A new report, released by renewable energy expert Regen SW, reveals that 16,000 people are employed by south west construction businesses in making our homes more energy efficient – but, with the right backing, this could be much higher.
The report – ‘The South West Retrofit Market Study’ – warns that, if we don’t act to support the sector now, the region could miss the opportunity to increase the 16,000 jobs and £1.1 billion in economic benefits that the sector already supports.
“The south west has some of the oldest, most energy-inefficient houses in Europe, which means our homes are colder, have more expensive bills, and higher C02 emissions,” said Lee Richards of Regen SW.
“This presents an excellent opportunity for the 6,500 businesses in the south west that supply and fit measures such as low-energy lighting and solid-wall insulation.
“However, Government policy is putting jobs in these businesses at risk. Both The Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which promised so much, have been beset with budget cuts and bureaucracy.
“Over the past year many businesses in the West Country took on extra staff to cope with the promised demand for energy efficiency measures, but policy failures mean that these jobs are now at risk.”
To ensure that businesses in the south west are able to take advantage of the huge energy efficiency opportunity, Regen SW’s study calls for:
- The Government improves support and incentives for retrofit, to improve householder uptake of Green Deal
- The Government fills in the gaps in market support which fall between ECO and Green Deal support
- Business supported is target at 1,200 retrofit specialist companies that underpin the market
- Householders are supported with impartial advice and simple tools to help to decide which measures are appropriate
- Households in off-gas, rural and privately-rented accommodation are targeted for support
Lee added: “Our research shows that, with 600,000 homes in the south west requiring some form of energy efficiency refurbishment, 2,200 homes per week will need to be treated per week for the next five years.
“That’s a significant undertaking and an opportunity to not only secure existing jobs but also increase the size of the market in the south west.”
To download a summary of the ‘The South West Retrofit Market Study’, click here.