Energy efficiency drive could cut UK consumption by 11% by 2020

A government energy efficiency strategy has outlined a range of measures that could slash UK energy usage by 11% by 2020.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s energy strategy sets a target of cutting 196TWh, the equivalent of the output from 22 power stations, from the UK’s total energy consumption by the end of the decade through a programme targeting domestic, commercial and  public sector efficiency.

Among its proposals, the strategy confirms a national roll-out of RE:FIT, a programme launched by London Mayor Boris Johnson to improve the energy efficiency of public buildings.

The strategy will also see the establishment of five so-called ‘end use energy demand research centres’, which will investigate how to change household and business consumption of energy. The centres will receive £39 million of government and industry funding.

A further initiative is an energy efficiency labelling trial, which the government will run with retailer John Lewis. The trial will test whether the provision of labels showing the lifetime running costs of household goods will influence consumer purchasing behaviour.

Overall, the government believes its policies, such as the flagship Green Deal initiative, are effectively targeting domestic energy use, but wants to see more action on commercial and public sector energy efficiency.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said: “Using energy more wisely is absolutely vital in a world of increased pressure on resources and rising prices. Not only can energy efficiency help save money on bills and cut emissions, it can support green jobs, innovation and enterprise.

“This is Britain’s first comprehensive energy efficiency strategy and sets out the action we are taking now, as well as what we will do in the future to ensure the UK continues to be a global leader in reducing energy use.”