Energy Saving Week

22 October 2013

Article by Matthew McLeod, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

This Monday saw the start of Energy Saving Week and it couldn’t have come at a more relevant time following announcements of energy price rises by several of the large energy suppliers so far ranging between 8 and 10 per cent. It is a campaign run by the Energy Saving Trust that aims to promote energy saving methods and to help people adopt new ways of saving energy both at home and in businesses. The Energy Saving Trust is an independent and impartial organisation, partially funded by the Welsh Government, which provides expert insight and knowledge to help people save energy and reduce carbon emissions. Energy saving week is just one of many campaigns and programmes it runs to achieve this.

Throughout the week expert tips are being released covering the whole energy efficiency spectrum. These range from home improvements to behaviour changes and are designed to make a difference to energy usage contributing towards bill savings. The Energy Saving Trust blog sets  out a four point plan for households to check what basic options were available to help them with energy saving:

  • Controlling heating properly:  Focusing on heating the rooms that are in use.
  • Draught-proofing: A cheap and easy way to stop heat loss, and probably necessary for all but the newest of homes.
  • Insulation: Stopping heat escaping and covering a wide-range of options to improve walls, floors, roofs, doors and windows at a variety of costs.
  • Effective heating systems: How using the cheapest fuel and the most efficient heating system has many potential savings.

Energy efficiency in Wales

The UK Government has responsibility for energy conservation in Wales subject to one exception – the Welsh Government has powers to encourage energy efficiency by means other than prohibition or regulation.

The Welsh Government has used its powers to fund two schemes (Nest and Arbed) that promote energy efficient home improvements. These complement two UK Government schemes: the Green Deal and the Energy Companies Obligation. These four schemes are briefly outlined below:

  • Nest – A Welsh Government funded scheme aiming to reduce the number of households in fuel poverty through energy efficient home improvements that can decrease the cost of energy bills. It is consumer led with eligibility requirements.
  • Arbed – A Welsh Government scheme partially funded by the European Regional Development Fund. It aims to combat climate change and reduce fuel poverty whilst boosting economic development by providing home improvements to entire areas as applied for by local authorities.
  • Green Deal – A UK administered scheme that aims to provide funding to householders making energy efficiency home improvements. The money is intended to be repaid through the electricity bill, with the repayments not exceeding the savings made from the improvements.
  • Energy Company Obligation (ECO) – A UK administered scheme where large energy companies are required to make home improvements to reduce carbon emissions and reduce fuel bills. Low income homes and vulnerable homes are particularly targeted.  In the Welsh Government’s draft budget for 2014-15 it has allocated an additional £32.3M capital funding that it says will secure further external private investment through ECO.

For the latest energy saving tips or information on all matters of energy efficiency, ranging from renewable energy production to Welsh Government grants available for energy saving measures (eg Nest), check the Energy Saving Trust website or sign up to the newsletter.

For more information on funding available for individual households see the Research Service’s Constituent Factsheet: Funding and Information: Home Improvements, Repairs and Adaptations