The investment is the result of the government increasing its Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme and introducing a new Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

Together the schemes should boost total energy supplier investment in household energy efficiency improvement to £3.5 billion by the end of 2012, the Department of Energy and Climate Change says.

Joan Ruddock, energy and climate change minister, said: “Home energy efficiency has never been so important in achieving our long term goals on climate change and to making a real difference to householder’s energy bills.

“This announcement delivers a major part of the Prime Minister’s Home Energy Savings Programme that ensures people can save money and save energy, as well as reducing emissions.”

The CERT scheme subsidises home improvements such as loft insulation.

Under the original scheme energy suppliers had to introduce measures to help customers save energy with a target of overall lifetime carbon dioxide savings of 154 million tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2011 – equal to emissions from 700,000 homes each year.

This was expected to require energy company investment of some £2.8bn.

Now, the government has increased the target by 20 per cent to 185 million lifetime tonnes – equal to average annual savings equal to the annual emissions of one million homes.

Other changes to CERT include:

  • sending experts to give householders advice on cutting energy consumption and bills
  • directing around 60 per cent of total funding to low-income and elderly householders giving them free or discounted energy saving improvements
  • increasing the amount energy suppliers can earmark for energy efficiency technologies such as microgeneration and solid wall insulation

    Meanwhile, the CESP, which begins this autumn, will help householders in low-income areas receive “whole house” energy makeovers.
  • Some 100 community schemes involving around 90,000 homes will save almost 2.9m tonnes of CO2 by December 2012 and shave around £330 of householder energy bills, according to the government.

    It says the schemes will help the UK meet carbon emissions reduction targets – 80 per cent by 2050 – and ease fuel poverty.

    David Gibbs

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