I recently read an article in the The Times about people who have massively increased the energy efficiency of their older homes. One lady managed to cut her household carbon emissions by a whopping 70%, and reduced water consumption by 30%. In six months she lined the walls with wool fibre, installed a wood-burning stove, state of the art double glazing, a rainwater harvesting system and solar panels.

These types of improvements reduce the need for central heating as the house is better insulated. The key to keeping costs down when making major improvements like these is undertaking the work whilst other refurbishments are taking place.

People often don’t know where to start with energy saving home improvements – the Energy Saving Trust is here to guide people though the process and help them work out which measures will be appropriate for their particular property.

Another major barrier for people is the cost 'greening the house', especially more expensive technologies such as solid wall insulation, solar panels or wind turbines.  That’s where our work on the Pay As You Save initiative will come in – the scheme will pay the upfront costs for the improvements – then these will be paid back monthly against the savings made by using less energy.

It’s a win-win situation – people will pay the same amount as they would have done for their energy bills, but the amount they save will go into paying the upfront costs. Once these are paid off their energy bills will be lower. So they will never pay any more than they would have done without the improvements, and in the end they pay less for their energy bills! We will be piloting this scheme in the coming months, so watch this space!

3 bed semi