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How the average household could save £385 a year in energy costs

April 18, 2007 11:40 AM

Chris Huhne and Ming Campbell have announced the Lib Dems latest plans (www.libdems.org.uk/news/climate-change-starts-at-home-campaign.html) to save carbon emissions from our homes. These plans should save as much carbon as taking every car in the country off the road. They are crucial to tackling climate change. More than a quarter of the carbon we burn comes from our houses, and we currently waste energy in our homes on a heroic scale.

We calculate that each household could save £385 a year in energy costs if our average energy bills were reduced to Swedish levels, even though Sweden has January temperatures which are 7 degrees Celsius below ours.

The secret is not just raising the standards for new build, but tackling our existing housing stock. More than three quarters of the houses we will be using in 2050 have already been built because new build accounts for less than 1 per cent each year.

This is where the Government has failed so lamentably: at present rates of progress, we will upgrade our housing stock only after 125 years.

Global warming does not give us the luxury of so much time.

Our proposals mark the first radical attempt to tackle the problem comprehensively. Householders would be assured that energy efficiency improvements would tackle the whole home not just cherrypicking the easy bits like loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, and also that the package will deliver because the results would be tested. Householders could finance the improvements in part with energy mortgages on the home and in part from a subsidy from the energy companies: the key to the proposal is to use fuel bill savings to pay the costs of insulation and other energy efficiency measures.

We also set new incentives so that energy companies will make more money when they encourage their customers to save energy, instead of making more money as now when they spend more on energy. We do this through an innovative scheme that gives permits to each energy company that are reduced from year to year: if the energy company sells more, it has to buy more permits. If it sells less, it can profit from selling its excess.

These plans have been warmly received by the National Home Improvement Council, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Association for the Conservation of Energy. Please read more about the plans in detail on the Liberal Democrat web site - www.libdems.org.uk

Please also sign up to back our Green Tax Switch campaign at www.greentaxswitch.com - and encourage your friends to also sign up. Once again, our party is setting the pace with practical plans to tackle climate change. The time for words is over. We now need action.