Homes and businesses have been placed at the centre of two government schemes to cut carbon emissions through improved energy efficiency and small-scale low-carbon electricity.
The initiatives – which aim to play a key role in reducing UK emissions by 34% on 1990 levels by 2020 – are part of a wider drive towards an 80% reduction by 2050.
If you’re thinking about making your home more energy efficient, the Which? includes room-by-room advice, as well as tips on how to save money on energy bills. Our Which? Switch service also allows you to to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Feed-in Tariffs (FITs)
From April 2010 households and communities installing electricity-generating ‘microgeneration’ technology such as solar panels or wind turbines will receive payments for the low-carbon electricity they produce. How much money you get depends on the type of technology you use.
Households on a feed-in tariff will be paid a fixed rate for the total amount of electricity they produce and will be able to ‘sell’ any electricity they don’t use back to the national grid at a rate of 3p/kWh.
The amount of money paid through FITs will rise in line with inflation. FIT households’ energy bills will be lower as they will be generating a portion of their energy themselves. Electricity-generating technology installed since July 2009 will also qualify for the new tariffs.
FITs have been described as a ‘win-win for consumers’ by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. A spokesperson said: ‘A typical 2.5kW, well-sited solar PV installation could offer savings of £140 a year, plus earnings of £900 a year.’
You can find full details of FITs in the Which? Switch guide to .
CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC EES)
The second scheme, CRC EES, is designed to encourage organisations such as supermarkets, hotels and hospitals to improve on current levels of energy efficiency. Participation in the scheme is expected to save organisations around £1 billion and 4.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year by 2020.
Save money by making greener choices
There are various ways to make and save cash by switching to green alternatives at home. Our guide to lists the financial benefits of , as well as how to grow and sell your own fruit, veg and herbs.
If you’re considering installing equipment to generate low-carbon electricity, energy grants are available to help you with the costs. Check out our guides to buying solar panels and installing wind turbines to see whether these options would work for you – and what you should expect in terms of costs and savings.
There are also low-cost ways to increase energy efficiency in the home if you’re not in a position to install a wind turbine or solar panel. The Which? guide to using less electricity is full of advice about energy-efficient appliances such as washing machines and fridge freezers, as well as money-saving tips that should cut your bills.
Lower your gas and electricity bills
You can compare energy prices and switch to a new gas and electricity supplier on Which? Switch. People who switched with us between 1 October and 31 December 2013 are predicted to save an average of £234 a year on their bills.
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