Why we’re backing ECO

One of the hottest topics in the energy efficiency sector right now is ECO and it can only be good news for the industry.

ECO, which stands for Energy Company Obligation, has taken over from the existing obligations - the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP).

The framework behind it remains the same – it’s basically a legal obligation placed on the ‘big six’ energy companies that requires them to promote improvements in domestic energy efficiency, including reducing emissions and heating costs.

The scheme is heavily linked to the Green Deal initiative that was launched earlier this year, and is part of wider moves being made by the Government to reduce UK emissions as part of the Climate Change Act 2008.

In simple terms, ECO aims to help improve energy efficiency in the domestic sector. In particular to support the poorest and most vulnerable households and the hardest to treat homes, who need additional financial support to be able to make improvements.

For ECO to work effectively, suppliers and Green Deal Providers like my team at Anesco, need to work together to provide the optimum mix of Green Deal finance and ECO subsidy. This means there is scope for much broader delivery partnerships to develop between the two.

With ECO, the emphasis continues to be a holistic ‘whole home’ philosophy to energy efficiency, which is a far more sustainable approach. It is helping to create local jobs through companies such as ours and is helping many of those households who may otherwise face fuel poverty.

We are already working with local authorities to deliver schemes funded through Green Deal and ECO, and it’s great to see the diversification it is promoting, with insulation an important focus but also covering measures such as efficient boilers and heating systems, glazing and lighting.

What always strikes me about any new initiatives announced by the Government is that people are often quick to jump on the negative. We saw, and continue to see it, with Green Deal where confusion over how the scheme operates has detracted from the real picture. But it is easy to criticise the Government without knowing all the facts and many concerns being raised are unfounded.