A new coalition of 20 organisations from the construction, housing and environment sectors is urging that energy efficiency in UK homes must become a "national infrastructure priority", with government committing to a target of retrofitting one million homes a year by 2020.

In an open letter to Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury, the group of organisations warn that the UK's homes are among the coldest in Europe, resulting in high energy bills, fuel poverty and winter deaths.

They argue that the goverment should direct £3-4 billion a year in capital investment to fund a significant programme of energy efficiency to transform the UK's aging housing stock. This investment would address market failures and encourage additional private investment.

The new coalition wrote: "Domestic energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways to achieve the government’s three strategic priorities for energy infrastructure: controlling energy bills, tackling climate change and unlocking investment to support economic growth.

“No other investment can achieve so much for individual householders and for UK Plc.”

The letter comes as the group of organisations published a short report, entitled 'A housing stock fit for the future', setting out the economic benefits for improving home energy efficiency.

The benefits include: generating growth by doubling the number of jobs in the energy efficiency sector to 260,000; improving energy security and reducing the UK's reliance on imported gas; reducing carbon emmissions to meet targets; reducing energy bills by £300 a year and lifting 9/10 homes out of fuel poverty; and improving health and wellbeing, diminishing excess winter deaths and lowering NHS costs.

Speaking on behalf of the coalition, Paul King, chief executive of the UK Green Building Council, said: “There’s a gaping hole at the heart of the government’s plan for infrastructure.