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Energy-efficient Homes

Volume 470: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2008

9. What assistance is available for people buying houses with energy ratings F or G to improve their homes. (178393)

We announced the green homes service on 19 November last year. As my right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing said in an earlier answer, the green homes service will offer every householder who gets an energy performance certificate of an F or G rating for their home discounted or free help with energy-efficient measures. That help will come from a range of grants from both Government and industry under the energy efficiency commitment.

Ratings F and G are the poorest, and therefore the most in need of the free help the Minister has outlined, but I understand that one in five of all homes in the country are rated F or G. How many homes does my hon. Friend think this scheme will be able to help over the next few years?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that question. We anticipate that over the next three years 5 million more homes will benefit from discounted or free loft and cavity-wall insulation, and another 3 million homes from discounted or free low-energy light bulbs and energy-efficient appliances. The next phase of the energy efficiency commitment, running from 2008 to 2011, is expected to cut carbon emissions by 1.1 million tonnes and will save consumers about £10 billion in energy savings. That is good for home owners, and it is good for the environment.

Being very careful how I pronounce “F and G”, may I ask the Minister what energy efficiency schemes exist to replace single-glazed windows with double-glazed windows in constituencies such as his and my own, where that can make a huge difference both to the comfort and, more especially, the energy efficiency of each individual home?

A range of grants is available. The assistance available under the decent homes programme has meant that, since 2001, the number of non-decent homes in the social housing sector has been reduced. The replacement of single-glazed windows has been an important part of that effort. Warm Front, which has been a success in my constituency, is also a key tool in tackling fuel poverty. I am happy to write to the hon. Lady to provide further information.