Skip to main content
insulation age

Insulation age of homes revealed to be at least 46 years old

By EDF | Posted May 03, 2022
  • Britain's ageing homes are in urgent need of energy efficiency updates - as new study of 21 million homes finds more than half only meet insulation standards of the 1970s
  • Less than a tenth of homes have an insulation age of 2002 or younger
  • Energy efficiency measures offer the biggest opportunity to cut household bills, yet only a third of households say they have updated their home's insulation
  • EDF will spend an extra £20m on energy efficiency measures for fuel-poor households, to help them get ‘winter ready’

Britain’s ageing housing stock is in urgent need of energy efficiency updates, according to a new study of over 21 million homes2, that reveals the majority (58%) of properties across England and Wales only meet insulation standards of 1976 or older1.

With only a third (37%) of households stating that they have updated their insulation, EDF will bring forward £20m spend on energy-efficiency measures for fuel-poor households this year, to help them get ‘winter ready’ ahead of energy prices rising again in October.

The study, conducted by EDF in partnership with property data platform, Sprift, analysed the current levels of home insulation (including floor, roof, window and wall insulation) against building regulations of homes across different time periods to calculate the nation’s ‘home insulation age’.

The analysis found that a third (6.3 million) of properties across England and Wales only meet insulation standards of 1972 Building Regulations and a further 6 million (27%) meet regulatory insulation criteria of 1976.

Looking at insulation regulations since the turn of the century, just 1.6 million properties (7.5%) have an insulation age of 2002 or younger, with a mere 4,663 properties having an insulation age of 2013. Of those homes built before 1976 (13.6 million), just 3,867 properties (0.03%) have been updated with additional energy efficiency measures to meet an insulate age of 2002 or younger.

Consumer research of 2,000 UK homeowners commissioned by EDF3  to support the study found that despite the average household living with insulation standards dating back at least 46 years, only a third (37%) of households have ever updated their insulation. In contrast, we update our phones every 2 years 4 months, TVs every 3 years 5 months, cars every 4 ½ years and kitchens every 7 years 11 months. 

A quarter (25%) state that they have not updated their insulation because it’s too expensive to install, whilst a fifth (19%) would rather spend their money on other things or don’t know what type of insulation they need (17%).

As energy prices continue to rise, improving energy efficiency through insulation measures offers the biggest opportunity to cut household bills4, yet two thirds (66%) of respondents did not know the EPC rating of their home with a fifth (21%) of homeowners having no idea about the different ways properties can be insulated to improve their energy efficiency.

When bills were at £1,200 per year, loft insulation saved £165 a year. Against the current £2,000 cap, these savings are £250 a year and will be higher if bills continue to rise5. The average semi-detached homeowner could also save up to £285 a year if they upgraded their cavity-wall insulation and a further £390 a year by updating their solid-wall insulation5. The desire to reduce energy bills is the main driver for almost two thirds (65%) of those that have thought about updating or have updated their home's insulation, whilst more than four in 10 (43%) have improved their home energy efficiency for the good of the planet.

With less than six months until Ofgem announces the level of the next price cap, and before people start turning their heating back on in the autumn, EDF is calling for a national effort to get British homes ‘Winter Ready’ through the installation of insulation and smart meters. The company has also announced it will spend an extra £20 million on energy efficiency measures for fuel poor households this year to get as many homes as possible insulated against rising prices6.

Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF commented: “It’s surprising that the average insulation age of a home is over 40 years old, with so few homes having sufficient insulation installed to meet modern energy efficiency standards. As energy prices continue to rise, quality insulation is the most effective way to cut household bills permanently, however is often overlooked as the cost of installation is a significant barrier to many. That’s why it's so important that we work with Government and industry to find new ways to get more homes insulated as soon as possible and why we’ll be supporting our vulnerable customers to help insulate their homes now, ahead of bills rising again in October.”  

To support this investment, EDF is asking the Government to consider new schemes that will help more people insulate their homes. A Government-funded extension of the ECO scheme that helped pay towards the cost of insulation could help cut bills for millions more homes permanently, as well as creating jobs and boosting the economy.

To date the ECO scheme, which aims to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty, has provided 2.2 million of the UK’s poorest households with energy efficiency measures which will save £15bn over their lifetimes. EDF are leaders in ECO, with over 40,000 measures installed last year and since 2018, its installations have delivered more than £248 million in lifetime bill savings7.

Jade Lewis, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association said: “Energy efficiency measures are essential foundations in our nation’s transition to Net Zero, for too long many UK homes have remained poorly insulated and heated. These inefficient buildings are impacting not only our progress to Net-Zero, but also our energy security, our nation’s health, and wellbeing, and are contributing to fuel poverty, which will only increase as we weather the storm of our current energy crisis. The SEA believes now is the time to invest in making our buildings healthier, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and lowering their running costs and we will continue to support the initiatives, like EDF’s, which will make this a reality.”

For further information about how EDF is helping insulate British homes, please visit:  What is Insulation and How Does it Work?

For more information contact:

EDF Press Office:

Notes to Editors:

  1. Over time, government regulations have reduced the amount of heat loss permitted from residential properties, these are referred to as U-values. The table below sets out the changing regulations over time. 

    1. U-values have been defined as "a measure of the heat transmission through a building part (such as a wall or window) or a given thickness of a material (such as insulation) with lower numbers indicating better insulating properties". U-values are measured in W/m2K where: W equals the amount of heat lost per 1 metre squared of material (window/wall/roof/floor).

    2. For roof insulation, the approximate equivalent of insulation depth is provided as well as U-values, although as types of roof insulation have changed and developments in material science mean practically that 1mm of insulation today is generally better than 1mm 50 years ago.

  2. Data:

    1. The Sprift Insulation Age looks at many aspects of a property and applies insights to determine an overall score and insulation age for each property. The insulation age bands reflect significant changes in UK building regulations over the past half-century and more.

    2. This full data set considers all properties with a valid EPC in England and Wales at 30/09/21, a total of 21,857,699 properties.

    3. To note there is no data for 233,853 properties - homes where there no data is where the home age has not been entered into the EPC rating.

  3. Research conducted by OnePoll of 2,000 UK Adults who own their home, rent, or live in social housing between 1st and 8th April 2022

  1. Politics Home: Why we need immediate action to take control of our energy security,  Philippe Commaret, EDF Customers Managing Director

  2. Cavity-wall insulation could reduce your energy bills by up to £285 per year (for a semi-detached house). Source: Reducing home heat loss: Cavity wall insulation. Solid-wall insulation could reduce your energy bills by up to £390 per year (for a semi-detached house). Source: Reducing home heat loss: Cavity wall insulation. Loft insulation could reduce your energy bills by up to £255 per year (for a semi-detached house, with 0-270mm loft insulation). Source: Reducing home heat loss: Cavity wall insulation

  1. How to access these schemes:

  • EDF Support Scheme: If you’re experiencing hardship or struggling to manage your energy debt you may be eligible to apply for a grant towards your energy costs or energy efficient white goods. Customers wishing to apply for support can do so via this link:

  • ECO scheme: If you’re on means tested benefits then you may be eligible to benefit from ECO, subject to a site survey. Customers wishing to register their interest can do via this link: Save money on your bills and improve your home

  1. Additional background:

    1. EDF was the first supplier to set-up a support fund, providing £50m to customers in need to date.

    2. This support package comes despite figures published in February showing that EDF made losses in the last financial year.

    3. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO scheme) installs free energy saving measures and heating improvements to fuel poor households, helping to keep their homes warm and energy bills down.

    4. The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) has provided 2.2 million of the UK’s poorest households with energy efficiency measures which will save £15bn over their lifetimes.

    5. ECO is funded via all energy bills so it is essential that any expansion to the scheme would not be funded via increased levies on all energy bills.

    6. At the end of March, the Office for Budget Responsibility predicted October’s price cap could increase by another 40% to £2,801 – nearly three times the level from last year.

About EDF

EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission electric future and tackling climate change. It is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity(1), meeting around one-fifth of the country’s demand and supplying millions of customers with electricity and gas.

It generates low carbon electricity from six nuclear power stations and more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms, and operates one coal power station, EV charge-points, and combined heat and power plants.

EDF is leading the UK's nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, and is leading the development of plans for a replica at Sizewell C in Suffolk. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will provide low carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand and power around 12 million homes.

EDF is one of the UK’s largest investors in renewables, with 1GW of renewable generation in operation and over 4GW in construction, planning and development across a range of technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage. We are constructing our largest offshore wind farm in Britain – the 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe project in Scotland which will be ready in 2023.

EDF is helping its customers, both in business and at home, take their first steps to sustainably powering their lives. Whether it is buying an electric car, generating and storing electricity or selling energy back to the grid. EDF is one of the largest suppliers to British business and a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping businesses become more energy independent. In addition, the company’s energy services business, Imtech, is one of the largest technical service providers in the UK and Ireland.

EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK, the company employs around 13,000 people at locations across England and Scotland.

Related articles

Woman sitting on bed with laptop and dog
May 16, 2024

Beat the lag: EDF launches weekly price forecasting service for consumers

A new price cap forecasting service is being launched by EDF, helping empower consumers to make the best-informed choice for their energy tariff
Pod Point EV charger
April 30, 2024

EDF and Pod Point introduce new smart charging initiative to help balance the grid

EDF, Britain's largest generator of zero carbon electricity, is to collaborate with Pod Point, one of the UK’s largest EV charge-point providers to homes and businesses, on a new Smart Charging trial.
Woman sitting on sofa looking at iPad.
April 30, 2024

New EDF tariff cheapest of large suppliers

EDF launches a new tariff which is the cheapest of the large suppliers and more than £100 lower than the current energy price cap.