Britain unveils plan for home energy efficiency

LONDON: England's home owners will be able to fit their properties with energy-saving insulation at no upfront cost from the end of 2012 onwards, the government said on Tuesday, Nov 2.

Under a proposed plan called the "Green Deal", government-accredited insulation installers will make improvements such as loft or cavity wall insulation to homes and businesses for a fee, which homeowners or renters will pay in instalments.

The cost of each instalment will be deducted from energy bills and will be limited to the savings that the homeowner makes from the new insulation.

"At a time of increasing gas prices, energy efficiency is a no-brainer," Britain's Energy and Climate Change Minister Chris Huhne said in a statement released on Tuesday.

"It's also a massive economic and job opportunity, which could help Britain's economy turn the corner."

The government estimates around 14 million home insulation installations need to be carried out in Britain. It said it hoped to extend the deal to Wales and Scotland, which have their own laws on energy efficiency.

The roll-out of building insulation will add around 73,000 jobs to the industry over the next four years and employ up to 250,000 people by 2030 if all British homes make use of the programme, the government said.

The Green Deal will be rolled out in three steps, starting with a property energy efficiency assessment. Insulation installers will then equip the properties with the necessary improvements, while occupiers will repay the installation costs through instalments in their energy bills.

About 15% of homes on the list of properties to be retrofitted with energy-efficient measures are inhabited by people in the lowest income band, the government said.

By the end of this year, the government's Energy Bill will also outline a proposed law allowing tenants to require their landlords to install reasonable energy efficiency improvements in properties.

The bill will also suggest that local authorities can force home owners to make improvements to least efficient buildings.

The Green Deal, alongside investments into the wind power industry, will boost Britain's economy by up to 2%, Huhne said in September.

British Gas announced two months ago a £30 million (RM149.1 million) funding to improve home energy efficiency, which will start ahead of the government's policy implementation.

The utility aims to employ 3,700 staff working in the energy efficiency sector by 2012. — Reuters
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