Neighbourhood energy efficiency schemes to save 4Mt CO2

Around 90,000 low-income households will benefit from a £3.5 million government programme to install energy efficiency measures to whole neighbourhoods at a time

The Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Communities Department (DCLG) launched a joint consultation on the detail of the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) this week. The departments estimate that it will save nearly four million tonnes of carbon dioxide while also helping people in fuel poverty.

An overall carbon reduction target will be split equally between energy suppliers and electricity generators. They will work with local authorities to identify around 100 areas where the programme will be implemented on a street-by-street basis.

Companies will only be allowed to use measures that both reduce CO2 and reduce fuel bills. These comprise external solid wall insulation; internal solid wall insulation; cavity wall insulation; loft insulation; switching fuel to gas; connection to a district heating scheme; ground and air source heat pumps; micro-generation; heating controls, home energy audits; replacing G-rated boilers with high efficiency models and installing gas central heating in homes with no central heating.

Each measure will be worth a particular points score, which will be related to the amount of carbon which the measure will save. Companies may also score bonuses, where they deliver several measures in one home and/or treat many homes in one area.

National Energy Action, a charity which helps the fuel poor, has been targeting homes through door-to-door contact in its Warm Zones project. Darren Shirley, campaigns and policy officer, thought CESP was a much better way of targeting fuel-poor homes than current programmes like the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target or Warm Front. “These rely on self-referral, whereas you can sell the idea better door-to-door.”

The government is proposing to allow trading, and potentially some transfer of credits and obligations between suppliers and generators. The programme could be up and running by the autumn and run until the end of 2012.

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