FMB says legislation to improve energy efficiency of existing houses could be worth ‘billions a year’

Government policies to make existing homes more energy efficient could provide a £6.5bn lifeline to the construction industry, according to a report by the Federation of Master Builders.

The report, published on Wednesday, says a programme to improve the energy efficiency of 500,000 homes a year could be worth £3.5-6.5bn.

Richard Diment, director general of the FMB, said: “What is encouraging is that while the sector is suffering a downturn, there is a potential market of billions of pounds every year.”

The figures, which emerged from case studies, are based on upgrades such as the installation of solid wall insulation and solar panels.

The report was written by Gavin Killip, senior researcher at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. He said: “It’s a huge business opportunity but infrastructure is missing. The industry will have to get its skills and supply chains in order, but it needs a starting signal from the government.”

While the sector is suffering a downturn, there is a potential market of billions.

Richard Diment, director, FMB

His recommendations for government action include a review of energy performance certificates and changes to the Building Regulations.

Killip also calls for tax rebates to be offered to energy-efficient homes and the VAT rate charged on refurbishment to be cut from 17.5% to 5%.

The FMB has been campaigning for this for some time.

He said the low-carbon agenda should be integrated into general refurbishment activities, for example by installing solar panels when repairing roofs.