Big boost for Building's 99% campaign as Yvette Cooper calls for financial incentives in Energy Performance Certificates

Housing minister Yvette Cooper has backed Building’s 99% campaign by calling for financial incentives for energy saving measures in the home.

Cooper announced yesterday that the upcoming Energy Performance Certificates should be linked to incentives such as green mortgages or schemes run by energy companies which would give homebuyers cash up front to make energy saving changes to their homes.

Cooper said she would be meeting with mortgage lenders and energy companies in the near future.

Environmental pressure group the WWF welcomed the announcement, claiming that incentives would drive consumer demand for energy efficient homes.

Paul King, director of campaigns, said: “EPCs will provide financial services providers with a way of differentiating their products, such as mortgages or insurance, for more energy efficient homes for the first time.”

But the announcment has been slammed by the energy rating industry as being too weak. Austin Baggett, head of the National Home Energy Rating scheme for energy assessors, said he wanted even stronger financial incentives to back the EPC introduction next summer.

Baggett called on the Treasury to introduce stronger monetary incentives to speed up the take up of improvement measures.

He said: “For starters, giving new home owners a rebate on the stamp duty they have paid if they take up the low cost measures recommended on the EPC would encourage action. Climate change requires tough decisions and we need the Treasury to stop dragging their feet and respond to the challenge.”

He added: “Energy labels alone can’t achieve market transformation. We need to make it simpler and cheaper for households to take action and cut their carbon emissions.”

Energy ratings for homes, in the form of EPCs, are the only remaining compulsory element of the slimmed down Home Information Packs. (check) They will come into force on 1 June 2007. The certificates will outline the costs of heating, hot water and lighting in homes and give practical advice on how to cut these cost and reduce emissions.