Why did Lord Heseltine’s review ignore energy efficiency?

By Mark Harris.

Having churned through all 233 pages of Lord Heseltine’s report ‘No stone unturned in pursuit of growth’ I’m shocked that energy efficiency and building renovation fail to get a single mention!

In all other respects we should welcome this report because it does make much needed positive recommendations about how we get the economy moving – hopefully the Coalition will take note.  However, in ignoring energy efficiency and the benefits of deep renovation it misses one of the greatest opportunities to get this country’s economy growing. The following key facts are widely accepted (http://www.renovate-europe.eu/)-

  • Every £1 spent by Government on renovations can return up to £5 for public finances.
  • Deep renovation of the EU building stock could create up to 2 million jobs –  tens of thousands in Britain
  • Improving energy efficiency through deep renovations has the potential to save the equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil across the EU.
  • Energy efficiency reduces energy bills

Research by Renovate Europe published only last month has shown that the benefits of energy efficiency renovation across Europe go beyond simple energy saving.  The report concludes that if we invest in deep energy efficiency renovation of buildings  we will get –

  • Annual energy savings by 2020 could amount to €94Bn – rising to €192Bn by 2030
  • Health benefits
    • Through reduced air pollution amounting up to €8Bn per annum by 2020  rising to €15Bn by 2030
    • Through improved indoor air quality amounting up to €88Bn
  • Total GDP increase of €291Bn up to  2017
  • Public finance revenues improve by €128Bn up to 2017 due to increased economic activity.

These are huge numbers that cannot be ignored!

I don’t blame Lord Heseltine for ignoring the building energy efficiency renovation message on what was clearly a widely consulted upon report.  I think it’s a sad indictment on our industry that we’ve failed to get the message over – not just to Lord Heseltine but to Government in general.

By Mark Harris, Building Technology Director at Kingspan Insulated Panels.

Mark is an expert in sustainable buildings and energy efficiency in the built environment so to contact him on any topics in this field, email mark.harris@kingspan.com

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