A new report by the Association for the Conservation of Energy has shone a spotlight on the energy performance of homes in north Cornwall.
The report – which has been welcomed by local MP Scott Mann and by energy advice charity Community Energy Plus – shows how tens of thousands of local residents have benefited in recent years from proper insulation and efficient boilers, making their homes more affordable to heat and safer to live in.
But the report also highlights that north Cornwall residents are more than three times as likely to live in a very inefficient home as people elsewhere in the country.
It goes on to identify the huge untapped potential for delivering to the remaining north Cornwall residents the benefits their neighbours have already seen.
Households in north Cornwall have to spend a staggering £83 million on their fuel bills each year. Over recent years national schemes – working hand in hand with dedicated local businesses and charities – have helped offset this by insulating 7,000 lofts and 5,000 cavity walls, while 6,000 efficient boilers have been installed.
But much more remains to be done, the report says. Changes to national efficiency schemes have meant that funding to help poorer households is harder to get hold of. Meanwhile, eight out of every ten homes in north Cornwall still need to be improved to bring them up to the level of a home built today.
Dr Tim Jones, chief executive of Community Energy Plus, said: “This report is really helpful for an area like north Cornwall, where the rural and dispersed nature of housing presents us with particular challenges.
“Over the past 17 years we have helped thousands of households with energy advice and practical support. But the collapse in support mechanisms for home energy efficiency improvements has meant that we have been left struggling to provide the help householders need.
“I welcome this report, which highlights the huge benefits to local residents of home upgrades and shows how more of the same could cut bills and improve residents’ health and well-being.”
North Cornwall MP, Scott Mann, added: “I commend local installers and scheme managers who’ve done so much over recent years to help my constituents live in warmer, healthier homes. This report allows me to know what more needs to be done and how I can play my part in making sure it happens.”