Author Archives: Rebekah Phillips

Government needs a national communications plan for energy efficiency

“[Consumers will] want a joined up experience of the government’s energy policies, regardless of the individual policy mechanisms and their origin.”

This quote could so easily have come from the report that Faye Scott and I wrote for Green Alliance that was published this week. Neither Sermons nor silence: the case for national communications on energy use argued for a joined-up national communications strategy for all household energy policies. But these quotes didn’t come from our report, they came from DECC, from their recent consultation on how to engage consumers on the smart meter roll out. Read more

The rise of the screens: why electricity use keeps increasing

The Energy Saving Trust’s recent report The Elephant in the Living Room shows that our growing use of appliances for home entertainment and computing means that domestic electricity use likely to keep rising – despite increased efficiency in other areas.

We are now using multiple screens at home, often simultaneously (smart phones, ipads, laptops, TVs in kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms) and by 2020 these will contribute the largest proportion of domestic electricity use. Read more

The smart meter roll-out: why more green groups need to get involved

Recently DECC released three consultations on the delivery of smart meters to every home in  the country. The first on technical specifications, the second on the code of practice detailing how the installation should take place and the third on how the data from smart meters should be accessed and shared.

These are critical consultations for delivering energy savings in the UK. But there’s a danger that energy savings won’t be at the forefront of DECC officials’ minds when they’re considering the responses. That’s because not very many people are likely to mention it. Read more

Assessment shows government’s energy efficiency policies at risk of failure

At the heart of the Conservative and Lib Dem agreement to form government is the Coalition Programme which sets out what the government plans to do during its five year term.

Now Green Alliance, and four other NGOs-  WWF, RSPB, Greenpeace and Christian Aid- are holding them to their word when it comes to policies to tackle climate change. Read more

RHI to get behavioural makeover

The Cabinet Office “Nudge unit” brought out its report on behaviour change and energy use this Wednesday, buried in a news week dominated by the scandal of phone-hacking and the implosion of the News of the World.

Whilst there is a lot to question in it- more on which to follow next week- I just wanted to highlight one great element: until the roll out of the full domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) next year, the government will be considering how to apply behavioural insights to the policy design of the RHI to maximise uptake. Read more

Is the Green Deal getting greener?

The Energy Bill has had its second reading in the Commons this week, in a debate that was characterised by an amazing degree of cross-party consensus. Whilst most MPs were arguing over how to make the Bill stronger in one way or another, there was not a single dissenting voice disputing the need for energy efficiency. This is the beauty of energy saving, it is a win-win situation for all involved.

But most positive about the debate was the glimmer of hope that the Green Deal was about to start getting a bit greener. Right now I’d put it in the pale celadon category, which for those of you not expert in colour variations is the pale tint of green seen in spring; ie promising shoots, but a long way to go. Read more

Designing the Energy Bill for success

Every government comes in with good intentions on energy saving, and leaves having made only a marginal impact on UK energy demand.  This government has ambitions to change that with the Green Deal.

Chris Huhne has said it will be a “radical programme to bring our houses out of the dark ages”, while Greg Barker  has called it a “game changing way of improving energy efficiency.”

The Green Deal certainly has great potential. But as governments in other countries have learnt, removing the upfront cost of insulation and other energy efficiency measures doesn’t mean that people will install them. Read more

Three free flights with your insulation, Sir?

In today’s Times Chris Huhne was quoted as saying:

“We will legislate to allow the energy companies to incentivise owner-occupiers, so if they want to offer the chance of a cruise for two to the Norwegian fjords that’s something they can do through the eco-obligation. Or it could be a cash voucher, cash rebate, or rebate on your energy bill for a year or two years. It’s up to the energy companies.”

How about insulate your loft and get a hummer or a patio heater? Read more

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