The Welsh government has set a target of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from households by 3% annually. This may seem hard to achieve in a country where 60% of the energy goes to heating spaces, 20% to heating water, and 14% to powering appliances. However, a report compiled by the Energy Savings Trust says that this can be achieved by doing the same thing that is being emphasized—replacing boilers, heaters, and other appliances with more energy efficient ones.
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The Cost Involved
Achieving the set targets will not only be easy, but also will usher in a host of benefits to the environment, the citizens, and the government. According to the report by EST, taking these measures can see the households reduce carbon dioxide emissions to about 5 million tons annually by 2020.
However, it will require investment from the government to facilitate a smooth transition to use of energy efficient appliances. EST estimates that the Welsh government will be required to spend about £860 million to £1.3 billion in the coming five years. This does not differ much from a report published by Cambridge Econometrics and Verco, which estimates that an investment of about £800 million is necessary from the Welsh government if the country is to achieve the target set by the U.K. to enable every household to achieve home energy efficiency SAP rating of C. The sum may seem huge, but it is not hard to come up with the money.
As a matter of fact, it is in the citizens’ welfare to come up with the money as it is estimated that about 7,000 people will die unnecessarily because of exposure to cold. The Treasury is set to receive about £690 million through VAT and carbon taxes in the coming five years according to the National Energy Action Organization. It is only natural to expect the government to come up with the deficit to reach the £860 million needed to support this change—everyone is pulling their weight, like the Scottish government that is proposing to invest £114 per year to achieve optimal home energy efficiency. Besides, the government is legally obligated to make this investment since the Well-being of Future Generations Act is now in force.
As mentioned earlier, there is a host of benefits to be gained from making Welsh households energy efficient. According to the EST, they will even surpass the cost that the government will incur when funding the transition to home energy efficiency. It is estimated that £3.20 will be realized through increased GDP for every £1 spent by the government to fund the program. Additionally, £43 million in energy bill savings will be realized, and a net amount of £248 million will be realized annually from the same.
The country will also reduce its natural gas imports by 26% by 2030, which will be equivalent to £155 million by then. Many people will also be saved the discomfort, diseases, and even death caused by fuel poverty during the cold season—NHS will also stand to gain 42 pence for every £1 spent on reducing fuel poverty. The country’s workforce also stands to benefit from increased employment. This transition will require that homes be refurbished and that new and better appliances, boilers, and heaters be produced and sold. Hence, it is estimated that about 5,400 jobs in the construction and service sectors will be created each year. Finally, 1.18MtCO2 reductions will be gained yearly by 2030.
Everything seems smooth and simple, from transitioning to better home appliances to getting the money to facilitate this transition. However, there is a catch; according to EST, success will be dependent on whether power stations in the country will decrease consistently by the rate set by the U.K. government.
Additionally, despite the fact that Wales makes up only about 5% of the U.K. population, its homes are harder to improve. As such, 6% of the costs estimated by the U.K. government have been assigned to the Welsh government. It, however, it stands to reap 5% of the benefits. Conclusion
It is important for Wales, the U.K., and the world as a whole to ensure optimal home energy efficiency. It will not only contribute to better living and increased economic gains, but also ensure a bright future for the coming generations. Fortunately, it should not be hard to achieve if the government plays its role through funding and if the citizens play their role by transitioning to energy efficient appliances, boilers, and heaters.