Energy Efficiency measures can save the UK £7.5bn – but households need help

Good news for UK families who need help saving money on their fuel bills as a new report shows that investment in household energy efficient measures saves families and the UK economy enormous sums of money.

The report by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) finds that more efficient use of energy would save the UK £7.5bn, which is the equivalent of 6 nuclear power stations the size of Hinkley Point C.

They also highlight to Government that to achieve these savings substantial changes to Government Policy is required in order to incentivise households to carry out improvement measures, such as insulation and boiler replacement.

The report calculates that approximately a quarter of current heating and electricity use could be cut in a ‘cost effective’ manner, leading to households saving approximately £270 a year on their fuel bill.

A further quarter of current domestic energy use could also be cut, or as much as could be generated by 12 new nuclear power stations – but this would require investment in ‘longer payback’ measures such as solid wall insulation and heat pumps.

The UKERC says that prior to 2012, UK levies on energy were helping to drive down bills in England. They go on to state that without the policies, bills would be around £500 a year higher than they are now. 

They say bills could be lowered by hundreds of pounds further– but only if ministers re-instate widespread incentives to householders that were banished by David Cameron's decision to "cut the Green Crap" (environmental policies) in response to rising energy prices.

Dr Jan Rosenow, a co-author, told BBC News:

“The government has slashed spending on energy efficiency over the past few years, arguing that it would reduce energy bills.

“It just is ludicrous to cut efficiency programmes to bring down bills… you want to increase spending on efficiency to bring down bills.”

Nick Eyre, Professor of Energy Policy at Oxford, said:

“The 'Green Crap' reduced energy bills. Until that’s understood and acknowledged we’re not going to make any progress on this agenda.”

Elmhurst welcome the comments in the report that broaden the wider benefits of energy efficiency into other areas: “In addition to energy savings, upgrading homes delivers a wide range of persistent benefits to the economy and society, such as improved health, better comfort, increased productivity, more skilled employment and reduced investment in electricity networks – all of which are hallmarks of modern, low carbon infrastructure. These in turn can contribute to broader policy objectives, such as relieving pressure on the NHS, supporting households who are struggling to make ends meet, and reducing fuel poverty.”

Stuart Fairlie – Technical Director at Elmhurst Energy: “We welcome the report by UKERC, and its attempt to make it clear that energy efficiency is vital if we are to make people’s homes warmer and cheaper to run. The ‘fact’ that bills have actually reduced over a period due to measures being installed is proof it works. Whilst supply of energy has dominated most of the current political focus, it is essential that we invest and much time and effort to reduce our demand, which is something that we at Elmhurst have long campaigned for.”


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