25/11/2013 06:05 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

UK Energy Woes and Efficiency Solutions

After discovering that 90 per cent of Brits are concerned about increasing energy prices, it seems the perfect time to highlight the benefits of the energy efficiency schemes that are available to us, something which seems to have been gravely over looked in the past few weeks.

Alarmingly, the recent research that we carried out at Sustain also revealed that 16 per cent of you will need to cut back on household essentials such as food in order to pay the bills this winter - clearly this represents a fundamental problem across the UK. What's more, it has become apparent over the last year that government attempts to incentivise energy efficiencies in your homes are falling short, with 40 per cent of you claiming that you do not understand the energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall or loft insulation, that could be implemented in your homes in order to bring down energy bills.

What is ECO?

The Energy Companies Obligation (ECO) was introduced in January 2013 to reduce the UK's energy consumption and support people living in fuel poverty. It does this by funding energy efficiency improvements worth approximately £1.3 billion every year. The ECO will run until March 2015, supporting the installation of energy efficiency measures in low-income households and areas, and in properties that are harder to heat.

The Green Deal and the ECO will help to reduce carbon emissions from the UK's domestic building stock, which is an essential part of the UK's plan to meet its statutory domestic carbon emission reduction targets by 2050.

The ECO has three obligations to deliver:

- Carbon Saving Community: providing insulation and other energy efficiency measures to households in specified areas of low income.

- Affordable Warmth: providing heating and insulation measures to consumers living in private tenure properties that receive particular means-tested benefits. It supports low-income consumers that are vulnerable to the impact of living in cold homes, including the elderly, disabled and families.

- Carbon Saving: this covers the installation of measures like solid wall and hard-to-treat cavity wall insulation, which can't ordinarily be financed solely through initiatives such as the Green Deal.

You can find out if you are eligible for the ECO scheme here and you can contact the Energy Saving Advice Service to find out what kind of help you can get.

Action needs to be taken to encourage householders to save energy in order to bring down bills through energy efficiency and the government needs to be spending more time on making the UK familiar with the schemes that can achieve this, and the benefits of doing so.

£1 per week per household - the price of a cheap chocolate bar - is the cost of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), which is currently the only successful scheme in the UK aimed at reducing how much energy we waste as householders. It is a scheme that must be encouraged and it's important to consider that energy efficiency measures in the home are an investment - the sooner we learn to embrace that, the sooner we can reap the rewards!