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Homes for Heroes

Our report on solving the energy efficiency crisis in England’s interwar suburbs.
  • today 18 February 2022
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Homes for Heroes: solving the energy efficiency crisis in England’s interwar suburbs urges the government to focus a new National Retrofit Strategy on updating 3.3m homes in England that were built between 1919 and 1939.

In 2021, 17% of households in interwar suburbs – from Kingstanding to Becontree – were in fuel poverty, proportionally higher than the overall national rate of 13%. Largely due to their poor insulation, solid wall construction, and high gas reliance, many interwar homes leave residents vulnerable to soaring energy prices.

Only 10% of interwar homes achieve an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) above Band C. If current Band D rated homes were retrofitted to achieve Band C performance, households would save £483 per year under the 2022 energy price cap.

The RIBA's report on solving the energy efficiency crisis in England’s interwar suburbs.

The carbon emissions released from England’s 3.3m interwar homes that have not been privately retrofitted currently account for 12% of the total 77m tones of C02 produced each year by the country’s housing. By improving their energy efficiency, the Government would not only accelerate progress towards statutory fuel poverty targets, but reduce England’s total carbon emissions by 4% – the same amount as completely decarbonising its waste and recycling sector.

An interactive map of England's interwar homes by location and density.

The report explains how a ‘fabric-first’ retrofit strategy could be achieved, from insulating walls to effectively deploying heat pumps, and outlines effective funding mechanisms – from tax levers, to grants, to allowances for landlords.

It also demonstrates how a National Retrofit Strategy could create thousands of green jobs. Through the installation of external insulation to all of England’s interwar homes alone, the Government could generate 5,000 full-time jobs every year for the next ten years.

Download the research below.

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