Report shows the way to halving heating bills

A new report from the Tony Blair Institute has said the UK could cut household heating bills in half if the government enabled people to easily and affordably install energy-efficiency measures and low-carbon heating.

It claims that the combination of demand reduction, renewable systems and a greener grid could halve energy bills by 2035.

The report points out that Britain’s homes are notoriously leaky and are at the bottom of energy-efficiency rankings across Europe. It states that “the cheapest energy is the energy you no longer use”, so energy efficiency measures are a “no-brainer” to saving people money and reducing emissions. And while low-carbon heat may be a longer-term project, it is one that needs to start now. 

However, households are not equipped to make the transition to net zero, with the report identifying three missing but crucial elements: a) awareness of the changes required, b) the ability to fund the upfront costs and c) reliable and low-hassle ways of getting it done.

The report argues for better advice pathways for households, proposing that the government establish an independent one-stop-shop Home Energy Service, combining advice, grants and interest-free loans to deliver a simple, compelling consumer offer.

Heat pumps are highlighted as a technology that is more than 300% more efficient than gas boilers and could potentially slash emissions and primary energy demand, making homes cheaper to heat in the long term. The high upfront costs of installation could be overcome with effective financial aid from the government, and an investment to build the market could enable millions more households to switch to electric heat pumps. 

In the immediate term, simple changes can provide modest savings. Lowering boiler flow temperatures could save 6% alone, the report claims, and advice on thermostat use could provide further savings. 

The report acknowledges the importance of supporting installers and businesses through improved training, standards and consumer protections. It recommends that the government establish a single accreditation and inspection system for home-decarbonisation installers, and a new fund to support industry investment in manufacturing and upskilling.

The report concludes: “Decisive action to decarbonise Britain’s homes has never been so important. There is no other way to reliably and permanently bring down bills. There are no alternative routes to ending our reliance on volatile international markets. And we have no chance of meeting our climate targets without tackling emissions from our homes.”

Read the report Three Birds, One Stone: How Greener Homes Can Solve the Energy Trilemma. 

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