Energy secretary Grant Shapps did at the weekend what libertarian PM Liz Truss refused to two months ago, launching an £18 million publicity drive urging Britons to insulate better Europe’s most heat-wasting homes.
The D-BEIS secretary chose December’s third weekend, a fortnight into a cold snap, to feature himself touring his own home on Twitter, laying draught excluders under doors and turning off dormant appliances like routers.
During her catastrophic 45-day premiership this autumn, Britain’s shortest serving head of government had ruled out such a publicity campaign, citing to colleagues its allegedly patronising nature.
The eighteen million pounds confirmed as committed by Shapps to inspire low-cost home improvements is considerably less than the £ 1.5 billion in job creation & saving of heat committed by the May & Johnson administrations in their Green Deal, a programme targeting extensive efficiency upgrades to a planned 600,000 homes.
On grounds of expense, and amidst cumbersome administration by US outsourcing contractors ICF, in February 2020 Rishi Sunak, then serving as Johnson’s chancellor, quietly cancelled that scheme without notice to insulation firms, in an attempt to recoup more than 90% of its budget unspent.
Shapps’ less ambitious “It All Adds Up” drive today centres instead on ‘simple, low-cost, or no-cost” actions, yet unadopted in most UK homes.
Turning down to 60 degrees the flow temperature of domestic boilers, could yield £100 a year in a typical home. Switching off devices at the wall socket £70. Lagging doors, and putting cling film across windows might save £60, according to D-BEIS. A new website supports the campaign, part of the government’s Help for Households largesse.
“It’s in everyone’s interest to use every trick in the book to use less energy while keeping homes warm and staying safe”, said the energy secretary.
“For very little or no cost, you can save pounds. It all adds up, so I urge people to take note of the advice in this new campaign”, Shapps added.
At 46%, fewer than half of Britain’s estimated 28 million dwellings achieve an energy efficiency grade of C or above, on the eight-grade Energy Performance Certificate scale. In 2010, that figure was only 10%.
Energy industry participants lined up to support D-BEIS’ “It All Adds Up” campaign include Dame Clare Moriarty of Citizens Advice, by law the independent monitor of government policy on home heat. Energy UK for suppliers, and Jonathan Brearley, Ofgem director.
Moriarty said: “This winter, many people will be worried about how much they might have to spend to heat their homes. These tips should help cut down the cost of staying warm.
However, we know lots of people are living in cold, dark homes because they’re stretched to their limit and simply have nothing left to cut back on. If you’re in this situation, speak to your energy supplier or contact Citizens Advice for support”.
D-BEIS’s campaign repeats the government’s pledge to trim 15% from energy consumption in Britain’s homes & workplaces by 2030. To that end, the announcement flags up the £ 6.6 billion earmarked this parliament, and a further £ 6 billion committed before 2028.
Other support for buildings insulation includes £ 4 billion in the ECO4 programme targeting poor households, and £ 1 billion in the ECO+ drive, which extends help to dwellings not previously eligible for upgrade under the long-standing ECO ( Energy Company Obligation ) programme