United Kingdom


In 2013, the United Kingdom introduced the ”Green Deal”, a subsidised loan system designed to encourage and assist citizens to undertake energy renovations using a package of measures, rather than merely targeting individual measures.  The aim of this is to realise larger energy and carbon savings per property.  These loans are attached to the property itself, not the resident, and thus encourage higher investment.  The Green Deal policy is still at a very early stage of adoption and has not yet reached significant market uptake. The government has not set national targets for the renovation of the building stock but estimates have been made for the quantity of specific measures that will be undertaken by the Green Deal.   The United Kingdom has set obligations for energy companies, under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), that realise a significant amount of energy savings in the residential sector each year. This obligation began under a different name in the 1990s. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced in the United Kingdom in 2007.

The Policy Tool for Renovation highlights five key areas where the United Kingdom’s Renovation Policy Package excels: overall country reduction targets, building code requirements for renovations, labelling schemes, incentive schemes (including tax rebates) and the green deal’s one stop solution centre.

Over the past 10 years the UK has managed to decrease its total residential consumption, consumption/capita, and consumption/m2.  These reductions began in 2004, four years before the financial crisis and therefore these two cannot be linked. Although there was an increase in overall energy consumption in 2010, it then decreases in 2011 to continue with the downward trend.  The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) explains this unusually high level of consumption in 2010 as being driven by an exceptionally cold winter (DECC, 2012). Population is 63.2 million (Eurostat, 2012).

Regulatory Measures

Overall Targets

The UK’s 2008 Climate Change Act established the world’s first legally binding climate change target. The aim of the act is to reduce the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% (from the 1990 baseline) by 2050. 

More info: The Committee on Climate Change

Renovation Targets for Residential Buildings

The Committee on Climate Change was established by the government to devise periodic (5-yearly) carbon budgets, as interim milestones to the legally binding 2050 target to reduce GHG emissions by 80% by 2050 (c.f. 1990 levels). This was a requirement of the Climate Change Act 2008.  As part of the carbon budgets, targets for the building sector have been set. Direct emissions are to be reduced down from 100 MtCO2e in 2008 to 65 in 2030, meaning a reduction of 35% from 2008 to 2030 this is approx. 2% p.a.

More info: The Committee on Climate Change

Renovation Targets for Public Buildings

In July 2011, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced a 5-year commitment to reduce government greenhouse gas emissions by 25% between 2014 and 2015 (compared to a 2009-to-2010 baseline) across a broader scope of the central government estate and from business-related transport.  In Jan 2014 the 3% central government renovation target came into force (EED Art 5).

More info: Government website

Building Assessment

Building Code Requirements for Renovations

The UK’s Building Regulations 2010, the Conservation of fuel and power in new dwellings (L1A) and in new buildings other than dwellings (L2A), Code of 2013 becomes effective in April 2014.

A performance-based approach has not been adopted in the code. The calculated rate of CO2 emissions from the dwelling or non-dwelling (the Dwelling Emission Rate, DER or Building Emission Rate, BER) must not be greater than the Target Emission Rate (TER), TER is expressed as kgCO2/(m2.year). The code includes particular requirements surrounding calculation procedures for different fuel types and systems.


  • Roof - 0.2 W/(m2.K)
  • Wall - 0.3 W/(m2.K)
  • Windows - 2 W/(m2.K)

Airtightness- 10 m3/(h.m2) at 50 Pa.

Labelling Schemes

Mandatory EPCs in the UK are valid for 10 years and can be reused for new tenants as many times as required within that period.   They were introduced in 2007 to be used as a part of Home Information Packs.  All properties must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when sold, built or rented.  The EPC register is available online and is free to access.

The UK’s voluntary BREEAM energy labels provide a whole building approach to measuring and improving all building types.  It sets a “best practice: standard for efficient and sustainable building design, construction and operation”.

More info: Government website and BREEAM

Financial Instruments

Incentive Schemes

The Green Deal works hand-in-hand with the UK’s Energy Company Obligation and aims to improve the energy efficiency of most of the 26 million homes in the UK.  It works within a framework of accredited market participants. Individuals pay a part of the cost of improving their homes by taking a loan that is paid back via the savings they make on their fuel bills.   The scheme, established by the Coalition Government through the Energy Bill, will run between 2013-2027.

More info: Government website

Taxation Mechanisms

The Landlord’s Energy Saving Allowance (LESA) was introduced to encourage landlords to improve the energy efficiency of residential properties. The allowance is available for expenditure on specified energy saving items, provided that the works are finalised before the 6th of April 2015.  The maximum allowance is £1,500 per dwelling per year.  The scheme covers investment in cavity wall, loft insulation, solid wall insulation, draught proofing, hot water system insulation and floor insulation.

Energy/Carbon Tax

The Climate Change Levy (CCL) is a tax on non-domestic energy use in the UK. A replacement scheme has been implemented that will run until 2023. The CCL discount remains are 65% for all fuels except for electricity that was increased from 65% to 80% in April 2013. The tax applies to all energy consumption across industrial, commercial and public sectors, different rates apply to different types of energy.  The tax is set to induce reductions in demand for energy and to promote a basis for investment in energy efficiency project.

More info: Government website: HMRC and Government website: green taxes

Economic Instruments

Utility-Funded Energy Efficiency Programmes

The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) was introduced in 2013 legally requiring the six biggest energy suppliers in the UK to deliver energy efficiency measures to the domestic energy users.  It contains three parts: Affordable Warmth Obligation, Carbon Saving Obligation and Carbon Saving Communities Obligation. The Affordable Warmth Obligation provides heating and insulation improvements for low-income and vulnerable households. The Carbon Saving Obligation provides funding to insulate solid-walled properties (internal & externals) and ‘hard-to-treat’ cavity walls.  The Carbon Saving Communities Obligation provides insulation measures to people living in the bottom 15% of the UK's most deprived areas, especially beneficial to the social housing sector.

The financial support provided to households is provided when the energy companies and individuals communicate to identify and apply suitable saving measures. Up to 100% of the cost for improvements will be provided by the energy companies.

More info: Ofgem

Market Development for Energy Efficient Renovations

The UK’s ESCO market is one of most developed in Europe, dating back to 1984.  Initially energy companies included project financing to their traditional offers.  In 2009, 5-6 companies offered functioning EPCs, these companies accounting for around 80% of the outsourced market.

More info: Institute for Energy Report on ESCOs

General Information & Capacity Building

Training and Education Campaigns

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) offers independent and partial, expert advice to consumers on energy efficiency.  The EST is funded by DECC, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government.

Numerous training schemes have been established in the UK to provide the building sector with the full competencies necessary to facilitate a transition towards a more efficient building stock. The organisations offering these services include; DECC, EST, Department of Finanace & Personelle, Energy Institute, Institute for Sustainability, DipDEA.

More info: Energy Saving Trust

One Stop Solution Centre

The UK’s Green Deal has a website (Shop.com) that acts as the UK’s “one stop shop”, providing customers with all of the available green deal services. It provides customers with the information necessary to establish a Green DealThe services include organising a finance plan and assessment and installation of the energy improvements.

More info: Government website: Green Deal

Overall Performance

Please see Create Graphs tab above.