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Environmental Guide Launched to Address Retrofitting Houses to Reduce Carbon Emissions

UK Housing Minister Iain Wright launched a guide to tackling environmental emissions currently generated by households. He also announced that eight million Osram energy efficient light bulbs would be given out to housing association households over a 12-month period beginning in September 2008.

Greening the UK's 27 million existing households, which produce more than a quarter of all UK carbon emissions, is essential if the Government is to meet its target of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2050. Yet, until now, no definitive guidance on how to do this has been produced.

The light bulb scheme, an initiative put together by EDF Energy*, eaga** and the Housing Corporation, aims to reduce the electricity bills of the two million housing association households who might be vulnerable to fuel poverty and is expected to save 1.14 million tonnes of CO2 over a 10-year period - enough to fill over 230,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Each household will receive four light bulbs of various wattages with lifetimes of ten times longer (10,000 hours) than regular bulbs (1,000) and they will use 80% less energy than a standard one.

The initiative is part of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT), and by focusing on housing association households, ensures that it is reaching CERT's priority groups of lower income and older households.

The publication, Fit For the Future – The Green Homes Retrofit Manual, published by the Housing Corporation and written by ESD***, has been extensively peer reviewed and puts together essential information for any retrofit work to households being conducted in the UK.

Fit For the Future has been put designed for social landlords from housing associations and local authorities who are responsible for five million homes throughout the country representing over one-fifth of all households.

Housing Minister Iain Wright said of the Fit For the Future manual: “One of the biggest challenges facing this country is tackling climate change, and with homes accounting for around a quarter of carbon emissions in this country it’s clear we all have to work harder to reduce this.

“The government is committed to improving household energy efficiency and reducing emissions in both existing stock and new build housing. This includes measures such as encouraging the fitting of energy saving features for existing homes, and tightening the building regulations to make all new build homes lower carbon, and zero carbon by 2016.

“But we also need people to take the practical measures which reduce their carbon emissions. This is why I welcome the publication today of this manual which will provide information to help and encourage social landlords to make their housing stock greener, as well as the initiative to provide energy efficient light bulbs to millions of housing association households.”

Deputy Chair of the Housing Corporation Board Shaukat Moledina said of the Fit For the Future manual: “Fit For the Future has been designed to provide housing associations and local authorities with a clear, concise, reference manual. It allows them to make the best choices and develop the most effective strategy when it comes to 'greening' their existing stock. I believe this document will have a lasting impact on the sector, allowing for a more informed, customisable approach to environmental provision and retrofitting of social housing.”

EDF Energy Head of Energy Efficiency Richard Sykes said of the light bulb initiative:

“We are delighted to be donating eight million energy saving light bulbs to the Housing Corporation. This support complements the newly launched Fit for the Future manual and our own Climate Commitments, first announced in June 2007, in which we stated that we wish to reduce the proportion of CO2 arising from our customers’ energy consumption by 15% by 2020. These commitments also highlighted other business-wide actions to combat the effects of climate change. In developing ways of maintaining profitability while encouraging its customers to use less energy, EDF Energy is making a fundamental change in its whole approach to energy and energy services.”

eaga Commercial Manager Yashin Sarnaik said of the light bulb initiative: "As one of the largest providers of domestic energy efficiency solutions in Europe, eaga is delighted to be supporting this initiative. Household energy accounts for more than a quarter of all UK carbon emissions, so by making our homes more energy efficient we really can make a significant contribution to tackling climate change. Fitting CFLs is obviously just a part of this, but it is an increasingly important part. If you also consider the rising cost of energy, just lighting a house can account for up to 20% of electricity bills. Replacing standard light bulbs with the more efficient CFLs can reduce energy use by more than 25% in heavily used rooms."

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