As the cost of electricity is set to double over the next ten years, an easy-to-use toolkit has been launched to give Scotland’s local authorities real-time information on how many millions they would save by phasing in energy efficient LED street lights. Across Scotland, there are nearly 900,000 street lights costing local authorities £41 million in annual electricity charges. The street lights also impact on the environment by releasing 199,091 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. Developed by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) and supported by the Scottish Government through its Resource Efficient Scotland (RES) programme, the toolkit allows councils to input their current street lighting data which in turn calculates what the reduced electricity usage would be if they changed to new, energy-efficient LED lighting. The toolkit also calculates what level of investment is required by the council to replace its old lights with new LED fittings, and the payback period of the loan. With councils under constant pressure to make the best use of limited budgets, SFT is encouraging them to use the toolkit which has demonstrated in trials that the average council can save between 60-70% of their present electricity costs, whilst also benefitting the environment.
With over 7 million households lacking solid wall insulation, 6 million lacking cavity wall insulation and over 7 million having inadequate loft insulation, Neil Marshall, Chief Executive of the NIA is today calling on all party leaders to make energy efficiency retrofit of the nation’s housing stock a national infrastructure priority supported by additional funding from the Government Infrastructure budget and to pledge to provide support to 6 million low income households by 2025.
Friends of the Earth Scotland today launches a new film documenting some of the best examples of community owned and operated renewables from across Scotland. Friends of the Earth Scotland community power campaigner Anne Schiffer said “Community groups across Scotland are leading the way in moving from dirty fossil fuels to harnessing our vast renewable energy potential. This film shows how ordinary people have made this journey, celebrates local success stories and will hopefully inspire others to start their own project.” It has also launched a report: From remote island grids to urban solar co-ops
Meanwhile, Bibi van der Zee explores the growing community of energy groups to find out how they are changing the way we think about our energy system and our relationship with it.Carbon Co-op in Manchester,Green Prosperity in Hull and Repowering London are three examples of this community energy revolution.
Labour’s Caroline Flint has today declared “war on cold homes”, as she unveiled the opposition’s new strategy for improving the energy efficiency of five million homes over the next 10 years. Delivering her keynote speech to the Labour Party conference this morning, the Shadow Energy and Climate Change Secretary confirmed heavily trailed plans for a new five-point strategy designed to tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions by saving energy in the home. The National Insulation Association said “believe that there is scope to go further, faster. Additional funding would enable the 6 million low income households to be treated more quickly and this could be forthcoming from the National Infrastructure Fund.”
The City of Edinburgh Council is embarking on an energy retrofit programme for its buildings. It will become the first Council in Scotland to sign up to the RE:FIT programme. This award-winning energy retrofit scheme has been designed to help public sector organisations achieve substantial financial savings, improve the energy performance of their buildings and reduce their carbon footprint.
A solar-powered house in Leicestershire is performing better than expected, according to an interim report into the effectiveness of its energy system. The Solar House was built in Great Glen, Leicestershire, last year by a consortium led by Caplin Homes, and it is said to the UK’s first newbuild home to be fully powered by solar energy. It is said to use a unique combination of new and existing technologies to meet its full annual heating, hot water and lighting requirements. The project is intended to demonstrate that zero carbon house building is both practical and financially viable.
Passivhaus is known as the world’s leading energy efficiency standard for buildings. It drives building energy consumption down as much as 90%. This means paying very close attention to how a building is designed, detailed and constructed to ensure energy is used efficiently and not wasted. It means undertaking very detailed energy and performance modeling during the design process. This can all seem a bit complicated and geeky, so why not leave it to the geeks who love this kind of thing? And only Treehuggers are so into saving energy aren’t they? Actually, no. Here are three reasons why you should care about Passivhaus: Climate Change, EU legislation, and because you can make a difference.
The declining popularity of the traditional washing line is costing British families at least £120m a year, as tumble dryers are routinely used throughout warm summer months. More than half of all households who own a tumble dryer use it at least once a week during the summer, according to the Energy Saving Trust. The organisation, a charitable foundation which offers advice on cutting energy bills, said that a typical household could save £18 from their annual electricity bills “by line drying clothes instead of tumble drying” during June, July and August.
Pioneering UK lighting retailer BLT Direct is emphasising the fact that Britain could save £1bn in energy bills every year simply by switching to energy-efficient light bulbs – the equivalent of £50 per household, per year. The experts in energy-saving lighting solutions are calling on homeowners to revamp their home with advanced light bulbs that could save around 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Figures show that if everyone in the UK switched to LED light bulbs, or a similarly efficient alternative, we could viably save the amount of energy generated by two whole power stations every year. The power saved could be funnelled elsewhere, or removed from the system entirely with the shutting down of these emission-heavy plants. The average number of light bulbs in a UK household is 24 – and if everyone managed to switch their bulbs for retrofit LED alternatives, the savings in both power and money would be staggering.
The government has published proposals to lift fuel poor homes to a Band C energy efficiency rating by 2030. The new proposals will mean that future governments will be legally required to lift as many fuel poor homes as is reasonably practical to EPC Band C. The department of energy and climate change (DECC) plans on introducing a staggered system that would see as many homes as possible raised to Band E by 2020, and Band D by 2025. Ed Matthew director of the Energy Bill Revolution fuel poverty alliance heavily criticised the new proposals. He said: “…this strategy is so full of holes they will never plug the UK’s fuel poor homes. The target to bring all fuel poor homes up to EPC Band C by 2030 is too far away and they have not committed to bringing homes up to this standard in one go, killing off the prospect of whole house retrofits and condemning millions of people to suffer the scourge of fuel poverty for yet another generation. Also by saying the government only has to do what is ‘reasonably practicable’ they don’t have to spend a penny on the programme. This makes the targets they are setting meaningless.”