Building environmentally friendly houses will reduce fuel bills, meaning occupants have more money to spend elsewhere in the economy.
That is the view of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, which is encouraging local house-builders to construct eco-friendly properties and purchasers to invest in them.
A report published by the Cabinet Office in March revealed 9.9% of households in the Island suffer fuel poverty. It highlighted the need to improve the thermal efficiency of homes.
Richard Ronan MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, and Ralph Peake MHK, the Department member responsible for Environment, Safety and Health, last week spent a day touring examples of tried and tested European housing technology in Manchester and Lancaster.
‘The technology is increasingly being adopted across the UK in order to reduce property energy consumption and heating bills,’ said Mr Peake.
‘There is great scope for us to increase the use of this type of technology on the Isle of Man as the skills and materials become more readily available. Property is responsible for around 30% of greenhouse gas emissions on the Island, so it’s an area where everybody can win.
‘We met some of the properties’ occupants, who spoke of the differences it has made to their lives and their pockets. Money they previously spent on fuel bills is now available for them to spend and enjoy locally, which is good for them and good for their local economy.
‘It is important that we create a situation where local house-builders and householders are confident investing in this technology,’ Mr Peake said.
Tynwald last year approved Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture policies on climate challenges and the Department is working on a strategy to reduce harmful emissions, which it will present to Tynwald in July.
Mr Peake commented: ‘This exciting technology provides significant benefits for the residents, who are now saving around 80 to 90% of their previous heating bills while reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and enjoying a better living environment.
‘We saw community heating and hydro-electric schemes plus brand new and retro-fitted, near zero emissions housing, much of which is not currently in place on the Island. We will incorporate our findings into the strategy we present to Tynwald.’