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EPCs get re-design in bid to tackle grassroots energy efficiency

A new design of the front page of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) will be launched from April 2012, and a series of business-led trials have also been announced to help reduce fuel bills.
The re-design of the EPC is part of a range of measures to help gauge what is most likely motivate individual's behaviour to be more energy efficient.

Nearly 1.4 million EPCs have been issued in the last 12 months. The re-design will place the most relevant information more prominently on the first page which it is anticipated will have a considerable effect on improving the awareness of energy efficiency.

Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said: 'We risk losing our battle against climate change unless we make the built environment more sustainable. So it's right that homeowners and tenants across the country are given this opportunity through the Green Deal to make their homes warmer and cheaper to run.

'Making information about the energy efficiency of homes readily available and easy to understand is a vital first step in this process, and I welcome these changes to the Energy Performance Certificate that will help motivate more people to take action and make their homes greener.'

The Government also announced a series of trials aimed at making it easier for people to insulate their homes and reduce fuel bills. As part of the Green Deal, due to start in Autumn 2012, households will be able to invest in home improvements at no upfront cost and repay through the expected savings on energy bills.

The energy efficiency trials, many of which will include joint working with local authorities, will begin in September and will test how best to encourage people to take up the Green Deal.

The trials are outlined in a new report from the Government's Behavioural Insights Team, known as the 'nudge unit', and will be carried out and evaluated in time for the national roll out of the Green Deal.

Commenting on the trials, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne added: 'The Green Deal's going to be a real hit and will be a fantastic way for people to upgrade their draughty and energy wasting homes. But there are currently too many barriers standing in the way of people upgrading their homes - the cost, the hassle, and the lack of trust in the people who install the kit.

'It's great that high street names are getting involved at this early stage to road-test these exciting ideas about how to make it easier for people to take up the Green Deal and insulate their homes from rising energy prices.'

Examples of the trials include:

· B&Q and Sutton Council will be offering a subsidised loft clearance service to test whether removing the 'hassle' factor of insulation motivates people to make efficiency improvements. The unwanted contents of the loft clearance will be donated to local charities. B&Q will also test the impact of offering collective purchasing discounts to households for buying energy efficient products.
· Homebase and Carillion will team up with a local authority to test the impact of offering immediate rewards to residents for purchasing energy efficiency measures. The offer will include a one month's council tax holiday or vouchers to spend in store.
· First Utility/Opower will be conducting a randomised controlled trial to investigate the effect of behavioural feedback - including comparative consumption - on consumer energy use.
· British Gas and Alert Me will work with the Government to investigate which channels of communication most effectively motivate consumers to save energy.

The Government also announced was the launch of a Responsibility Deal which invites business and others to make a public commitment to reducing energy use by a specific amount by a specific date in the future.

Follow HVROnlineEditor on Twitter
7 July 2011

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