Using energy more efficiently

Using energy more efficiently is an essential part of the strategy to lower carbon emissions in the UK.

Everyone has a role to play, whether as a consumer or in the workplace. There will always be a demand for energy, but the way we use it, and the amount we use, needs to change.  In most cases, it is possible to save energy and save money at the same time whilst still getting the same service, if not better (for example a warmer, more comfortable home).

Consumers:

There are a variety of ways consumers can save money and energy at the same time via low-cost measures:

  • Badly insulated homes lose a large amount of heat through walls, roofs and windows. Low cost measures can result in significant reductions in household heating bills (£350+ annually). For example: improved window glazing can save £70-90 per year; cavity wall insulation can save up to £115 annually; loft insulation can save around £100 annually; turning the thermostat down by 1°C could save around £50 annually.
  • Replacement of lights with the most efficient bulbs (e.g. LEDs) could save the typical household around £35-50 annually. Further savings can be made by choosing the most efficient models when replacing fridges, washing machines and other household appliances.
  • Replacement of old boilers with energy efficient alternatives could reduce a typical household’s energy bill by up to £115.

For more information see our 2017 report on Energy Prices and Bills.

  • There is scope to reduce car journeys (e.g. through car sharing, switching to public transport, cycling or walking, and remote working), which reduces travel costs and congestion as well as saving emissions. Sustainable travel town pilot projects have been shown to reduce the number of car journeys by 9%, and car kilometres by 5-7%.
  • Purchase of more efficient vehicles offers significant fuel savings, which reduces costs as well as emissions.

Business and other workplaces:

  • Many office buildings have scope for better insulation or more efficient heating systems.
  • Businesses have many other opportunities to save energy too – from using more efficient refrigerators or computers to better energy management. The Carbon Trust has a number of recommendations to help businesses realise these opportunities.
  • Energy efficiency can also enhance the profitability of industry. Many opportunities exist (e.g. more efficient motors) and the Government has negotiated Climate Change Agreements with 54 industry sectors to meet energy efficiency targets.