Today the release of the UK Energy Efficiency Trends highlighted overwhelming support from the industry to remain in the EU. Overall, 79% of suppliers voted to stay and 64% of consumers said they’d vote to remain too. Rising energy prices were a particular concern for suppliers and consumers who worry prices might soar if the UK vote to leave the EU.
Consumers expressed concerns that the cost of buying energy saving technologies may also rise and that the potential roll back of EU-led policy initiatives by UK governments could increase uncertainty and undermine the business case for energy efficiency investments.
The report asked energy efficiency suppliers and consumers what Brexit outcome was in the best interests of the energy efficiency sector. Suppliers were overwhelmingly in support of an ‘in’ vote (79%) with 14% undecided and 7% opting for ‘out’. Consumer respondents were less certain, with 64% ‘in’, 30% undecided, and just 6% opting for ‘out’.
When asked about the potential impacts of a Brexit, 57% of supplier respondents would expect UK energy prices to rise and 42% of consumer respondents also anticipated energy price rises.
Both suppliers and consumers were broadly positive about the impact of EU policy initiatives on the UK’s uptake of commercial sector energy efficiency initiatives. On the supply side, respondents agreed that the following EU policies had had a positive impact:
– Display Energy Certificates (68%)
– Energy Performance Certificates (68%)
– Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (76%)
– EU Emissions Trading Scheme (61%)
When asked the same question, commercial sector energy efficiency consumers were also generally positive, although slightly less markedly, giving the following responses:
– Display Energy Certificates (61%)
– Energy Performance Certificates (67%)
– Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (48%)*
– EU Emissions Trading Scheme (48%)*
*NB: Of the remaining 52% in both cases, the majority stated they didn’t know if these policy initiatives had increased the uptake of energy efficiency, suggesting a neutral view.
The report showed that uncertainty around Brexit had impacted 60% of supplier respondents’ business investment decisions but had no impact on EU-based orders, staff recruitment or sale prices.
Commenting on the findings, Ian Jeffries, Director at EEVS, said: “From this research we see that the UK energy management sector has planted itself firmly in the ‘remain’ camp on the Brexit debate.
“As well as an expectation that ‘leave’ would drive up the capital cost of energy saving technologies for consumers and lead to higher energy prices for all, both suppliers and consumers were fearful that the UK government’s poor record on energy efficiency would see well-established and popular EU policies that support energy efficiency, such as energy performance certificates in buildings, being scrapped to the detriment of the sector.
“With less than 7% of respondents supportive of a UK exit from the EU – and with political and economic uncertainties already reported to be holding back investment in energy efficiency schemes – from this research the energy management industry’s stance on Brexit is an overwhelming ‘remain’.”
Michael Rudd, partner specialising in energy management at international law firm Bird & Bird, said: “The EU has played a key role in energy management to date, through setting targets and legislating to improve energy efficiency in buildings and products.
“It has also provided some certainty in the energy management sector and contributed to investors’ confidence; the intangible effect on investor confidence may be the most important consequence of any Brexit.
“Some are concerned that Brexit could lead to the UK government moving away from new law or policy requiring energy management improvements, certainly when faced with criticisms from certain stakeholders regarding the current policy framework (e.g. excessive “red tape”).
“Others argue that a Brexit could result in the UK government and industry supporting and possibly requiring further energy efficiency improvements, perhaps as the government pulls further back from subsidising renewable generation.
“We are seeing growing momentum in the market now, regardless of the Brexit referendum; driven in part by the UK’s proactive energy consumers and other key stakeholders, but also by commercial requirements and the business impact of (high) energy costs.
“Our view is that the competitiveness of UK industry demands higher energy productivity, whether Britain remains in the EU or not.”
Richard Singleton, Managing Director, Corporate, at Bellrock said: “As a UK-based business with international clients, the uncertainty reflected in the report over the potential Brexit is certainly reflected by our own experience.
Decision-making is stagnating, and not just for energy efficiency projects, although this is not as true for our healthcare and education sector clients.
“We often experience a similar but more wide-reaching slow down, coming up to a general election, however unlike an election there are ramifications beyond the decision from the referendum. The long term trend for lower capital projects will probably continue therefore, until such a time as there is confidence in the clarity for trade and stability for the economy in general.”
The report is delivered by a research partnership between EEVS and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and is supported by Bird & Bird and Bellrock.
New respondents are always needed to complete the survey. The ideal respondents fall into two categories:
– Directors within energy efficiency supply, consultancy and finance organisations
– Those responsible for reducing energy consumption within their own organisations
There is no restriction on size of organisation. Those interested in taking part in the next survey can register using this link.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
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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