The government has again been urged to consider the use of fiscal incentives to encourage homeowners to go green.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics) says fiscal incentives are needed if the government is ever to meet its energy efficiency targets for properties.
It accuses the government of taking a 'timid' approach to trying to help homeowners see the benefits of going green.
Rics says buildings account for more than a quarter of energy losses, but plans to improve housing stock by the introduction of compulsory energy performance certificates do not go far enough.
It says incentives should be given to persuade homeowners to make homes more environmentally-friendly as currently the costs outweigh the benefits.
Rics estimates roof insulation costs between £525 for a terraced house and £3,130 for a detached house.
The savings made by insulating a roof are between £140 to £170 a year and as a result, says Rics, it would be 18 years before homeowners might really see any benefit from carrying out the work.
The same can be said of wall insulation, with homeowners having to wait up to 17 years before their investment starts paying dividends, says Rics.
The Rics adds given average household occupancy is around 14 years homeowners are given little incentive to save.
Louis Armstrong, chief executive of Rics, says: “The government continues to fiddle while energy burns in our homes. It is time that it showed some backbone by introducing tough statutory measures to encourage industry and the consumer to make the necessary changes to reduce carbon emissions.
“The government must introduce fiscal incentives to encourage both the commercial and residential sectors to upgrade energy efficiency provision.”
Armstrong adds: “Providing grants for home insulation would be a sizeable stride forward in solving the problem of fuel poverty and improving the housing stock.
“The government should also move to tighten building regulations. The draft Code for Sustainable Homes should be made compulsory. As it stands the UK is lagging behind all other European countries.”
Rics is not the first to call on the government to consider fiscal incentives. The Environmental Audit Committee has previously called on the government to consider council tax or stamp duty rebates for properties built to a higher environmental standard or altered to make them more energy efficient.
And more recently housing minister Yvette Copper said energy performance certificates should be linked to fiscal incentives but said these should take the form of mortgage industry-led initiatives.
The government has so far been reluctant to provide any form of fiscal incentives itself to encourage homeowners to go green and it is likely to continue to resist pressure for it to do so.
If you have any comments you would like to add to this story or would like to speak to its author about a similar subject, telephone Matthew West on 020 7484 9893 or email [email protected].IFAonline
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