• 1. What Low Carbon Alternatives are Available?
  • 1.1      Micro Generation – Solar Panels
  • 1.2      Solar Water Heating
  • 1.3      Electric Cars
  • 1.4      Heat Pumps
  • 1.5      Small Scale Wind Generation
  • 1.5.1      Benefits of wind turbines
  • 1.5.2      Costs, savings and earnings
  • 1.5.3      Maintenance
  • 1.5.4      Savings
  • 1.5.5      How do wind turbines work?
  • 2. How can I save energy?
  • 3. How can I find out more information on low carbon initiatives?
  • 4. What is a smart meter? What do they do?
  • 5. Government low carbon initiatives?
  • 5.1 FIT (Feed in Tariff)
  • 5.2 Exporting energy
  • 5.3 How much you could earn from generating your own electricity?
  • 5.4 Technologies supported by feed-in tariffs
  • 5.5 How to apply for feed-in tariffs
  • 5.6 Work on your home
  • 6. What are SAP’s and EPC’s
  • 6.1 SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure)
  • 6.2 EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

1. What Low Carbon Alternatives are Available?

1.1 Micro Generation – Solar Panels

Solar panel electricity systems, also known as solar photovoltaics (PV), capture the sun’s energy using photovoltaic cells. These cells don’t need direct sunlight to work – they can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting


  • Cut your electricity bills: sunlight is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
  • Get paid for the electricity you generate: the government’s Feed-In Tariffs pay you for the electricity you generate, even if you use it (but check recent changes to the tariffs, which have reduced the amount you can get back).
  • Sell electricity back to the grid: if your system is producing more electricity than you need, or when you can’t use it, you can sell the surplus back to the grid. Read more about feed-in tariffs and selling electricity.
  • Cut your carbon footprint: solar electricity is green, renewables energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save over a tonne of CO2 per year – that’s more than 30 tonnes over its lifetime.

For more information visit:

1.2 Solar Water Heating

Use sun energy to heat water supply which will save money and energy. Participation in EMMA. Come see the twizy

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1.3 Electric Cars

Cars that use electrical energy stored in batteries or another storage device.

For more info visit:

1.4 Heat Pumps

They absorb heat from outside air and use it to heat radiators or heat water/air in your home.



Lowers fuel bills Need space to put it
Lower homes carbon emissions House needs to be very well insulated for system to work efficiently
Can heat your home and provide hot water Not good if you use Gas Central Heating
Need little maintenance


There are two types of system: air-to-air or air-to-water. Such systems can take heat out of the air as low as -15c!

For more info visit:

1.5 Small Scale Wind Generation

Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Forty percent of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for domestic turbines (known as ‘micro-wind’ or ‘small-wind’ turbines).

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1.5.1 Benefits of wind turbines

  • Cut your electricity bills: wind is free, so once you’ve paid for the initial installation your electricity costs will be reduced.
  • Get paid for what you generate: through Feed-in-Tariffs, you get paid for the electricity you generate even if you use it. What you don’t use, you can export to the local grid – and get paid for that too.
  • Cut your carbon footprint: wind electricity is green, renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants.
  • Store electricity for a calm day: if your home isn’t connected to the national grid you can store excess electricity in batteries and use it when there is no wind.

1.5.2 Costs, savings and earnings

The cost of a system will depend on the size and the mounting method: building-mounted turbines cost less to install than pole-mounted ones. For equipment and installation, with VAT at 5%:

  • a roof-mounted 1kW micro-wind system costs around £2,000
  • a 2.5kW pole-mounted system costs around £15,000
  • a 6kW pole-mounted system costs around £22,500.
  • Energy savings trust figures – refer to website

1.5.3 Maintenance

Maintenance checks are necessary every few years, and will generally cost around £100 to £200 per year depending on turbine size.

For off-grid systems, batteries will also need replacing, typically every six to ten years.

1.5.4 Savings

Building-mounted turbines tend to produce less electricity per kW than pole-mounted ones. A well-sited 6kW turbine can generate around 10,000kWh per year:

  • equivalent to around 5.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year
  • generating income and savings, if eligible for Feed-In Tariffs, of around £3,200 a year

1.5.5 How do wind turbines work?

Wind turbines use large blades to catch the wind. When the wind blows, the blades are forced round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity produced.

There are two types of domestic-sized wind turbine:

  • Pole mounted: these are free standing and are erected in a suitably exposed position, often around 5kW to 6kW
  • Building mounted: these are smaller than mast mounted systems and can be installed on the roof of a home where there is a suitable wind resource. Often these are around 1kW to 2kW in size.

Wind turbines are eligible for the UK government’s Feed-in-Tariffs which means you can earn money from the electricity generated by your turbine. You can also receive payments for the electricity you don’t use and export to the local grid.

2. How can I save energy?

  • Insulating your cavity walls
  • In winter close your curtains at night to conserve heat
  • Draft proof letter boxes, key holes and doors
  • Buy A Rated electrical appliances
  • Switch to energy saving light bulbs
  • Installing double glazing if you don’t have it
  • Loft insulation – council offers grants under CERT or what will become the Green Deal
  • Make sure your hot water tank is insulated with a thick jacket
  • Boil kettle for the exact amount of tea/coffee you need
  • Make sure you have a full load in your washing machine.

For more info visit:

3. How can I find out more information on low carbon initiatives?

4. What is a smart meter? What do they do?

  • Next Generation of gas and electric meter
  • Cut out the need for meter readings… done automatically by meter
  • Will be in all homes by 2019
  • Helps and encourages you to save energy
  • Meter faults can be identified remotely
  • It will reduce costs and complaints to the business
  • Data collected from the smart will help better manage the network –understanding power flows better
  • Benefit to network: There will be a reduction in overall energy consumption as a result of better information on costs and use of energy which drives behavioural change
  • There will be a shift of energy demand from peak times to off-peak times which will benefit the network.  The network will become less stressed.  These behavioural changes will benefit the network. Customer will be less likely to use energy during peak time as they will become more aware of their own consumption
  • Meter owners face a large risk of losing most of the value of the meter when customers switch energy suppliers, and switching by customers is relatively likely to occur
  • Accurate bills – bills based on exact energy use
  • 2 way communication between customer and supplier
  • Keeps track of energy you use at home ….. current and historical consumption data will be available
  • Be able to view your account balance any time
  • Provides feedback allowing consumers to easily distinguish between high and low levels of consumption
  • For more information visit:

5. Government low carbon initiatives?

5.1 FIT (Feed in Tariff)

For more info visit:

Energy suppliers pay households for generating their own electricity under the feed-in tariffs scheme.

If you generate your own electricity, for example with solar panels or a wind turbine, an energy supplier might pay you money for just doing this. These are called feed-in tariffs.

Your supplier will pay you a set amount of money for each unit (kilowatt hour) of electricity you generate.

The rates for feed-in tariffs vary, depending on:

  • the size of your system
  • what technology you install
  • when your technology was installed
  • whether the technology was put in by a certified installer
  • the energy efficiency rating of the building

Speak to your supplier to find out what exactly the rate for your technology would be.

5.2 Exporting energy

If you produce more energy than you use yourself, your supplier will pay you 4.5 pence for every unit you send onto the network. This money is in addition to the generation tariff.

5.3 How much you could earn from generating your own electricity?

As an example, a household with a 2.5 kilowatt solar electricity system could earn:

  • £920 per year for generating energy
  • £30 per year for exporting energy
  • £170 per year from savings on energy bills
  • This is a total of around £1,120 per year

5.4 Technologies supported by feed-in tariffs

To qualify for feed-in tariffs, your installation must be no more than five megawatts capacity. Technologies covered by the scheme are:

  • PV solar panels
  • wind turbines
  • water turbines
  • anaerobic digestion (biogas energy)
  • micro combined heat and power (up to two kilowatts)

Your technology must also be installed by a certified installer.

If you move house, you will need to arrange the transfer of the feed-in tariff to the new owner or tenant.

5.5 How to apply for feed-in tariffs

Here is what you need to do to apply:

  • do a home energy check to make sure your property is as energy efficient as possible
  • decide which technology is right for your property – see here or talk to an expert to decide this
  • have the technology installed by a certified installer
  • get a feed-in tariff qualification certificate from your installer
  • send a copy of the certificate to your energy supplier
  • your supplier will check the certificate and let you know if you qualify for a feed-in tariff
  • if you qualify, your supplier will register you and send you a confirmation
  • you agree with your supplier how often they will pay you (eg monthly, quarterly)

5.6 Work on your home

A surveyor from an installer will recommend whether a home is suitable for insulation, and will check eligibility entitlement to free or heavily subsidised help.

Not all homes are suitable for cavity wall insulation (for instance homes with solid walls), but if your home is suitable, you could get free or subsidised loft or cavity wall insulation where none exists, as well as access to a range of other measures.

6. What are SAP’s and EPC’s

6.1 SAP (Standard Assessment Procedure)

SAP has been adopted by government as part of the UK national standard for calculating the energy performance of buildings.

Every new house has to have a SAP rating.  It provides a simple means of reliably estimating the energy efficiency performance of your home.

SAP ratings are expressed on a scale of 1 to 100 – the higher the number, the better the rating.

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6.2 EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) give information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce your energy costs.

EPCs carry ratings that compare the current energy efficiency and estimated costs of energy use with potential figures that your home could achieve. Potential figures are calculated by estimating what the energy efficiency and energy costs could be if energy saving measures were put in place.

The rating measures the energy efficiency of your home using a grade from ‘A’ to ‘G’. An ‘A’ rating is the most efficient, while ‘G’ is the least efficient. The average efficiency grade to date is ‘D’. All homes are measured using the same calculations, so you can compare the energy efficiency of different properties.

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