PM Rishi Sunak's Decision to Relax EPC Standards for Homes and its Implications

Published September 29 2023
3 minute read

In a significant policy shift, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced that homeowners and landlords will no longer be required to improve the energy efficiency of their properties to a minimum standard. This decision, which comes as part of a broader policy change, has generated both praise and criticism. In this article, we will explore the background of this policy shift, its implications for the environment, the economy, and homeowners, as well as the broader context of energy efficiency in the UK.

The Background

The decision to relax energy efficiency standards for homes marks a departure from previous government policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions and improving energy efficiency. The move is part of a broader effort to stimulate economic growth and reduce the regulatory burden on homeowners and landlords. Under the previous regulations, homeowners and landlords were required to meet minimum energy efficiency standards, often involving costly upgrades to insulation, heating systems, and windows.

Implications for the Environment

Critics argue that relaxing energy efficiency standards could have detrimental effects on the environment. The built environment, including residential properties, is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. By reducing the pressure on homeowners and landlords to make their properties more energy-efficient, there is a risk that the UK will struggle to meet its climate targets.

Improving the energy efficiency of homes is a crucial component of any strategy to combat climate change. It not only reduces carbon emissions but also lowers energy bills for homeowners and tenants. The relaxation of these standards could slow down the transition to a more sustainable, low-carbon future.

Economic Implications

Proponents of the Prime Minister's decision argue that it will stimulate economic growth and reduce costs for homeowners and landlords. By removing the obligation to make energy-efficient improvements, property owners can save money on upgrades and maintenance. This could, in turn, encourage property investment and development, which might benefit the construction industry and related sectors.

However, the economic benefits of this decision should be considered alongside the potential long-term costs. Energy-efficient homes are not only better for the environment but can also save homeowners and tenants money in the long run by reducing energy bills. By delaying these improvements, property owners might face higher operational costs over time.

Impact on Homeowners and Tenants

The relaxation of energy efficiency standards may provide short-term relief for homeowners and landlords, but it could have mixed consequences for tenants. Tenants living in energy-inefficient properties may continue to face high energy bills, which can be a significant financial burden, particularly for low-income households.

Additionally, tenants in older and poorly insulated properties might experience lower living standards, as these homes are more likely to suffer from issues like dampness and cold. This, in turn, could lead to negative health effects.

The Broader Context of Energy Efficiency

It's important to view this policy change within the broader context of the UK's energy efficiency efforts. The government has faced challenges in achieving its targets for reducing carbon emissions from homes. The decision to relax standards may be seen as a response to these difficulties, but it raises questions about the country's commitment to tackling climate change.


Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's decision to relax energy efficiency standards for homes and rental properties has ignited a debate about the balance between economic growth and environmental responsibility. While the move is expected to provide short-term financial relief to homeowners and landlords, it may have long-term consequences for the environment, tenants, and the overall energy efficiency of the UK's housing stock.

It is crucial for policymakers, environmental advocates, and the public to consider the trade-offs involved in this decision carefully. Balancing economic interests with climate goals is a complex task, and the outcomes of this policy change will likely be a subject of debate for years to come. Ultimately, the decision should be viewed as one part of a broader conversation about how to create a sustainable and prosperous future for the UK.