability of high quality homes in the UK for years to come. It is important to note that a range of mechanisms and policy drivers may need to be introduced as different households will favour different measures based on their circumstances or requirements. The SEA calls on the Government to develop a robust framework to ensure that the able to pay market is incentivised and able to carry out energy efficiency improvements.

To download and read the full policy paper please visit:

If you would like to discuss any of the above policy proposals or have any comments on our policy paper, please contact Samantha Crichton


T: 0121 709 7740