Thursday, November 22, 2007

Greening homes to become easier with one-stop shop

A new Green Homes Service will from April 1 2008 provide a single point of contact for people for home energy audits, plus advice on how householders and landlords can save water, reduce waste, green their travel, and connect to grants and offers from energy companies.

It will result in a regional network of one stop shops to be rolled out nationwide by 2011. Home energy use is responsible for 27% of all carbon emisiions.

Launching the service on November 20, Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said: "There's a lot of help out there, but itís hard to know where to start. The Green Homes Service will cut through the confusion by providing a one stop shop, including a green MOT for your home and a green home makeover."

Managed by the Energy Saving Trust - revamped with an additional £100m - the Green Homes Service will also link people with the successor to the Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC) from energy companies for discounted or free products such as cavity wall and loft insulation. The EEC has only had limited success so far because of consumer confusion over why the likes of British Gas and nPower want customers to spend less money with them.

The service will also offer a range of existing and new grants and cheap loans, and pilot a premium service for a green home makeover using trusted suppliers and minimising hassle.

The EEC's successor (previously announced), the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), will save 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2011 through efficiency measures with a typical saving of £90 on fuel bills. CERT also offers incentives for energy companies to install more renewable energy.

The Energy Saving Trust has so far only been a reactive service (people contact it). It will soon be able to be proactive and take the message directly to people's doors.

The Service is part of the Act on CO2 campaign. Over 500,000 people have already visited the web-based Act on CO2 calculator to work out their carbon footprint and obtain a customised plan to reduce it.

This calculator is, by the way, not as good as this one from Carbon Footprint Ltd - a member of the London Chamber of Commerce and the Carbon Trading Group of the Environmental Industries Commission - EIC.

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