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Guest blog by Marian Spain, Director of Strategy at the Energy Saving Trust


It’s been a big month for climate change – two hugely significant pieces of legislation have been passed which will have a major impact on The Energy Saving Trust’s mission of a low carbon lifestyle: the Climate Change Act and the Energy Act.

The Climate Change Act is the world’s first long term legally binding commitment to tackle the dangers of climate change. The Government is now aiming for an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions rather than 60% as initially proposed, which is fantastic news. And the Committee on Climate Change has also published the first 3 carbon budgets recommending how Government will begin to discharge its new Climate Change targets under the Act. Many of the recommendations in the report are central areas of the Energy Saving Trust’s work and the committee agrees with our ‘Emission Impossible’ report, which shows the major part that household and transport energy efficiency plays in reducing emissions – and that the changes needed will bring real money saving benefits to individuals and the nation as a whole. This is great news for the Energy Saving Trust as it backs up the importance of our work.

The Energy Act contains two major victories for us. It introduces a feed in tariff to encourage the take up of micro and small scale generation. This will have a major impact on making it more cost effective for people to install their own renewable energy systems. If the price set for the tariffs is right, this could save up to 10 MtCO2 by 2020. Ministers will now consult on the details of a scheme and aim to have something in place by April 2010.

The Government has also promised in the Act to mandate household smart meters. Smart meters allow users to monitor their energy usage. Our ‘Green Barometer’ report on the impact of smart metering technology shows this could reduce householder gas and electricity consumption across the
UK by at least 5%, saving 7.4 MtCO2.

And finally, the Energy Saving Trust has published its own draft strategy, which shows what we will do to support people, save carbon and contribute to our new nationwide targets. We’ll be working in 7 areas:

  • An increase in energy saving behaviour

  • More energy efficient homes

  • Lower consumption products

  • More renewable energy and microgeneration

  • Sustainable low carbon personal transport

  • More efficient use of water

  • Less water produced

If you would like to give us your views on our plans, please follow this link