£100m boost for green homes

The government is investing £100 million to help households improve their green credentials.

The little-used Energy Savings Trust will be re-vamped to enable it to conduct home energy audits, as well as offering advice on reducing waste and water use and connecting to grants and offers from energy companies.

The trust says this will enable it to transform from a reactive to a proactive service.

More than a quarter of carbon emissions are emitted from homes and reducing individuals’ carbon footprints will be crucial if the government is to meet targets – set down in the climate change bill – for reducing carbon emissions.

Announcing the Green Homes Service this morning, environment secretary Hilary Benn said: “When it comes to cutting your carbon footprint, the old adage ‘there’s no place like home’ really is true.

“We need to make this as easy as possible for people to do. There’s a lot of help out there in the form of grants, advice, and other assistance, but it’s hard to know where to start.”

He said the new-look Energy Saving Trust would act as a one-stop shop to extend the use of renewable energy at home and improve efficiency.

The government wants 150,000 homes to be generating their own renewable energy by 2011, but recognises householders will need government help to meet this goal.

Mr Benn continued: “The Green Homes Service will cut through the confusion by providing a one stop shop, including a green MOT for your home and a green home makeover.”

Housing minister Yvette Cooper is also backing the initiative, which launches on April 1st 2008.

Today sees the prime minister deliver his first major speech on the environment, where he will attempt to counter criticism that “Brown isn’t green” by announcing tough new targets reducing emissions.

Gordon Brown told reporters this morning that climate change offers a “huge opportunity” for the UK to lead the world in environmentally friendly industries.