New figures show increase in most energy-efficient homes in England

A white house with its doors and window frames painted green.

Most new homes delivered in England and Wales in the last three months of 2020 are in the two highest energy efficiency bands, new government figures have shown.

Between October and December last year 84% of new homes across England were given an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of A or B, up from 79% in the previous quarter. 87% of new homes in Wales were given an A or B rating during this period, a 1% decrease on the previous quarter.

Of the new dwellings that fell into the two highest bands, the vast majority fell into band B with 82% of new dwellings in England and 83% in Wales being given a B rating.

Each quarter the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government publishes its statistics on EPCs, which are mandatory for all new domestic buildings as well as existing homes that are being sold or let.

EPCs provide new homeowners with information on how energy-efficient their home is, with homes being rated from A (best) to G (worst) based on their estimated energy costs.

While the latest figures show progress on making new homes energy-efficient, they also demonstrate the scale of the challenge in improving the energy efficiency of existing dwellings.

In England between October and December 2020, 80% of existing dwellings were given a C or D rating. Just 3% of existing dwellings were given a B rating, while less than 0.1% obtained the highest A rating.

In Wales, from October to December 2020, 77% of existing dwellings were given a C or D rating, while only 2% of existing dwellings received an A or B rating.

The UK government has set itself the target of upgrading all social homes in England to an EPC C rating by 2030. The Welsh government is expected to introduce a target for all social homes to have an EPC A rating.

While the figures showed a 10% increase in domestic EPCs being lodged in England and Wales in the last quarter of 2020 compared to the same quarter in 2019, there was a 4% decrease in the number of EPCs lodged for new dwellings. In contrast, there was a 14% increase in the number of existing EPCs lodged for that quarter.

The government has attributed these year-on-year changes to the easing of national COVID-19 lockdown measures and its stamp duty holiday encouraging people to move house.

The housing secretary Robert Jenrick MP said: “This government has gone to great lengths to support homebuilding over the past year by keeping the industry open and operating safely during the pandemic – alongside stimulating the market through the stamp duty holiday and a huge £12 billion investment in affordable homes. These latest statistics show the sector remains healthy.

“Building back greener and delivering quality energy efficient homes is a priority for this government and these figures highlight our commitment to helping keep household bills low for people, while looking towards a more sustainable future.”

Image credit: Pixabay

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