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Cutting energy consumption and costs in UK households

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The UK Home Energy Saving Programme is intended to provide over €1 billion to make British homes more energy efficient and enable householders to cut their energy consumption.

The UK has announced a package to increase energy efficiency in households. The Home Energy Saving Programme will help households save €350 a year on energy costs. Legislation introduced under the programme requires energy companies to invest over €1 billion to make homes more energy efficient. This programme will provide funding to both the existing Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme, and the new Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

Energy companies are already spending €3.25 billion over three years to help customers save energy. Combined with existing Government’s spending programmes, these contributions represent a €7.5 billion improvement to the energy efficiency of housing in the UK.

Energy suppliers will call on customers to make systemic changes to energy consumption. Even simple measures such as lowering thermostats or not leaving electrical appliances on stand-by can have a significant impact. For example, by turning down thermostats by 1°C, householders can cut heating bills by 10%, according to the UK Energy Saving Trust.

In July 2009, British Gas announced it will trial home energy management technologies to help customers cut emissions, consumption and costs. The AlertMe smart energy and home monitoring system, which can be accessed online or by mobile phone, enables customers to adjust heating controls, turn off switches and plan for non-peak times even when they are not at home.

Improving house insulation

Some €650 million from the Home Energy Saving Programme will be added to the existing CERT programme, which funds improvements to loft and cavity-wall insulation. Under CERT, energy suppliers must deliver an overall lifetime CO2 saving of 154 million tonnes – equivalent to the annual emissions of 700 000 homes – by 2011.

Helping households to take energy-efficiency measures

A further €400 million will fund CESP. This requires energy suppliers and electricity generators to reduce CO2 emissions by 2050 through the provision of energy efficiency measures to domestic consumers. Based on a ‘whole house approach’, CESP will ensure homes receive all the major energy-efficiency measures they need.

Under CESP, local councils, voluntary organisations and energy companies will carry out house-to-house calls to help some of the most deprived areas of the UK.