Using energy more efficiently
Using energy more efficiently is an essential part of our strategy for lowering carbon emissions in the UK.
Everyone has a role to play, whether as a consumer or in business. 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).
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 (£250+ annually). For example: draught proofing and insulation of hot water pipes can save £50 annually; cavity wall insulation can save up to £150 annually; top up of loft insulation can save around £25 annually; turning the thermostat down by 10C could save around £50 annually.
- Replacement of lights and appliances with the most efficient models as the stock turns over could save the typical household around £85 annually.
- Replacement of old boilers with energy efficient ones could reduce average household bills by £35.
- The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and the Green Deal help households to fund these measures and target energy efficiency measures for the fuel poor.
- 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 reduced the number of car journeys in those areas by 9%, and car kilometres by 5-7%.
- Purchase of more efficient vehicles offers significant fuel savings, which reduces costs as well as emissions.
- Many office buildings have scope for better insulation or more efficient heating systems.
- Businesses have many other opportunities to save energy – from efficient refrigerators or computers to better energy management. The Carbon Trust has a number of guides to help businesses to realise these opportunities.
- The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme encourages large private and public sector organisations to develop energy management strategies that promote a better understanding of energy usage.
- Energy efficiency can also enhance profitability in industry. Many opportunities exist (more efficient motors or combined heat and power) and the Government has negotiated Climate Change Agreements with 54 industry sectors to meet energy efficiency targets.