Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Ed Miliband unveils 'green loan' energy plan for homes

Gas rings
Some 500 homes have already taken part in a pilot scheme

Plans to encourage householders to make their homes much warmer and cheaper to run have been announced by ministers.

Consumers will be offered long-term loans to install insulation, solar panels or other green technology, which they can repay through energy bills.

The government wants to save 29% of carbon emissions from UK homes by 2020.

Energy Secretary Ed Miliband said the scheme would lower energy costs but campaigners say not enough is being done in the short term for renters.

Moves to compel private landlords to make energy efficient improvements to their properties are not planned to come into effect until 2015.

Pilot scheme

The government says its plans will allow seven million British households to benefit from upgrades and create up to 65,000 jobs in the green homes industry.

We did quite a lot to curb our energy waste in the house already so a loan certainly won't be an incentive to us

Ministers say upgrades such as solid wall insulation can reduce energy bills by £380 a year.

Some 500 homes in Birmingham, Sunderland, the London borough of Sutton and Stroud, in Gloucestershire, have already tested a £4m pilot for the Pay As You Save scheme.

Mr Miliband told the BBC: "If you're potentially buying the house, what will you find?

"You'll find that the energy bills are significantly lower so, say, you'll be having a few hundred pounds off your energy bills and offsetting that you'll have a couple of hundred pounds in payments.

"So you'll think, well I'm better off, actually, because this house has significantly lower energy bills, although it's got this repayment built into it."

The Tories and Liberal Democrats say they came up with similar ideas in the past.

The Conservatives suggested energy efficiency loans for homes in proposals outlined in January 2009.

A host of measures were contained in the Zero Carbon Britain plan unveiled at the Liberal Democrats conference in 2007.

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