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Report: Energy Efficient Homes Should Be UK Infrastructure Priority

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New research shows a programme to make homes energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority for Government. The Report confirms that energy efficiency can be classified as infrastructure and delivers economic benefits comparable to HS2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads.

Findings build on analysis which shows deploying infrastructure funds to support an energy efficiency programme could create up to 108,000 new jobs and boost Britain’s energy security. A coalition of 50 business leaders, representing over 100,000 employees, including Kingfisher, Knauf Insulation, Co-operative Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Keepmoat, Willmott Dixon and Worcester Bosch have called on Government to create new national infrastructure programme

Making this country’s homes highly energy efficient should be a national infrastructure priority, according to new independent research published by Frontier Economics.

The research reveals that a programme to make UK homes energy efficient would provide net economic benefits of £8.7 billion, based on the Governments own economic analysis, delivering comparable economic benefits to infrastructure initiatives such as HS2 Phase 1, Crossrail and new roads.

This builds on analysis from Cambridge Econometrics which shows that major jobs, economic and energy security benefits would be created as a resultof an ambitious energy efficiency infrastructure programme. It could:

• Reduce gas imports by 26%, strengthening Britain’s energy security

• Deliver a net increase in employment of up to 108,000 jobs

Over 50 leading businesses and energy leaders, representing over 100,000 employees, including Kingfisher, Knauf Insulation, Co-operative Energy, the Energy Saving Trust, Keepmoat, Willmott Dixon and Worcester Bosch have written today to the Chancellor, calling on Government to deploy infrastructure budgets to create a new energy efficiency national infrastructure programme.

This follows a move in Scotland in August where the five main political parties, including the Scottish Conservatives, committed to outlining plans in their manifestos to improve home energy efficiency through a “national infrastructure project”. Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has called on industry and consumer groups to work with the Government to make new, stable policy and build a system that works for the longer term.

The call for action comes as the Government is finalising its spending plans in the lead up to the Spending Review when £100 billion is anticipated to be allocated to support infrastructure projects over the next 5 years. If just £3 billion of this was allocated to an energy efficiency infrastructure programme, it could help establish a world leading energy efficiency programme if combined with current funding streams.

Director of the Energy Bill Revolution, Ed Matthew, said: “The Government has rightly decided that it is time for a rethink on energy efficiency. Now it is essential to develop a new, value for money infrastructure programme that works to keep our homes warm and bills down.”

“Today’s research is clear: investing in energy efficiency offers significant net economic benefits to the nation, comparable to infrastructure investments in roads and railways. A major energy infrastructure programme would boost GDP growth, reduce the UK’s reliance on gas imports and help deliver a net increase in employment across the country. It would also have the additional benefit of keeping energy bills down, reducing health costs and warming up the homes of the fuel poor.”

Sarah Deasley, Director at Frontier Economics, said: “The Government has identified productivity as one of the key economic challenges of our time. Our analysis shows an energy efficiency programme can boost UK productivity and has comparable economic benefits to other major infrastructure projects, providing excellent value for money. There is a strong case for energy efficiency to be made an infrastructure investment priority.”

Richard Gillies, Group Sustainability & Communications Director at Kingfisher, said: “Better homes lead to better lives and fixing Britain’s draughty homes would be a triple win. It would be good for bill-payers, good for our economy, and good for our environment too.”

“It would provide a massive boost to jobs and more than pays for itself. Ultimately, an investment in the infrastructure of our homes is an investment in the productivity and prosperity of the UK.”

This country’s draughty homes are amongst the most expensive to heat in Europe. The UK has one of the highest levels of fuel poverty in Western Europe, as well as one of the worst proportions of homes in a poor state of repair.

While most other European countries face higher energy prices than those of the UK, better quality home insulation means most of our European neighbours pay less to heat their homes. The UK scores poorly against other European countries on a range of measures, including the affordability of heating, the share of household expenditure going on heating, and the ability of homes to keep heat in.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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