Act on CO2 at Home
In the UK 27% of the carbon emitted is from our homes. It is very very difficult to make a home carbon neutral – but we can all do a few things to help bring down that percentage.
Where does electricity come from?
About two thirds of the electricity in the UK is generated by burning coal and gas in power stations. This releases millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for climate change. Of the remaining electricity, around a quarter of the total comes from nuclear power stations, with just a few percentage points from renewable sources such as hydro, wind or solar.
Can I buy just Renewable Electricity?
As all sources of electricity pass into the National Grid, it is not possible to buy only "100% renewable" electricity from the mains (or electricity from any other specific energy source). However it is possible to purchase electricity on a tariff that ensures every unit sold is matched by a renewably generated unit, and where the providers undertake additional actions to help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2, the main gas contributing to global climate change). In selecting a green tariff, you may wish to compare both the source of the electricity and the selection of additionality benefits that form part of the tariff.
How can I identify Green Tariffs?
We recommend looking look for a Green Tariff that satisfies the energy regulator Ofgem's Green Energy Supply Guidelines and has been certified under the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme which was launched in February 2010.
This guarantees three things:
Certified Green Tariffs are available from all the large suppliers and some of the smaller ones too.
- Your electricity will be matched by renewable energy;
- The tariff will also deliver additional environmental benefits;
- An independent panel will enforce rules on transparency and ensure there is an annual audit to ensure that the tariff is delivering the claimed benefits.
What are the additional benefits?
These will vary with the actual tariff chosen, but can include:
- Carbon Offsetting
Energy suppliers can purchase credits to offset the emissions from the generation of electricity by creating an equivalent carbon dioxide saving elsewhere.
- Green Funds
Some Green Energy tariffs donate money to charities or trust funds so that they can invest in new renewable projects, typically at a community level.
- Energy Efficiency Schemes
Green Energy tariffs can also support schemes that deliver energy efficiency benefits. These schemes are in addition to suppliers' obligation under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT).
For more information, including a full list of currently certified tariffs, please visit the Green Energy Supply Certification Scheme.