This POSTnote outlines the benefits and costs of future improvements in energy efficiency across various UK sectors. It then describes the barriers to energy efficiency measures, outlines options for future energy efficiency policy and summarises analyses of the effectiveness of different policy options.Jump to full report >>
Improving energy efficiency means using less energy (such as electricity, heat and transport fuel) to produce the same output or service. Examples of measures to improve energy efficiency include: insulating a home so that it needs less heating to reach the same temperature; installing a motor that uses less electricity to perform the same role in a manufacturing plant; and inflating car tyres to the correct pressure to reduce drag when driving and cut fuel use.
The key points in this briefing are:
The Government will set out future energy efficiency policies and proposals in its Emissions Reduction Plan in early 2017. Future energy efficiency policy choices will also arise from Brexit.
Energy efficiency improvements can reduce fuel poverty and greenhouse gas emissions and improve comfort, health, wellbeing, energy security and economic productivity.
Barriers to improvements include financial constraints, misaligned incentives, hassle, poor return on investment, lack of prominence and low confidence in results.
Regulatory, economic and behavioural policies could improve UK energy efficiency.
There is insufficient evidence to identify which types of policy are most effective.
POSTnotes are based on literature reviews and interviews with a range of stakeholders and are externally peer reviewed. POST would like to thank interviewees and peer reviewers for kindly giving up their time during the preparation of this briefing, including:
Authors: Paul Brack; Aaron Goater
The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.