Coalition commits to training 21,500 new installers to support delivery of home decarbonisation 

Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition has called for urgent action to unlock the delivery of energy efficiency this decade with news that key industry bodies will offer support to include:

Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition has pledged support and calls for urgent action to unlock the delivery of energy efficiency this decade.
  • Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition to offer training to 21,500 new installers.
  • British Gas unveils plan to deliver heat pumps under £5,000.
  • NatWest Group earmarks £10 billion for green mortgages.
  • Worcester Bosch to ramp up training course places to support delivery.  

The second report by Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition has been launched in Parliament ‘Home is Where the Heat is – Progress Report’ documents the first phases of fully funded energy efficiency pilots in nine UK households. 

The report outlines five policy recommendations to Government to retrofit UK homes this decade, including reform to the stamp duty policy. 

The new report by the Sustainable Homes and Buildings Coalition, launched in Parliament recently, calls on Government and industry to work together to move energy efficiency from pilot to profitable, from difficult to desirable and from piecemeal to prominent, if the UK is to succeed in decarbonising its 29 million homes. 

‘Home is Where the Heat is – Progress Report’ sheds much-needed light on the importance of customer-centric approaches to the home retrofitting industry, by showcasing the real-life experiences of nine households from Tyne and Wear to Pontypool.  

Supply-chain shortages 

Focusing on the first three parts of a five-phase process, the Coalition provides an honest appraisal of some of the stumbling blocks and learnings experienced as they accompany the nine households on a journey to energy efficiency.  Some of the learnings are concerning but well-known, especially around the clunkiness of the customer journey, the opacity of funding options and supply chain shortages.   

Other insights, especially on Energy Performance Certificates and their bias towards certain solutions like solar PV rather than newer technologies, and the benefits of digitising them, need urgent action now. Interestingly, the report indicates that EPCs are an increasingly important factor when buying a home, with EPC ratings are now seen as more desirable than access to public transport, according to the Q3 edition of NatWest’s Greener Homes Attitude Tracker. 

The report also emphasises the strong and growing public support for energy efficiency – highlighting that 68% of homeowners are planning to make energy efficiency improvements to their homes in the next decade. Additionally, it discusses the industry supply chain, and what can be done to unlock the role of SMEs to fully contribute to this strategic agenda. 

Retrofits won’t happen by magic 

Delivering a home retrofit every minute until 2050 will not happen by magic. With households now massively in favour of energy efficiency, increased industry momentum to drive this national agenda forward, and SMEs standing to gain the most from the growth opportunity it presents, the Coalition makes five policy recommendations to unlock the delivery of energy efficiency this decade. 

  1. A public information campaign to educate the public on energy efficiency measures.  
  1. Long-term investment signals to the market, including through local area energy planning.  
  1. EPC reform to ensure all homes sold by 2033 are rated EPC C and above while digitising and regularly updating EPCs to make them more useful.  
  1. The launch of a ‘Help for Energy Efficiency Scheme’ allowing banks to provide low-interest loans to households to upgrade their properties.  
  1. The launch of an ‘Energy Saving Stamp Duty Rebate’ leveraging the trigger point of a house sale for the new owner to have a two-year window to invest in energy efficiency and be able to claim it back against its stamp duty. 

To coincide with the publication of the report, British Gas is announcing that it will offer heat pump installations for £4,999 to help more of its customers to lower their emissions.  

Meanwhile, as part of NatWest Group’s industry-leading pledge of £100 billion to drive climate action and decarbonisation before the end of 2025, the bank has committed £10bn to green mortgage lending, lending £2.32bn to around 9,500 homeowners under this commitment already in 2022 through the NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Coutts mortgage brands.  

18,000 installers in training 

Worcester Bosch will continue to invest in the research and launch of low and zero-carbon products, and progress with the training of 18,000 installers per year to support the delivery of the energy efficiency agenda. 

The Coalition announced it will also be publishing an outcomes report in the Spring of 2023 to report back on the outcomes of the nine retrofit pilots. 

Alison Rose, NatWest group chief executive said: “Supporting households up and down the country to act on energy efficiency is essential, not just in our transition to net zero, but also to help keep energy costs down for the long-term.  

“The Coalition is showing what can be done to deliver greener, warmer and more comfortable homes for British households in a people-centric manner. But we can’t shy away from the fact that delivering energy efficiency is hard work.  

Kickstart a decade of delivery 

“That is why, as well as carving out £10 billion to roll out green mortgages, we are supporting SMEs to play their part in the tremendous growth opportunity that energy efficiency represents and calling on Government and Industry to work together to kickstart a decade of delivery. I look forward to the spring outcomes report to see the positive impact that such interventions can have for families from Pontypool to Coulsdon.” 

Carl Arntzen, CEO of Worcester Bosch said: “As a Coalition, we are working together to drive change and guide the UK’s move to net zero. This latest report shares the lessons we are learning and shines a light on the amount of work and considerations required to decarbonise home heating and ensure the country reaches its net zero 2050 targets. 

“We hope that our recommendations are listened to and acted upon by Government and we of course remain committed and available to support the nation’s drive for climate action.” 

3,500 apprenticeships 

Andrew Middleton, MD of Net Zero Ventures of British Gas said: “Heat pumps are an essential part of the UK’s journey towards a decarbonised future. Our new offer is a testament to our commitment to helping more customers lower their carbon emissions at the home. Installing a heat pump is one of the single best things households can do today to lower their carbon footprint.  

“While specifications will differ to suit a variety of homes, it’s important we act now to start customers on this journey. That’s why we’ve committed to training 3,500 apprentices over the next decade, many of whom will gain specialist green skills to support the demand that’s coming.”