Energy efficiency is sometimes dubbed the world’s ‘first fuel’ – and it’s certainly a resource that hasn’t been tapped to its potential yet.
Where you can reduce demand for energy in the first place, less needs to be generated, and the carbon and financial savings can be massive.
A new study from the UK Energy Research Centre suggests that the 25% energy savings you could make with cost-effective investment in domestic energy efficiency over the coming years would represent £7.5 billion net benefit to the UK.
What’s more, energy efficiency measures since 2004 have already saved bill-payers £490 despite the proliferation of home appliances and gadgets in that time period.
But there’s potential to do so much more, says the report. A technical overhaul of UK homes, enabled by new technologies becoming more cost effective, could cut bills in half compared to today. Such technologies include efficient appliances, renewable energy and new methods of installing insulation in the hardest-to-treat homes.
While new technologies to save and generate energy have to be welcomed, insulating walls, roofs and floors provides the bedrock of energy efficiency.
A ‘wrap it, then heat it’ philosophy should be underpinning both the upgrading of existing homes, and compliance with the energy efficiency requirements of current building regulations when building the homes of tomorrow.
This means that as much insulation should be installed as possible before considering low-carbon heating technologies – which only perform well when working in a well-insulated property.
It’s also important to note that insulation products like glass mineral wool are inert, effectively in place and providing high thermal efficiency for the life of a home. They require no householder intervention or control once installed, unlike renewable technologies. This means predictable performance; homes in regular use delivering on energy efficiency claims.
The report is quick to point up the added value of a major home energy efficiency push: savings from fewer cold-related health conditions, less pressure on the electricity grid, plus job creation and boosted economic prosperity.
It calls for public and private sector investment to make the transformation happen, backed by complementary legislation. However, it argues that political support for energy efficiency has been limited up to now, with a preference for low-ambition policies. This approach could see the UK falling short of Carbon Budgets to 2050, it says.
There’s a new wave of home building underway in the UK, but it’s certainly arguable that the retrofitting of existing homes has yet to be given the same sort of political backing. With pressing carbon targets looming, expect that to change in the coming years.
The construction industry has a massive role to play here, and it’s those firms placing energy efficiency at the heart of their work that will ultimately thrive. Bringing warmer, more comfortable and cheaper homes to the public is vital, as the UK faces up to the challenges of carbon reduction, energy security and rising living costs. Making wise insulation choices for the job in hand could prove pivotal in ensuring satisfied customers and bolstered reputations.
If you need help with a project, please feel free to contact one of Superglass technical experts to discuss you requirements in details.