The age of your home is the single biggest factor in how much heat it leaks or energy it consumes, according to new research.
Analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that age was more important to energy efficiency even than fuel or property type, because building techniques and regulations have changed over time and due to wear and tear.
Homes built in 2012 or later in England and Wales are much more likely to have one of the top three energy efficiency ratings than older homes.
Almost all homes built since 2012 in England and Wales have a high energy efficiency rating, compared with just 12% of assessed homes built before 1900 in England, and 8% built before 1900 in Wales.
Fewer than half of homes have a C rating or higher
An Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) rates a building from A to G (A being most efficient), which reflects how much it might cost to heat and power, and its likely greenhouse gas emissions.
Overall, fewer than half of assessed homes in both England (42%) and Wales (37%) have a rating of C or higher.
But less than a fifth of people in Great Britain (19%) are considering improving their home’s energy efficiency, according to the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey conducted last year, citing cost, not owning their own home and changes being expensive as reasons.
“The current gas crisis is putting the energy we waste into perspective for many homeowners,” said Jess Ralston, analyst at green think tank ECIU.
“Expensive fuel is simply leaking out of walls and roofs – and may mean that the public is keener than ever to make energy-saving upgrades to homes this year,” she added.
UK has some of the most inefficient housing in Europe
Heating the UK’s 30 million buildings contributes to almost a quarter of all UK emissions. Cutting these carbon emissions is crucial to the UK’s attempt to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
But the UK currently has some of the most inefficient housing in Europe, said Ms Ralston. “And today [the UK] is falling further behind as other countries like France forge ahead with widespread retrofit plans.”
While the government currently provides support for low income and fuel poor households, the largest single market – those that own and occupy their homes – is not currently incentivised to upgrade.
“A plan that enables them to do this cheaply and easily would boost public confidence to invest while delivering on government aims to get our homes back on track,” said Ms Ralston.
Sky News has contact the government for a comment.
In the government’s heat and buildings strategy, virtually all heat in buildings will need to be decarbonised. This means improving the efficiency and flexibility of buildings, and developing the UK supply chains and technology options needed to save carbon throughout the decade, in order to get to net zero.
Watch the Daily Climate Show at 8.30pm Monday to Friday on Sky News, the Sky News website and app, on YouTube and Twitter.
The show investigates how global warming is changing our landscape and highlights solutions to the crisis.