Expanded CERT allows dubious carbon savings

Energy companies will shortly be able to claim they have made carbon savings by providing homes with real-time energy displays and advice, the government confirmed today

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) issued a consultation on the future of the carbon emissions reduction target (CERT) as part of its heat and energy savings package.

Under CERT, UK energy suppliers must deliver energy efficiency gains in their customers’ homes equal to “lifetime” carbon dioxide savings of 154 million tonnes between 2008 and 2011.

Last year, the government announced a 20% expansion of the scheme and the consultation further provides details of this. By March 2011, energy firms will now have to deliver 185Mt of lifetime savings, it says, and they will be able to use real-time energy displays and the provision of energy efficiency advice to meet their targets.

Real-time displays will qualify for a saving equivalent to almost 1 tonne of CO2 for 15 years; advice almost 0.7t CO2 for 7.5 years. This is in spite of doubts that neither leads to anywhere near such savings. Advice must involve a face-to-face visit.

Energy companies will also be able to claim higher carbon savings for installing loft-insulation, the consultation says. This is to ensure energy firms use loft insulation to meet their targets rather than ‘softer’ measures.

DECC says the increase will lead to an additional 2 million lofts being insulation than would otherwise have occurred. However, it means the scheme will achieve up to 7.4 million tonnes fewer CO2 savings than expected – some 4% of the expanded CERT’s total.

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