Headlines: June 7th, 2007



Council-run housing is more energy efficient than private homes, according to a report which also reveals that social sector houses are being improved at a faster rate than privately-owned housing. The English House Condition Survey has found that public sector homes are more likely to have effective insulation than privately-owned housing.

The figures also show that more than three-quarters of homes in the social sector have cavity walls, compared to just over two thirds of private houses. Just over a quarter of private homes have adequate loft insulation but almost half of those in the social sector have 150 millimeters of insulation or more.

The measure of energy efficiency used in the survey is based on space and water heating costs, giving an index that is used to rate homes on a scale from one – highly inefficient – to 100 – highly efficient. Social houses have an average rating of 57, compared to 46 in the private sector. Ninety-six per cent of all social sector housing has a rating of more than 30. The survey shows, too, that the social sector has improved more than privately-owned homes since 1996.

The Housing Minister, Yvette Cooper, said the report showed the current multi-billion pound investment in council houses was helping the environment as well as reducing families’ fuel bills. It proved, too, that the major refurbishments to deliver decent homes were more than ‘Changing Rooms-style makeovers.’ More than 20 billion pounds has been invested in improving social housing since 1997 and the total investment will rise to at least twice that figure by the end of 2010.