Energy Saving


Climate change is becoming an increasing concern, both in the UK and worldwide. Levels of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, one of the main causes of climate change, have risen by more than a third since the industrial revolution and are now rising faster than ever before. This has led to rising temperatures and some quite significant environmental changes.

  • Ice caps retreating
  • Artic sea ice has thinned by 40%
  • Global mean sea level rising an average of 1-2mm a year
  • Global snow cover decreased by 10% since 1960's
  • 'El Nino' events more frequent and intense
  • Increased use of the Thames Barrier from once every 2 years to 6 times per year over the past 5 years
  • Weather related economic losses increased by 10 fold over the last 40 years.

In light of these concerns, the Government has committed to a target of a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.

The Kyoto Protocol

Kyoto is an agreement made under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). With other EU members, the United Kingdom ratified the protocol in May 2002. It has committed to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (and five other greenhouse gases) to 92% of 1990 levels by 2008/12. Failure to achieve the savings will result in a "fine" of additional emission reductions relative to other countries in the next reduction period.

The EU Directive

Directive 2002/91/EC of the European Parliament and Council on the energy performance of buildings came into force on 4 January 2003. Its purpose is to raise awareness of energy use in buildings and it is intended to lead to substantial increases in investment in energy efficiency measures.

The directive requires each member state to introduce legislation to raise awareness by 4 January 2006 for both domestic and non-domestic buildings.

About the UK housing stock

In terms of CO2 emissions, buildings are the biggest culprit in the UK, with domestic homes contributing more greenhouse gases than other buildings Up to a third of all the CO2 emissions from the UK are from the domestic home.

The Government seeks to change attitudes by raising awareness; by giving homeowners consistent information on how energy efficient their properties are the Government's aim is to stimulate improvement in thermal performance of the housing stock in the UK.

Energy Ratings provide a measure of the fuel cost and CO2 emissions of a property, similar to the miles-per-gallon and exhaust emission figures published for new cars.

Everyone benefits with energy conservation; the householder spends less on fuel, the Government meets targets and scarce resources are conserved. There is considerable scope for improvement.

More than 75% of cavity walls in existing dwellings remain un-insulated, more than 60% of loft spaces have less than 100mm of loft insulation and most heating systems are poorly controlled with low efficiency.

A typical 1960's house could have its fuel bills reduced by £200 per year for an expenditure of about £500 on additional insulation - an effective rate of return of 40% - Tax free and inflation proof.

For further information & related links visit:

>>  Energy Saving Trust

>>  Big Green Switch




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