United Kingdom

Energy inefficient homes

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • The primary measure used in England to measure the energy efficiency of homes is the Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) rating which takes into account factors such as property type, construction materials, insulation and the efficiency of heating systems.
  • Using this standard, 7% of homes in England in 2009 were classified as very energy inefficient.  This is less than half the proportion in the mid-1990s, when it was 17%.
  • The proportion of dwellings which are very energy inefficient has been declining for all types of tenure, but most sharply in the social rented sector.  As a result, the proportion of social housing that is now very energy inefficient (3%) is much lower than that in either private rented housing (11%) or owner occupation (7%).  By contrast, in the mid-1990s, the proportion of social housing that was very energy inefficient was similar to that in owner occupation (both 15-16%).
  • Two-thirds of homes which are very energy inefficient are owner-occupied and a further quarter are private rented.  This simply reflects the fact that most homes are owner-occupied.
  • For any given tenure, the proportion of homes which are very energy inefficient does not vary much by level of income (after deducting housing costs).  So, for example, private renters on both below-average and above-average incomes are much more likely to live in a very energy inefficient home than those on below-average incomes in either owner occupation or social rented accommodation.
  • The proportion of homes which are very energy inefficient is higher in the South West than elsewhere in England: 12% compared to 5% in the North East.
  • The proportion of dwellings which are very energy inefficient is much higher in the most rural areas: 35% compared to 25% in villages and 5% in urban areas.

Why this indicator was originally chosen

People who live in energy inefficient homes either have to pay more to keep their homes warm or have to live at a temperature below that considered to be ideal.

Definitions and data sources

The first graph shows the proportion of households deemed to be ‘very energy inefficient’, with the data shown separately by tenure.

The second graph shows, for the latest year, the shares of very energy inefficient homes in each tenure.

The third graph shows how the proportion of homes that are very energy inefficient varies by the income and tenure of the household.  Note that the allocation of households to below-average and above-average incomes uses ‘equivalised household income’ after deducting housing costs, which means that the household incomes have been adjusted to put them on a like-for-like basis given the size and composition of the households.  This means that the results are somewhat different than those in some other publications which use either unadjusted household incomes or incomes before deducting housing costs.

The fourth graph shows how the proportion of homes that are very energy inefficient varies by region.

The fifth graph shows how the proportion of homes that are ‘non-decent’ varies by type of area using the government’s 2004 classification system for small areas, which (from most rural through to urban) classifies areas as ‘hamlet and isolated dwellings’, ‘village’, ‘small town and fringe’ and ‘urban’, where ‘urban’ is any settlement of more than 10,000 people.  Note that there is an alternative classification system which could have been used, where the surveyor of the property allocates it to one of six categories, three of which are rural.  The results using the two alternative classification systems are different, but show a broadly similar pattern.

To improve their statistical reliability, the data in the third to fifth graphs is the average for the latest three years.

The energy efficiency of a home is measured using something called the ‘Standard Assessment Procedure’ (SAP) rating.  SAP ratings range from 0 to 100, with the higher the rating the more energy efficient the home.  Following advice from DCLG, the threshold used to define ‘very energy inefficient’ homes is those which have a SAP rating of less than 30.  Note that in 2005 DCLG made some technical changes to how it calculated the SAP ratings and, as a result, some of the data is somewhat different than previously published figures.  The detailed arithmetic for calculating the SAP rating for a particular home is complex but is discussed in the following document published on behalf of DEFRA: The Government’s SAP for energy rating of dwellings.

The data source for all the graphs is the the stock dataset from the English Housing Survey (EHS) and relates to England.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  EHS is a well-established, regular government survey, designed to be nationally representative but there is no direct link with the subject of poverty and social exclusion.

External links

Relevant 2007 Public Service Agreements

Overall aim:  Increase long-term housing supply and affordability

Lead department

Department for Communities and Local Government

Official national targets

Increase the number of net additional homes provided per annum to 240,000 by 2016.

Increase the number of gross affordable homes provided per annum to 70,000 by 2010-11 including 45,000 social homes.

Halve the number of households in temporary accommodation to 50,500 households by 2010.

By March 2011, 80% of local planning authorities to have adopted the necessary Development Plan Documents, in accordance with their agreed Local Development Scheme.

Other indicators of progress

Trends in affordability.

Efficiency rating of new homes.

Previous 2004 targets

By 2010, bring all social housing into decent condition with most of this improvement taking place in deprived areas, and for vulnerable households in the private sector, including families with children, increase the proportion who live in homes that are in decent condition.

Eliminate fuel poverty in vulnerable households in England by 2010 in line with the Government’s Fuel Poverty Strategy objective Joint with the department for Trade and Industry.

The numbers

Graph 1

Year Private rented Social rented Owner occupied All tenures
1996 29% 15% 16% 17%
2001 23% 8% 12% 13%
2003 20% 7% 12% 12%
2004 17% 5% 11% 11%
200516% 4% 11% 10%
200616% 3% 10% 10%
200714% 4% 9% 9%
200812% 3% 8% 8%
200911% 3% 7% 7%

Graph 2

Private rented Social rented Owner occupied
0.4M 0.1M 1.1M

Graph 3

Household incomePrivate rented Social rented Owner occupied
Below-average incomes 12% 3% 8%
Above-average incomes 10% 3% 7%

Graph 4

East Midlands 9%
London 6%
North East 5%
North West 6%
South East 8%
South West 12%
West Midlands 10%
Yorkshire and The Humber 7%

Graph 5

Hamlets and isolated dwellings35%
Small towns and fringe8%