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OVO Energy and South Pole break new ground on carbon avoidance in the energy sector

Switching to an EV or a heat pump have the biggest carbon emission reductions compared to their fossil fuel equivalents. Image: OVO Energy.

Switching to an EV or a heat pump have the biggest carbon emission reductions compared to their fossil fuel equivalents. Image: OVO Energy.

OVO Energy has created a new methodology that calculates the carbon avoidance on low carbon products and services.

The energy supplier has partnered with environmental consultancy and project developer South Pole that measures the carbon avoided over a product lifecycle when a customer switches from an existing technology to a low-carbon version of it.

Rob Ellinson, consultant at South Pole, said: “For each low-carbon solution, we calculated a carbon avoidance factor that compared the emissions from a business-as-usual scenario to a low-carbon solution. For example, the emissions that are avoided through replacing a gas boiler with an air source heat pump.”

The results have shown that the products with the highest levels of carbon avoidance are those switching from fossil fuel to electricity sourced by renewable energy.

Switching to an EV or a heat pump had the biggest reduction of carbon emissions (between 1.5-1.6 tonnes), followed by those that reduced gas consumption associated with existing heating systems such as installing insulation.

Low carbon technologies do not only help reduce carbon emissions as shown by this new methodology, but can have a significant impact in reducing the energy bill, with up to £1,800 on energy costs saved per year according to a research from WWF and ScottishPower.

Behavioural changes to reduce energy consumption – switching the lights off or not leaving the appliances on standby – had a lower impact but could make a “substantial” difference at a larger scale overall.

So far the new methodology has reviewed 18 products within OVO’s existing and future low carbon solution portfolio – including roof insulation, electric vehicle (EV) leasing and heat pumps – and has been made open-source in order for other companies to follow suit.

Alex Thwaites, head of zero carbon living at OVO, said: "We're committed to becoming a net zero carbon business. A crucial part of that commitment is bringing customers on the journey to net zero by providing products and services to help them reduce their carbon emissions.”

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