The UK must retrofit 1m homes a year over the next 25 years if it is to end soaring energy bills and curb carbon emissions, the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) has warned.

As Chancellor George Osborne prepares to deliver his Budget on Wednesday 19 March, UK-GBC is urging Mr Osborne to make energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority, and in doing so rescue the Green Deal.

“As our energy bills continue to climb year on year and the need to reduce our emissions becomes ever more urgent, energy efficiency is the only antidote,” said Paul King, chief executive of UK-GBC. “Make no mistake: the scale of the challenge – and equally the opportunity for the construction industry – is huge.

“By retrofitting 1 million homes a year over the next 25 years, Mr Osborne could end the misery of rising energy bills, fuel poverty, and slash our carbon emissions. However, government must make energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority and provide the necessary support to allow this market to flourish.”

UK-GBC is calling on government to treat energy efficiency as a capital spending priority, providing grants for the fuel poor and using its borrowing power to reduce the cost of Green Deal finance and encourage a greater retrofit market. The Council also believes that householders need a more compelling reason to take action, including permanently linking Stamp Duty to energy efficiency and the introduction of robust regulation for privately rented homes, forcing landlords to improve the worst-performing property.