Research suggests government will miss its carbon cut target
Green deal faces ‘carbon black hole’
The government’s flagship retrofit scheme could fail to meet national carbon reduction targets, leaving a 26 per cent ‘carbon black hole’, a housing association has warned.
Research from Affinity Sutton shows social landlords undertaking the government’s green deal face a multi-million pound funding gap and will fall far short of the target to cut carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.
In a blow to the coalition government’s green ambitions, the findings of the association’s £1.2 million, two-year national retrofit project, Future Fit, suggests the carbon savings delivered by the green deal will be much lower than expected.
Trialling three packages of energy efficiency works - a low (£6,500), medium (£10,000) and high (£25,000) package - on 102 homes in different locations, Future Fit found that the low package, which is indicative of the amount the green deal will spend on each home, achieved only an 18 per cent cut in carbon emissions.
If the low package was used across Affinity Sutton’s 56,000 homes, there would have been a funding gap of £130 million. This means the scheme would be unviable without significant energy company obligation funding - subsidy taken from fuel bills.
For each home there was a funding gap of around £3,000 between the net cost of the works and the value of the energy savings.
In addition, the report found just 4.8 per cent of the 800 residents approached took up the offer of free energy improvement works initially.
The low response rate suggests residents are not interested in retrofit work. This could affect take-up of the green deal, which needs to retrofit 14 million homes by 2020.
David Orr, chief executive of the National Housing Federation, said: ‘Future Fit has indentified a significant funding gap which can only be fully resolved if our sector works closely with the government to deliver a strategic approach to improving energy efficiency and carbon performance of social housing.’
A spokesperson from the Department of Energy and Climate Change denied that there would be a carbon black hole from the green deal and said that it would provide ECO funding to bridge the gap.
However, it has not yet said how much funding will be made available or how much can be accessed by social landlords.
Key findings: Future Fit
Funding gap per home between net cost of works and value of energy savings
funding gap across Affinity Sutton’s housing stock
26 per cent
carbon black hole
4.8 per cent
initial response rate from 800 residents