Insulating Britain

Think tank: Social Market Foundation

Author(s): Niamh O Regan

November 24, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Social Market Foundation explores what motivates landlords and owner occupiers to insulate their homes.

Decarbonising home heat, which accounts for 14% of the UK’s carbon emissions, is essential if the UK is to achieve its target to reach net zero emissions by 2050. But current policies are falling short.

This Social Market Foundation report explores what motivates landlords and owner occupiers to insulate their homes, and how to overcome the obstacles that prevent them from doing so. Landlords’ main motivation for installing insulation is the need to comply with government regulations, as they will take the necessary steps to rent out their homes. But uncertainty around the future of minimum energy efficiency standards for rental homes dissuades some landlords from insulating.

Homeowners, meanwhile, are persuaded of the home comfort and health benefits of insulation, but are put off by the high upfront costs. Both groups are also wary of being overcharged for poor work by ‘cowboy’ installers and are unsure of where to find unbiased information about their insulation needs.

To overcome these obstacles, the report recommends raising the minimum energy efficiency standard for rental homes to EPC C, a move 79% of landlords support; accrediting installers and setting up local authority-run ‘one stop shops’ to provide reliable information to improve trust in the insulation industry; and investigating providing long-term financing options, such as Property Linked Finance, to help homeowners with the upfront costs.