UK homeowners are taking action after a string of harsh winters – with 95,000 in the South West fitting extra insulation to their property in the last year, new research from the Energy Saving Trust has found.
The latest statistics show an incredible 55 per cent of South West homes still have under-insulated lofts and 707,000 have un-insulated cavity walls – with millions of UK households still eligible for free or discounted help to solve their heat-loss problems
Through the Carbon Emission Reduction Target (CERT) scheme, around four million homes in the UK have taken up grants and offers to pay for cavity wall or loft insulation since April 2008.
Thousands more could yet take advantage before the CERT scheme ends on December 31. It will be superseded by Green Deal, a financing mechanism which lets householders pay for energy-efficiency improvements using savings they will make on their energy bills.
Around a third of all the heat lost in an uninsulated home goes through the walls, with another quarter lost through the roof. Lofts can be insulated with simple mineral wool, while walls can have existing cavities filled, or have solid insulation fitted to them.
The Energy Saving Trust survey also found more than a fifth (21 per cent) of people in the UK are "very interested" in fitting insulation to their home. Under the Green Deal all installers must be certified, so the Energy Saving Trust is encouraging those in the South West to step up and get registered to take advantage of the increased interest in insulation.
An average household could save £175 a year by fitting 270mm of new insulation to their uninsulated loft – as well as preventing 720kg of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Cavity wall insulation can save up to £135 and 550kg of carbon dioxide a year.
Stephen Passmore, a housing expert at the Energy Saving Trust, said: "It's clear that more and more people are taking insulation seriously – after all, it can literally stop your money going up in smoke.
"We're encouraged that so many homeowners in the South West have fitted insulation in the last 12 months, and further heartened that 21 per cent are very interested in following their example.
"Green Deal lets householders pay back the cost of energy-saving improvements over time through their electricity bill.
"Anyone performing Green Deal work must be certified – and the Energy Saving Trust is one organisation making sure that only trusted tradesmen can operate under the scheme.
"Our figures show there is still a huge opportunity for installers in the South West and across the UK to continue insulating homes through the Green Deal.
"With certification, and the right information showing which homes could benefit from insulation, installers can maximise the opportunities this initiative brings to themselves and to householders."
Green Deal enables private firms to offer consumers energy efficiency improvements to their homes, community spaces and businesses with no upfront payments.
"Costs are recouped – as savings accrue – through a charge in instalments on their energy bills, with money passed on direct to Green Deal providers by energy companies.
Homeowners wanting more information on insulating their home can visit http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Insulation or call the Energy Saving Trust's helpline on 0300 123 1234.
Installers interested in working with the Energy Saving Trust should visit the website at http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Organisations/Business-services/Green-Deal-certification or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.