Of all the areas of work the Warwickshire Observatory gets involved in, identfying useful, robust data on the local environment is probably the most challenging. The Energy Saving Trust has recently published district-level data on the number of households making home insulation improvements through the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) scheme.
CERT requires all domestic energy suppliers with a customer base in excess of 50,000 customers to make savings in the amount of CO2 emitted by householders. Suppliers meet this target by promoting the uptake of low carbon energy solutions to household energy consumers, thereby assisting them to reduce the carbon footprint of their homes.
CERT was introduced in 2008 and provides grants for home insultation improvements, primarily wall cavity and loft installations. The scheme provides 100% grants to homeowners and private tenants aged 70 or above or in receipt of certain benefits, tax credits or allowances, or 40% – 70% partial grants to all homeowners regardless of income or circumstances. It is estimated that these measures can save households in excess of £100 per year. On 30th July 2010, CERT was extended from March 2011 to December 2012 with a new higher target.
Over 2.6m British homes have been insulated under the Government’s energy saving scheme in the last three years, including more than 26,000 in Warwickshire. The presents some of the local data and identifies a number of key points:
- The rate of insulation measures is fairly consistent across our five districts/boroughs, ranging from 10.3% in Warwick District up to 11.9% in Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough. The distribution of improvements across the county does not necessarily match the pattern of fuel poverty and disadvantage; could more be done to improve take-up in areas of greatest need?
- The scheme peaked in its first year, with 12,400 insulations in 2008/09, 10,700 in 2009/10 and 7,700 in 2011/12. Have we reached saturation point, or is there work needed to improve awareness amongst our residents?
The Green Deal, another energy saving government strategy, is set to launch next year. It promises to allow homes to invest in energy improvements up to £10,000 when an assessment is approved showing savings on energy would outweigh the cost of the installations.