Increased energy performance in buildings has strengthened UK energy security, reduced energy supply infrastructure costs, and now saves the typical dual fuel household £490 per year. Between 2004 and 2015, gas consumption for a typical dual fuel household fell 37% and electricity consumption fell 18%, despite a significant increase in the number of household appliances. This saving was driven substantially by energy efficiency improvements – including in lighting, appliances, heating systems and insulation. But progress has now stalled.
Changes to Government energy saving programmes in the UK contributed to a 53% drop in the annual level of investment and an 80% reduction in the number of improvement measures installed in homes between 2012 and 2015. In addition, plans for higher energy efficiency standards for new homes have been halted.
However, the energy saving potential in UK homes has still to be fully tapped. A recent UK Energy Research Centre briefing found that cost-effective investments in residential energy efficiency and low carbon heating over the next 20 years could reduce energy demand by 25%. At current energy prices, this would reduce average household energy costs by £270 per year.
In total, this represents an energy saving equivalent to the annual output of six nuclear power stations the size of Hinkley Point C. Appraisal based on HM Treasury’s methodology finds that the net benefit of this saving would be £7.5bn (before considering wider health and economic benefits).