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UK energy consumption falls



Despite coming out of a recession and entering economic growth, the UK’s energy consumption has decreased, new analysis shows. Typically increasing wealth leads to increased energy usage but energy efficiency measures appear to have rebuked this trend.

Analysis of government figures for the BBC News found that the average Brit is now using 10% less electricity than five years ago. In 2008 the average person used 1,951-kilowatt hours each year and over five years this gradually declines to 1,766-kilowatt hours annually.

The fall in energy despite a growing economy is likely to be linked to improved energy efficiency measures and government policy.

A report from the Committee on Climate Change, published earlier this month, found that whilst green energy subsidies could add £55 to households’ energy bills by the end of the decade, the full cost of this could be offset through energy efficiency measures.

Recent events also suggest that there is a strong appetite amongst consumer to become more energy efficient. The government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme, Green Deal, saw a £24 million fund that offered householders’ cash for taking out solid wall insulation become exhausted in just a day.

Speaking to the BBC, Dr Nick Eyre, from Oxford University, said, “Energy se always drops after oil shocks and recessions – but this current trend looks different. Energy use is lower than in 1970 even though the economy is twice as big – but it’s the first time in memory that energy has fallen so substantially –and it’s due to policy.”

He added, “It’s a real achievement. But we can’t be complacent – the improvements in home insulation have fallen back since the government introduced the Green Deal in 2013.”

Photo: Liz West via Flickr 

Further reading:

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Green app launched to help retailers with energy efficiency

73% of UK businesses failing to keep tabs on energy costs

Survey finds rising energy costs a priority concern across UK manufacturing base

Energy bills consumers’ top winter budget worry