The UK has been the first country to put an obligation on energy suppliers (power companies) to save carbon, in 1994. A good overview of past schemes from the first Energy Efficiency Standard of Performance (EESoP) to the extended CERT  and CESP schemes ending in 2012 has been produced by Energy UK, available here. Figure 1 on page 5 shows the exponential growth in ambition for each subsequent scheme. The current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is the first scheme that constitutes a drastic reduction in ambition, and it underwent a further scale-back rather soon after its launch in 2013. It focusses on solid wall insulation and allows low-cost measures including cavity wall and loft insulation only for vulnerable and low-income households.

The Association for the Conservation of Energy assessed the number of lofts and cavity walls that has not yet been insulated under any of the previous supplier obligation schemes over nearly two decades, see their report “Dead Cert” is available from this page. ACE’s research found that:

At the end of 2012, when the Carbon E missions Reduction Target (CERT) ends and the new Energy Company Obligation (ECO) commences, there will remain approximately 6.2 million cavity walls and 8.5 million lofts suitable for insulation in British homes.

The market regulator Ofgem is responsible for the delivery of the ECO scheme. Unlike the predecessor CERT and CESP, Ofgem’s remit is not limited to calculating and monitoring the carbon savings, but spans across the entire delivery of the ECO and monitoring of compliance of assessors and installers with PAS 2030 “Improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. Specification for installation process, process management and service provision” (available from BSI for ¬£75 here). Annex B9 of this Specification calls for products to comply with a loft manual published by CITB Construction Skills. This document requires the use of a purpose-made, proprietary product for insulating the loft hatch (see section 5.4 on pages 11-12).

There are several purpose-made products available, but HatchThatch may be the most cost-effective and easiest to install. It will typically pay back within about six weeks during the heating season.

Energy Company Obligation