We need to address the root causes of the problem: our over-dependence on energy for our badly insulated homes.
Chris Thompson, a director at the Yorkshire-based property developer Citu, says that the energy price debate has become too fixated on the price of our energy bills at the expense of addressing the root of the problem: why we need so much energy in the first place.
Thompson’s comments come at the start of ‘Cold Homes Week’, a campaign which is calling for the Government to invest more of the money it raises from carbon taxes – estimated to be £63bn over the next 15 years – into better insulated homes across the UK.
‘Cold Homes Week’ is a public initiative organised by The Energy Bill Revolution – an alliance of charities, unions, consumer groups, businesses, health and social care groups, cross-party politicians and public figures.
Thompson said: “We hope that Cold Homes Week will encourage a more constructive debate about how we can positively address some of the issues around fuel poverty.
“The danger with a debate that is as impassioned as the one around energy prices is that we become fixated on what is seemingly causing us the most pain – the amount of money we’re spending on heating our homes.
“It’s time to move the discussion on to one about how we can improve the energy efficiency of our homes, and how we can increase our consumption of renewable and more affordable energy.”
Founded in 2004, Citu specialises in mixed use commercial and residential property developments. The award winning developer is currently constructing the UK’s biggest development of ‘self-heating’ homes in Sheffield: 107 homes will be built to rigorous Passivhaus standards, designed to drastically reduce household fuel and heating costs by up to 90%.
Citu is also the company behind the landmark Greenhouse development in Leeds – a pioneering eco conversion of a 1930s former inner city hostel where residents typically enjoy up to a 60% reduction in their energy bills thanks to super-efficient insulation. A zero-profit Greenhouse community energy company generates renewable energy from wind turbines, solar panels and ground source heating pumps.
Thompson added. “This isn’t just about Government policy. Unless we – as an industry and as individuals – start to challenge conventional building methods and the expectations we have of our homes to be ‘fit for purpose’ we will be stuck with the same debate about rising energy prices for years to come.
“A sole focus on making energy cheaper is not a sustainable or an achievable solution; making our homes more efficient and increasing our consumption of energy from renewable sources is.”