Cold Homes Week, taking place from 2 to 7 February, aims to raise awareness about the issues surrounding fuel poverty and gain the support of politicians to improve the energy efficiency of UK homes.
The campaign is run by the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR), which brings together more than 200 businesses, charities and organisations in support of ending fuel poverty.
According to EBR, one of the main problems is that UK homes are among the least energy efficient in Europe, resulting in higher energy bills.
As such, NAPIT is advising installers to offer a variety of solutions for homeowners, including energy efficiency measures, this winter.
According to research from Co-operative Energy, nearly half of UK adults are more concerned over their rising energy bills than last year. A symptom of the concern is that 41% of those surveyed indicated that they would have to stick to a tight budget in the winter months in order to have enough money for energy bills.
“The current climate seems to suggest that householders are looking into any measures that are proven to combat rising energy bills and save themselves money in the long run,” said managing director of NAPIT Certification, David Cowburn. “Energy efficiency measures such as insulation make sense with this in mind and installers could place themselves in the ideal position by offering these solutions.”
Older, more rural properties in the UK, many of which rely on oil-based heating, often have low Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of F and G. Such properties are the prime target for these energy efficiency measures, which reduce both the carbon footprint and energy costs of a household.
To this end, the Oil-Fired Technical Association (OFTEC) will be writing to the major political parties and rural MPs this week to highlight the issue and urge for more practical measures to form part of their election manifestos.
OFTEC director general Jeremy Hawksley said: “Last winter there were 18,200 excess winter deaths, the majority of which were elderly people dying from the cold, which in this day and age is totally unacceptable.”
Oil prices have plummeted in recent months to a four-year low, but fuel poverty is still more likely in oil-heated households due to poor insulation levels and the high number of old, inefficient boilers still in use, Mr Hawksley explained.
“EBR’s campaign, which calls on the government to launch a much more ambitious programme to make all UK homes super energy efficient, directly aligns with OFTEC’s own work,” he said. “As part of this we are urging all the political parties to add a generous boiler scrappage scheme covering all condensing types to their manifestos ahead of the general election, and to provide particular support to better insulate rural homes, which tend to be least energy efficient.
“Simply upgrading to a modern condensing boiler could see average fuel bills cut by as much as 50% compared to this time last year, with better insulation measures resulting in even greater savings. Fuel poverty is an urgent issue which needs to be tackled now.”
Image caption: The OFTEC team joins the campaign to fight fuel poverty. In winter 2012/13 there were 18,200 excess winter death in the UK, the majority of which were caused by living in cold conditions.