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Government unveils green makeovers for all homes

Ambitious energy saving plans revealed

A green plastic house

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British households will be able to receive expert help to reduce fuel bills and access low-carbon heat and power in their homes, under an ambitious Heat and Energy Saving strategy.

The draft plan sets out the need to reduce household carbon emissions to almost zero so the UK can achieve its ambitious target of an 80 per cent cut in emissions by 2050. 

By 2030, the aim is for whole-house improvements to be available to householders in every home, in every street.

The plan by Ed Miliband, Hazel Blears and Margaret Beckett, which will be published for consultation later today, includes proposals for improving the quality and availability of information and advice, new finance packages and options for delivering energy efficient and low carbon improvements.

For more information about how you can save energy, see the Which? tips for a greener home and our guide to creating a sustainable home.

Ambitious energy saving plans

The government has said that its ambition goes beyond existing plans, aiming to provide cavity wall and loft insulation for all suitable properties by 2015 as well as ensuring whole-house energy makeovers for seven million homes by 2020 and all homes by 2030.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband called it ‘the Great British refurb’, pointing out that wasted energy costs families on average ‘£300 a year’.

He said: ‘Every home must be able to access the help and technology it needs, whether it be the installation of a ground or air source heat pump, solar-heating, solid wall insulation, or access to a district heating scheme. Most importantly, I want to ensure that help to meet the costs is available to people house by house, street by street, and that lower-income families don’t miss out.’

Key proposals

The plan includes:

  • Finance packages to install energy efficiency measures and low-carbon heat and power sources. Repayment from part of the savings on energy bills would be linked to the property, rather than residents.
  • Guaranteed cash payments by way of a Renewable Heat Incentive and a Feed-in Tariff for small scale electricity generation.
  • Options for improving the delivery of energy efficiency advice and measures include the establishment of a central coordinating body – funded by energy companies.
  • Low-cost home energy audits, developing a qualification for energy advisers, and establishing an accreditation scheme for installers.

Consultation on proposals

Housing Minister Margaret Beckett said: ‘We don’t only need more housing, we need better quality housing as well. These proposals can ensure that a more sustainable lifestyle is available to everyone, not just a luxury for those with the money to invest in the latest green gadgets.

‘Social housing must be at the forefront of these changes. People living in social housing stand to gain the most from these proposals, as they are among the most likely to be living in fuel poverty. Some of the greenest homes in the country have been built by housing associations, and I believe that through this programme we can go even further.’

The Heat and Energy Saving Strategy will be open for consultation for 12 weeks. The government will be hosting a series of public engagement events in England, Wales and Ireland, involving householders and small businesses. A final strategy is due to be published later this year.

© Press Association 2009

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