Creating carbon free communities

Published on Wednesday, 21 April 2010 01:00
Written by Philip Sellwood


The last ten years have seen a watershed in the level of public knowledge and engagement in the basics of energy efficiency

For many, it's now time to take the next step, meaning we've got to make a big push at the start of the new decade so people know where to look for guidance in living a low carbon lifestyle.


The lives we live at home and the transport choices we make account for over 40 per cent of the UK's carbon emissions. Unless we implement energy efficiency measures, the UK is on a risky path and the risks are increasing. It's in everyone's interests that we go as fast and boldly as possible to reduce demand by improving energy efficiency; supplemented by the roll out of renewables.


Though economic times are still tough, ways have to be found to incentivise the uptake of more advanced measures - this is where the Home Energy Pay as You pilot (PAYS), delivered by the Energy Saving Trust for DECC, comes in.


Estimates suggest that the ‘basic' energy efficiency measures will have been installed in suitable homes by 2014 and longer term and more expensive solutions - such as solid wall insulation and microgeneration - become the key means to achieve the CO2 savings needed to hit the UK's ambitious targets.



Research from DEFRA shows that 57 per cent of people thinking about installing an energy saving measure say cost has prevented them. PAYS is an innovative finance solution to help householders cover the upfront costs of more expensive, energy efficiency and microgeneration measures by linking capital costs to the value of their home and the savings they achieve.



Working with our five partners, Gentoo Limited, British Gas, Birmingham City Council, B&Q UK and Stroud District Council, we will be testing consumer interest in different finance packages, learning lessons on how to market and communicate these packages, testing levels of subsidy required to overcome high capital costs, and understanding which types of partners consumers prefer to make repayments to.



Replacing an old boiler is also a big expense for people seeking to create an energy efficient household, at around £2-3,000. Through the Government's boiler scrappage scheme, run by the Energy Saving Trust. up to 125,000 households are eligible to receive £400 towards the cost of upgrading a G-rated boiler to a high efficiency A-rated one or a renewable heating technology. This will help to save in the region of 140,000tCO2 per year - equivalent to taking 45,000 cars off the road.


We are hoping the scheme will prove to be a catalyst for energy companies to design and roll out similar incentives to make real inroads towards the mass replacement of old, inefficient boilers.


The possibility that trading in a G-rated boiler will make some householders consider renewable heating technology such as ground and air source heat pumps or even solar thermal links to another of the Energy Saving Trust's key areas of interest in 2010. We are pressing ahead with an ambitious programme of domestic renewable field trials this year, and as well as heat pumps and solar thermal technologies we will be solid wall insulation, advanced heating controls and LED lighting.


We want to find out much more about how microgeneration technology performs in relation to how it is installed, where it is installed and how it is being used. Following the success of our micro wind trials we are completing in-situ testing of domestic solar thermal and heat pump technologies.


Our research shows that up to 4million solar Photovoltaic installations, 2.5million air source heat pumps, and 2.5million domestic combined heat and power units could be installed by 2030. But we need industry support to help fund further work in this area. Collaboration between business, government and experts in the field is paramount in starting an ambitious decade in reducing CO2 emissions on the right foot.

For more information regarding energy efficiency why not register to attend GovToday's forthcoming conference Carbon Reduction 2010, details can be found here:

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