Shadow housing minister wants home owners to be able to ask for help on domestic energy certificates to improve energy ratings

Shadow housing minister Grant Shapps announced that an incoming Conservative government would help turn domestic energy certificates (DECs) into a trigger for improving the energy efficiency of homes rather than just measuring it.

Speaking at Building's Making Sustainability Happen conference He said that consumers who had their homes audited would be able to tick a box saying they were happy being contacted by companies who could help them get a better rating.

“The owner should be able to opt in rather than forced to go on some compulsory database, Shapps said. “It wouldn’t be a in big brother way but when someone wants to make the difference.”

He added that an incoming Tory government would also define “zero carbon” within weeks if there was any remaining confusion about what the term meant when the party took power. However, Shapps said offering a definition of zero carbon before the election would further confuse an already confused housebuilding industry.

The shadow minster also refused to say he would introduce consequential improvements – which involves making homeowners increase the energy efficiency of their homes when they added to their floor areas - which has been dropped from two previous consultations on Part L of the building regulations.

Shapps said that refurbishment should be about “taking people with” them.

“The great thing about retrofitting is it really gives benefits to the person who is doing it,” he said. “This ought not to be an issue of people feeling put upon. The key part of this is how we make that cost-neutral upfront.”