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Green Deal incentives could drive 2m retrofits a year

Almost two million retrofits could be delivered annually if three key incentives were adopted, according to a new green building report.

The UK Green Building Council’s report said the moves would add hundreds of millions of pounds could be added to the UK economy, alongside millions of additional retrofits.

These incentives were variable stamp duty, variable council tax and an energy efficiency feed-in tariff, according to a task group comprising representatives from companies including Carillion, Keepmoat, Saint-Gobain, Sweett, Willmott Dixon and WSP.

A variable stamp duty scheme, with buyers receiving discounts for high-performing properties, was estimated to be able to deliver up to 270,000 extra retrofits each year, along with up to £807m in GDP.

Making council tax rates variable according to energy efficiency, meanwhile, was found to have the potential to create demand for up to 1.5m extra retrofits annually, alongside carbon savings of up to 2.2m tonnes of CO2 and creating £4.4bn in GDP.

Additionally, an energy efficiency feed-in tariff could create demand for 169,000 retrofits each year and boost the economy by £506m annually, the report found.

All the proposals were estimated to have minimal costs for government.

The report – Retrofit Incentives: Boosting the take-up of energy efficiency measures in domestic properties – follows the publication of last month’s statistics which revealed early take-up of the coalitions flagship efficiency policy the Green Deal has been lower than anticipated – with just four customers signing Green Deals.

UK-GBC chief executive Paul King said: “This sends a powerful message to government that there are viable policy options available to boost demand for the Green Deal and help tackle the UK’s energy efficiency crisis.

“The research shows not only the impact additional incentives would have on carbon savings, but how they could breathe new life into the construction sector and boost economic growth.

“There are some tough political choices to be made, not least in using the tax regime to nudge householders into action, but the opportunities for are so great that this is a nettle that needs to be grasped.”

Sweett Group associate director of sustainability Phil Birch said: “The results indicate that well-designed incentives could effectively stimulate extensive retrofit take-up without creating unreasonable complexity or cost for government.

“Further work would be needed to translate these proposals into policy, however this analysis provides a robust and encouraging starting point.”

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