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Housing: Energy

Volume 464: debated on Monday 8 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made towards achieving the target laid down in section 217 of the Housing Act 2004 to ensure that by 2010 the energy efficiency of residential accommodation in England should increase by 20 per cent. compared with 2000; what progress was made in each year since the Act came into force; and if he will make a statement. (154098)

The energy efficiency of the housing stock in England cannot be monitored directly but is modelled, using data from periodic surveys of the housing stock coupled with data on the installation of energy saving measures. Based on the delivery of measures by existing energy efficiency programmes, we expect to be on track towards the 20 per cent. target. DEFRA is currently analysing the effects of energy efficiency policies but cannot yet quantify the improvement precisely.

However, there is one positive indication that efficiency has already started to improve substantially. Against a long-term trend of rising gas consumption, household gas usage fell by over 8 per cent. over the period 2004-06. Of this, up to half could be attributed to higher prices; weather changes had little effect. Improved energy efficiency for heating, particularly higher levels of insulation (installed via the energy Efficiency Commitment) and more efficient boilers (required by Building Regulations), is likely to have contributed to the remaining reduction of gas, the principal heating fuel. However, more detailed analysis is required to quantify this effect, and to express it in terms of improved energy efficiency.