Politics is an important factor throughout British life.  Politicians are always assumed to be doing the best they can for the individual that may have to vote again at the next ballot.   They can always be the heroes or villains.   In this case, because everyone is watching the horrors of climate change on the TV, to find a system of Net Zero for housing will ultimately create heroes.

An attempt to achieve Net Zero by 2050 currently seems to be at an enormous cost because such a large proportion of our housing was built in Victoriana,  before the war and even up to the 1980s coal was cheap and easily used.  Even after gas became the standard fuel for heating and up to the early 21st century insulation was poor in domestic housing.  No wonder that the UK has the worst domestic housing record in Europe for CO2 emissions just now.   The cost to put this right would be in hundreds of billions of pounds (GBR) falling on the Government’s shoulders.  The Government strategy is aimed at doubling renewable energy and nuclear power.  Also a large increase in National Grid capacity needed to carry this.  Going with this a dramatic increase in the use of ASHPs or green hydrogen heating may be necessary to allow us to see decrease domestic CO2 releases towards net zero by 2050. 

The proposal in this website explains how it becomes completely worthwhile for a householder to insulate their home and making sure that they would be repaid when they resell the property by savings in utility bills.  The repayment of borrowed mortgage money to carry it out can be spread out over 20 years and those debts, gradually paid off by the house owner or buyer over the period.  This being largely funded by lower energy bills (like the Green Deal).  In this way money paid by the householder, instead of going to a utility company just 40% continues that way but about 60% goes to pay off the loan (hence the loan is at no added cost to the house owner).  Inflation will make loans also seem lower after a shorter period (to follow this see Examples 1 and 2).  Another important factor is that if the house is resold the remaining money owed on the loan is fully repaid because the value of the property rises dramatically when insulation is carried out.  This is due to the fact that the further buyer does not have to do any of the insulation required under the ‘actions’ on page Government Regulations.  The cheaper houses tend to be sold more frequently and they are the greatest emitters of CO2. 

Currently housing represents the fourth largest emitters of climate change gasses in the UK.  Politicians must realise that the Government that gets started with this proposal will be the heroes. 

This proposal uses any increase in house prices due to inflation, the relatively low interest rates through mortgages (due to minimal risk), and currently high energy costs will be able to allow the political action to cause full insulation and energy efficiency when a house changes hands (see Answers).

You can see in the infra red photo just how even fairly modern houses if they have poor roof insulation may lose a lot of energy

The website shows a system for insulation and energy efficiency at a minimal cost to the country and little ongoing noticeable cost to the householder.  The householder’s loan debt would be paid off quicker when energy prices were high but the debt would inflate away slower when interest rates dropped.

Suggestions for Politician action

The costs for and savings from insulation would appear slowly as people bought and sold houses.  Meantime people see the enormous value of their house (even if uninsulated) currently as being their personal savings. To introduce regulations for full insulation of houses changing hands within 4 yrs the politicians may require initial sabre rattling, reports from departments, a series of business plans for different models but only last, when everyone realises that the huge rise of the value of their house was mostly because of the increased price of land and ‘Valuer’ not taking insulation into account….then it would be easier to introduce a sudden regulation (see the Answers page), and a system to help people that were less well off as a result.  The process should be fully done to the housing stock by 2045. 

To prevent worry to individuals a partial guarantee of a mortgage by the Treasury on the insulation costs.  This would not be needed for first time buyers or for those selling an uninsulated house and buying another

It must not be forgotten that the Treasury will see various incomes as a result of major housing insulation taking place.  The incoming VAT on all items needed to carried it out.  Much of this can be used by the Government to sponsor various aspects; e.g. the use of guarantees on insulation loans for instance (see Answers).

Figure 3.  A simple layout of how political proposals can come about as useful and helpful action.  Politicians themselves will be aware of the complexity of what goes on in Parliament and how it takes place with help from vested interests, experts, and voters.
Figure 3

A single element of anxiety to some voters created by this proposal is a person buying a house up to 3-4 years before the political action and selling it shortly after the action.  If the house was not insulated when buying then they had paid far too much as the price when they sold would be lower (this would be seen because Valuers currently do not take insulation into account).   One answer is that they could insulate while they were living in the house, and put in the energy efficiency  items.   As soon as that was done the market value jumps back up to the price they originally paid (plus inflation), but the cost for the work would be carried over to the next house, which should this time be already energy efficient (and so the costs paid on the loan being paid off by lower energy bills).  As a result, and progressing over time the house buyer  loses little money.   Another answer is Government partial funding  (taking inflation into account)  the insulation costs for houses bought up to 4 years previously.  This  would be a cost (possibly around £300m pa) to the Treasury falling annually over the following 1-5 yrs but then stopping.  Political action to avoid vote losing may be to offer a lower cost to putting in the insulation to this group.

There have been many potential taxation systems put forward to increase the rate of insulation.  Perhaps less council tax paid if the house is done fully to the level the assessor has told the buyer they should get.   Perhaps a more efficient system to let potential buyers realise that retrofitting is done commercially, will be in the buyer’s interest, and experts looked on it as a value if they sold again.    Please contact Housing Net Zero for further possibilities.

Academic and Technical Assessment

Report on the various advantages and disadvantages of taxation changes or sponsorship for different groups of people buying and insulating. Assessment of the expected voting changes due to the process and how this could be modified by tax or regulations.   

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