AROUND 25% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions come from our homes simply because they are poorly insulated (source: Defra).
These gases harm the environment and contribute to climate change.
In Britain every year we waste an incredible £5billion through poor energy efficiency (or a staggering £1 in every £3 we spend on heating). However it's not only our pockets that are suffering. Through wasted energy each household in the country emits around six tonnes of carbon dioxide a year - that's more CO2 emissions than the average car.
So, we have an important role to play in tackling climate change. And by taking simple and practical steps around the home not only can we conserve energy, we can also save money.
The Government also wants to help raise awareness about energy efficiency. The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, announced in his Budget extra funding of £20million over the next two years to help local authorities and others work in partnership with energy companies to promote and incentivise energy efficiency measures to households.
The Chancellor also announced that the Government has reached an agreement with energy suppliers - including British Gas - that they insulate an additional 250,000 homes at a subsidised rate over the next two years.
This could mean an annual carbon saving of 35,000 tonnes and reduce annual household bills by around £20million.
These extra homes are over and above the existing home insulation programmes energy suppliers provide and it means more households will have access to subsidised insulation packages.
A good example of how incentivising householders can be effective is the British Gas Council Tax rebate scheme where householders installing subsidised cavity wall insulation can benefit from a rebate of up to £100 off their council tax bills.
The programme was trialled initially in Braintree in Essex and its overwhelming success has resulted in a national launch of the initiative across Britain by the Environment Minister, Elliot Morley.
So far, the council tax rebate programme is available to almost one million householders with 16 local authorities already working in partnership with British Gas.
The company is already in discussions with a further 40 councils and is keen to persuade more councils to join the programme.
All energy suppliers offer home insulation deals and people can contact the Government-backed Energy Saving Trust (0845 727 7200 or www.est.org.uk) to find out about the help they can get from energy suppliers in their area.
Jackie Jones lives with her husband Jeremy and son Richard.
AN annual visit by a British Gas engineer revealed that her loft insulation wasn't at the required depth. Consequently, Jackie cleared all the unopened boxes out of her loft and arranged for proper insulation to be installed. Now Jackie is enjoying savings of around £90 on her annual energy bills.
Jackie says, "Even though it was hard work clearing the loft it was well worth it. We're really feeling the benefit, plus we managed to get rid of some of the rubbish we'd been hoarding. I'd encourage everyone to check they have the required thickness of insulation and if not, to get something done quickly. My sister has already had her loft insulated after seeing how we've benefited."