Cashing in on energy efficiency

It’s alarming to see current statistics around the potential rise in fuel poverty over the coming months as many of the big six energy companies increase their tariffs. While it’s hard for homeowners to avoid a rise in their household energy bills one of the biggest issues is the UK’s inefficient housing stock. Through insulation and moderation of energy consumption homeowners can make a significant difference to their energy bills. Alan Charlton, head of Puragen explains.
Rising energy bills have been described as preposterous and shocking yet the actual unit cost of energy is amongst the lowest in Europe. Our energy bills however are among the highest and that’s mainly down to the fact that our homes are incredibly inefficient. The new Green Deal initiative from the government is intended to help tackle this issue head on, offering homeowners the opportunity to invest in energy saving measures, for their home, at no upfront cost.
The cost for the improvements will actually lie with the property itself in line with the Golden Rule – the potential energy savings made must outweigh the cost of any improvements to the property. The repayments will then be made directly through the energy bill for ease and should be less than the estimated energy savings.
As part of the scheme there are a number of technologies that consumers can opt for within their homes, many of which have an additional benefit attached from January 2013 – the Cashback Scheme. From a pot of around £40m the government will provide households making energy saving improvements, with a voucher. Once the work is complete the voucher can be exchanged for Cashback.
Eligible technologies include cavity wall and loft insulation as well as boiler upgrades and hot water cylinder insulation. While the Cashback pot is finite it does provide a further incentive for homeowners to invest in energy efficiency technologies.
When it comes to energy, consumers need to move away from the assumption that the provision of affordable energy is a right. Energy bills are expected to continue to rise over the coming years and it’s up to homeowners to directly make energy efficiency improvements to their homes if they hope to make savings.
Gone are the days of cheap energy here in the UK and consumers must take responsibility for their own consumption and moderating use wherever possible. While the Green Deal and the Cashback scheme provide some respite for homeowners looking to make improvements, the question about whether it will also encourage the unengaged remains.
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[author image=”” ]Alan has spent his career within the Electrical sector, previously working for a local electricity authority where he progressed from electrician to Contracting Engineer. After completing his Diploma in Management Studies Alan was responsible for managing Project Engineers in control of large contracts. Alan then spent a number of years as section leader for college lecturers within the electrical market. Alan joined the NICEIC as an Area Engineer at the start of the millennium and proceeded to be instrumental in the set up of a new government assessment & certification scheme which the business continues to grow. This culminated in gaining the position of Senior Regional Engineer, where Alan was responsible for managing around 25 staff and the related budgetary controls.[/author]