News story

Whitehall exceeds PM's 10% carbon target

**Government carbon emissions slashed 13.8%, reducing energy bills by £13 million ** **New 25% carbon-cut target set for 2015 …

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
  • **Government carbon emissions slashed 13.8%, reducing energy bills by £13 million **
    • **New 25% carbon-cut target set for 2015 **
    • **High street names kick-start home insulation trials **
    • **Responsibility deal launched for business **

The Prime Minister today announced that carbon emissions from Government HQs and offices have been slashed by nearly 14% in just one year, and told Whitehall it would have to go further by cutting emissions by 25% by 2015.

It is estimated energy bills have been cut by £13 million as a result of bearing down on energy wastage in government departments. The 10% target covered around 300,000 civil servants in 3,000 buildings. Between 14 May 2010 and 13 May 2011 more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 was saved.

The new 25% target for cutting carbon emissions will have an increased scope and include business-related transport.

Commenting on the 10% achievement, Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“A 13.8% cut in emissions in just one year is a great result and the civil service should be very proud of this achievement. But to be the greenest government ever we need to do more to stamp out energy waste in Whitehall, and make it easier for people and business to use energy more efficiently. That’s why I’m committing the Government to go further by reducing emissions by 25% by 2015.”

Energy and Climate Change Secretary The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP said:

“This achievement has shown that we’re serious about leading by example and, when we promise to cut carbon, we mean it. This is only the start and we’ve now got to get on and slash Whitehall’s emissions by a quarter by the end of this Parliament.”

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

“Not only have we hit the Prime Minister’s ambitious target and reduced our carbon emissions, we have slashed government energy bills - driving out waste and inefficiency.”

Improving the energy efficiency of Britain’s homes, buildings and businesses is a vital part of making Britain more energy secure.

The Government also announced today a series of business-led trials aimed at making it easier for people to insulate their homes and reduce fuel 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 Green Deal, which will start in autumn 2012 and is currently being discussed in Parliament, will mean households will be able to invest in home improvements at no upfront cost and repay through the expected savings on energy bills.

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, The Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP 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 are considering 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.

Another trial will focus on helping people to reduce energy consumption through better information:

  • Government will work with British Gas and Alert Me to investigate which channels of communication most effectively motivate consumers to save energy.

A new design of the front page of the Energy Performance Certificate was also announced today and will be launched from April 2012, with the information most likely to motivate an individual’s behaviour prominently displayed on the first page. The effects could be considerable: in the last 12 months nearly 1.4 million EPCs were issued.

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, which will help motivate more people to take action and make their homes greener.”

The Government has also announced today the launch of the 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.

Notes to editors

  1. Access all government energy data available online at the Cabinet Office website.
  2. The target to cut emissions from the Government estate by 10% in one year was announced by the Prime Minister on a visit to the Department of Energy and Climate Change in May 2010.
  3. The final table of carbon savings for each department is as follows:

Order Dept Weather- corrected emissions 2009/10 tCO2
(May baseline) Total emissions
14 May 2010 to 13 May 2011
weather corrected % emissions reduction against weather-corrected baseline tCO2

1 DfE 9,888 7,764 -21.5

2 DECC 1,212 953 -21.3

3 FCO 13,169 10,791 -18.1

4 CLG 21,725 17,874 -17.7

5 HO 30,615 25,229 -17.6

6 DCMS 1,707 1,421 -16.8

7 DH 12,261 10,307 -15.9

8 DFID 3,818 3,228 -15.4

9 LOD 13,015 11,050 -15.1

10 MOD 62,799 53,526 -14.8

11 CO 8,467 7,241 -14.5

12 DWP 189,722 162,728 -14.2

13 HMT 5,544 4,759 -14.2

14 HMRC 167,599 145,191 -13.4

15 UKSA 6,249 5,436 -13.0

16 DEFRA 12,487 11,034 -11.6

17 BIS 12,630 11,178 -11.5

18 MOJ 154,583 136,834 -11.5

19 DFT 22,057 19,688 -10.7

Pan govt 749,547 646,231 -13.8

  1. The Responsibility Deal will formally launch in the autumn and is part of a broader approach by the Government to establish new partnerships with business to achieve social objectives. The voluntary approach complements rather than replaces current government schemes.
  2. The new five-year commitment to reduce central Government greenhouse gas emissions by 25% for 2014/15 on a 2009/10 baseline will cover all greenhouse gases and business-related transport emissions, including travel by public transport, e.g. rail and domestic air travel. This is supported by a target to cut the number of domestic business travel flights by 20% by 2015 from a 09/10 baseline.
  3. Read the Behaviour Change and Energy Use report.
  4. DECC also published its Carbon Management Plan today.

Study participants’ response to Behaviour Change and Energy Use report

John McDonough, Carillion Chief Executive, said:
“Carillion is focused on improving the living conditions of millions of households across the UK by making their homes warmer and more affordable to heat. Our energy services business has been doing this at scale for more than 20 years by delivering energy efficiency solutions in partnership with a range of organisations including central and devolved government, local authorities and housing providers, and the major energy suppliers. This experience, together with a nationwide service capability, means Carillion can help shape and deliver Green Deal.

“Carillion has also pioneered the first privately financed projects to install renewable energy systems, such as solar PV, to drive the uptake of clean energy and to make low carbon living mainstream - transformation knowhow that can be taken forward into Green Deal.”

Paul Loft, Homebase Managing Director, said:
“It is essential people upgrade their homes to make them more energy efficient. It will save them a significant amount of money and make their homes more comfortable to live in. Homebase’s role is to help customers understand what they need to do and make it easy for them to complete their improvement projects.”

Don Leiper, New Business Director, E.ON Energy Solutions, said:
“Programmes like the Green Deal are going to be vital if we are to help our customers to save carbon, and money. Through our energy fit campaign, we’ve learnt that customers need tailored support and advice to make it easy for them to make changes at home, and even then it is often hard to turn good intentions into action. Customers need to see a clear business case for investing in energy efficiency measures but, as with many things in life, they may also need a little extra encouragement.

“We hope to carry out a series of Green Deal trials before the end of the year to look at that extra encouragement. These trials will help us to understand what our customers want from us as a Green Deal provider, and how we can make investing in energy efficiency measures an attractive proposition.”

Alex Laskey, co-founder and President, Opower, said:
“We are excited to be partnering with First Utility to deliver real, verified energy saving benefits to UK households who are facing ever higher bills. Our experience in the US has taught us that utilities that put the customers first and proactively help them manage their energy use have more engaged and satisfied customers. We expect to save First Utility’s customers real money, and look forward to sharing our results with DECC and the Behavioural Insights Team as they consider policies to realise the most customer benefits from smart meters in the years ahead.”

Mark Daeche, co-founder of First Utility, said:
“As the first UK energy supplier to roll out smart metering to all our customers, First Utility is delighted to be working with the Behavioural Insights Team and DECC to look at pioneering ways to help UK consumers save energy. We know that household budgets are under increasing pressure and that energy bills are part of that; enabling consumers to control those costs is essential and smart meters are the first step to achieving that. Giving consumers visibility of energy usage has an impact on their behaviour - 56% of our ‘smart’ customers surveyed believed that their smart meters and access to energy usage information had led to a change in their behaviour. As the largest independent residential supplier we are committed to our innovative approach and feel these studies will provide a real insight into the benefits smart meter technology can provide for consumers.”

Dean Keeling, Managing Director of British Gas Smart Homes, said:
“We know that households are facing stretched budgets and are worried about energy costs. Smart meters will help people control their energy use and cut their bills but, to be truly successful, we need to know the best way to provide personalised information so that customers change their behaviour. The trial will help set the foundations for how we help households across Britain use less energy and save money.”

Ben Earl, B&Q’s Environment Affairs Manager, said:
“We’ll be working closely with the local authorities in Merton and Kingston on this trial later this year with the aim of making it easier for communities to green up their homes together. The aim is to encourage more home owners to engage with their neighbours to incentivise each other and make their homes more energy efficient.”

Mary Turner, CEO AlertMe, said
“Energy is the only place where consumers don’t have visibility of what they are spending. AlertMe puts the consumer in control and our experience with customers in the UK shows that real-time visibility and relevant personalised information helps them to identify waste and easily integrate simple changes into their busy lives that saves them money. On top of this, by adding control and automation, consumers can do even more to manage their energy for maximum efficiency and savings. We are therefore delighted to be working with the Behavioural Insights Team and British Gas on this important project.”

Published 6 July 2011