The latest results from the English Housing Survey provides encouraging news on energy efficiency, but gives strong pointers to where further improvements should be targeted.
The proportion of dwellings in the highest EER bands of A to C, increased from 12 per cent in 2009 to 40 per cent in 2019, 47 per cent were in band D (44 per cent in 2009), 10 per cent in band E (32 per cent in 2009) and 3 per cent in bands F or G (12 per cent in 2009).
Social rented homes remain the most energy efficient, though there have been marked improvements across all tenures in the last decade.
In 2019, social rented homes were generally the most energy efficient (61 per cent in bands A to C, up from 23 per cent in 2009). Meanwhile, 38 per cent of homes in the private rented sector and 36 per cent of owner occupied homes were in bands A to C in 2019 (up from 13 per cent and 8 per cent respectively in 2009).
Over two thirds of homes with lower energy efficiency, of D or below, could be brought up to band C for a cost of less than £10,000.
It would cost less than £10,000 to improve over two thirds of dwellings (69 per cent) to a band C, and about £15,000 or more to improve 11 per cent of dwellings.
The average cost to raise dwellings with an EER band D to G into an EER band C was estimated to be £8,110. The average cost was highest for owner occupied homes (£8,579), followed by the private rented sector (£7,646). The average costs for local authority and housing association dwellings were similar at £6,067 and £5,910, respectively.
Average fuel savings for dwellings that could be improved to a band C were almost £300 a year.
For those dwellings that were able to be improved to an EER band C, the average fuel cost savings were £298 per year. Owner occupied dwellings had the highest average fuel cost saving at £324, followed by private rented dwellings, at £279. The average fuel cost savings for local authority and housing association dwellings were lower, at £162 and £167 respectively.
Owner-occupiers were more likely to have a boiler system with radiators and gas central heating than renters. Half of dwellings with heat pumps were also owner occupied.
Most (90 per cent) English homes have a boiler system with radiators as their main heating system. Such systems were more prevalent in owner occupied dwellings (94 per cent) than local authority (89 per cent), private rented (83 per cent) and housing association (83 per cent) dwellings.
Dwellings in the private rented sector were more likely to have room heaters as their main heating system compared with all other tenures whereas social rented dwellings were more likely to have communal heating than other tenures.
Of the 103,000 dwellings that had a heat pump in 2019, half were owner occupied (50 per cent), around a quarter were owned by housing associations (23 per cent), and 16 per cent were owned by local authorities. The remaining 11 per cent were in the private rented sector.
Over three quarters of households had not changed their electricity or gas supplier or tariff in the last 12 months. Owner-occupiers were more likely to report switching suppliers or tariffs than renters.
In 2019, 23 per cent households mentioned having changed suppliers, 19 per cent had changed both electricity and gas, 3 per cent had just switched their electricity supplier and fewer than 1 per cent changed their gas supplier only.
Owner-occupiers were more likely to have changed both their electricity and gas suppliers (21 per cent) compared with private renters (15 per cent), housing association renters (14 per cent) and local authority renters (13 per cent).
Owner-occupiers were also more likely to have changed both electricity and gas tariffs (15 per cent) compared with private renters (7 per cent), housing association renters (6 per cent) and local authority renters (5 per cent).
Vulnerable households were more likely to have problems with serious damp.
In 2019, around 2 per cent or 455,000 dwellings had a problem with damp while overcrowded households were more likely to experience problems with damp (6 per cent) compared with households living at the bedroom standard (3 per cent) or under occupying (1 per cent) their home.
Serious damp issues were more prevalent where the head of the household was unemployed (7 per cent) compared with households where the head was inactive (3 per cent), in part-time work (3 per cent), full-time work (2 per cent) and full-time education (1 per cent).
Lone parents with independent children (4 per cent) and lone parents with dependent children (3 per cent) were more likely to have serious damp issues in their home than couples with no children (1 per cent). Couples with no children were also less likely to have issues with damp (1 per cent) than couples with dependent children (3 per cent).
By Patrick Mooney, Editor