15/06/2024 8:48 AM

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Green upgrades could cut UK energy bills by £1,800 a year, finds study | Energy bills

Green upgrades could cut UK energy bills by £1,800 a year, finds study | Energy bills

Britons could cut their annual energy bills while slashing their carbon emissions and boosting the price of their home, research has shown.

A study by WWF and ScottishPower has found that installing green technologies could reduce energy bills by up to £1,878 a year and cut home carbon emissions by more than 95% over the lifetime of their installation.

Consumers are increasingly looking at options to reduce their surging energy bills in the long term through options such as installing solar panels, improving insulation or buying air-source heat pumps.

Bills are predicted to top £3,000 this winter as soaring wholesale gas prices, in part caused by the invasion of Ukraine, are passed on to consumers. Analysts have warned that prices could remain high for years.

The report claims that homeowners can boost the value of their property by an average of £10,000.

Analysis of 5m house sales in England and Wales found that installing an air-source heat pump could increase the value of a home by about £5,000-£8,000, solar panels could increase it by between £1,350 and £5,400 and an electric vehicle charging point could increase it by about £5,000.

Solar panels could boost householders’ finances by £586 a year through electricity savings and selling surplus back to the grid, the report showed.

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that solar panels typically cost between £2,900 and £6,700 to install, with heat pumps costing £7,000 to £13,000, and electric vehicle charging points about £1,000.

The WWF and ScottishPower report said that shifting to low-carbon technologies could also reduce a home’s lifetime carbon emissions from energy by up to 91 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent – more than 95% – which is akin to taking 42 cars off the road.

About 20% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from homes, with a further 15% from cars.

Isabella O’Dowd, head of climate at WWF-UK, said: “Accelerating the rollout of low-carbon technologies and energy efficiency is the best way to ensure the UK’s energy security, shield homeowners from the high price of fossil fuels and protect the planet.”

O’Dowd acknowledged that the upfront costs of installing low-carbon technology would prove a barrier for many households.

She said: “We would like to see financing mechanisms put in place by government to help people have more access to support in terms of reducing the upfront costs.” She also called for tax incentives for private landlords to install them, as well as stronger consumer protection and advice.

Households are eligible for a £5,000 grant to switch to low-carbon heating under the boiler upgrade scheme, which launched in April and runs until 2025.

The period it takes to save enough on energy bills to justify the upfront installation costs varies between technologies: between 10 and 15 years for solar panels, one and three years for electric vehicles and 20 years for heat pumps. The figures also depend on the location and condition of the house.

The report showed that a detached home in southern England with an old boiler and poor insulation currently faces annual energy bills of £2,816. By comparison, the same home with a heat pump, electric vehicle charger, solar panels and a smart battery could pay £383.

Rob McGaughey, head of smart heat at ScottishPower, said: “Home installations of heat pumps, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers can help both move the country away from its reliance on fossil fuels and address the climate crisis.”