CERT, or Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, was launched in 2008 to ensure the UK meets its statutory carbon reduction targets. It aims to cut carbon emissions by ensuring that every household in the UK is as energy efficient as possible. By helping home owners insulate their loft or cavity walls through insulation grants, the energy saved will help the Government reduce overall carbon emissions for the UK, in line with European targets.
Funding for the scheme is provided by UK Energy Suppliers with more than 50,000 customers (domestic households), these are British Gas, NPower, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and Scottish & Southern Energy.
Helping the most vulnerable
CERT requires these Energy Home Insulation Grants Companies to allocate at least 40% of their total funding to a 'Priority Group'. This is made up of a) households on certain benefits, b) those over over 70 and c) those on low incomes (under £16,190). This group is considered most in-need of assistance in (and the least likely to insulate their home without funding). For this group, CERT funding will pay for 100% of the cost of cavity wall and/or loft insulation.
The CERT scheme aims to cover every home in the country and not just those in the priority group. In fact, households outside of this group will still receive a grant for 40% off the cost of home insulation, in order to provide an incentive to install insulation and increase efficiency.
Home insulation grants are most effective
There are several ways in which carbon emissions can be reduced including heating, lighting, appliances and micro-generation. However, the most effective measure is home insulation grants which has accounted for 62% of the overall savings made since CERT began. Loft Insulation and Cavity Wall Insulation in particular account for the vast majority of the installations.
How funding is allocated
Funding from the big five energy companies for home insulation is allocated to insulation installers across the country. Households can then approach these installers directly who will deal with the necessary paperwork involved in claiming a grant for cavity wall insulation or loft insulation. Council and housing association tenants should contact their housing provider directly in order to apply.
Funding extended to 2012
In June 2010 it was announced that The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has voted to extend CERT funding to December 2012, subject to parliamentary approval.
The extension in funding means that a further 3 million homes who have not yet benefited from the grants can now do so.
Extensions to the scheme
The Green Deal scheme is currently being drawn up by Government Ministers. Early details to be released suggest that 'green loans' could be offered to homes to encourage micro-generation of power through solar or wind power. The initial cost would be covered by a loan that could be paid back from savings made in the home's energy bill.