Information for customers
The cheapest energy is the energy that we don’t use. Taking steps to improve the energy efficiency of the home is an effective way to save money on fuel bills this winter, and in the long-term.
Did you know?
The UK has some of the oldest and leakiest housing stock in Europe, with properties built pre-1919 as the most challenging to keep warm due to their solid wall construction. The Government has a target to upgrade as many properties to EPC Band C by 2035 as possible, but most homes are currently rated D or below.
Energy efficiency and Net Zero: the big picture
- Our buildings are responsible for contributing 20% of the UK’s total emissions, the majority of which come from heating.
- The Climate Change Committee estimates that in its ‘balanced Net Zero pathway’, £55bn will need to be invested in home energy efficiency to 2050 across the UK.
- In order to reach the Government’s decarbonisation targets, the volume of energy efficiency projects needs to increase from 150,000 installs per year in 2021, to 500,000 in 2025 and one million per year by 2030.
- Energy Efficiency programmes could create 350,000 new jobs in the construction industry by 2028.
- The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data on ‘Public opinions and social trends’ found that in May 2022 26% of adults were considering making changes in their home to improve its energy efficiency, of which 42% were looking at insulation measures.
Quick tips for saving energy
According to the Energy Saving Trust, simple lifestyle changes could help save households up to £564 a year on their energy bills (the Trust’s figures for England, Scotland and Wales savings are for a typical three-bedroom, gas-heated home in Great Britain, using a gas price of 10.3p/kWh and electricity price of 34.0p/kWh). This includes:
- Switching appliances off standby
- Draught-proofing gaps, including under doors
- Turn off lights when they are not being used
- Wash clothes at 30 degrees, and reduce the frequency of washes by one per week
- Avoid using the tumble dryer and air-dry clothes where possible
- Limit shower times to a maximum of four minutes
- Swap at least one bath a week to a four-minute shower
- Only fill the kettle with as much water as needed
- Reduce dishwasher use by one use a week, and ensure that it is completely filled
- Insulate the hot water cylinder and pipes
Additional measures like only heating the rooms being used by turning down radiators in the rest of the house, and investing in energy-efficient appliances, can contribute further savings.
Turn down your flow temperature
Nesta have launched the ‘Money Saving Boiler Challenge’ campaign which aims to help households save cash with a simple change to their boiler settings.
If 10 million households turned down the flow temperature on their combi boilers to 60 degrees or below, this could wipe £1billion off UK energy bills and save 1.7 million tonnes of carbon emissions. Nesta estimates that the average household could save £112 per year on their heating bill by taking this action.
Visit their website for more information and a guide to turning down the flow.
Have a smart meter installed
A smart meter can help you take control of your energy usage by showing exactly how much is being spent on gas and electricity each day. Meter readings are automatically supplied and helps to generate more accurate bills.
Visit https://www.smartenergygb.org/ for more information.
Insulating your home
There are many different kinds of insulation that are designed for a variety of property types. This can include cavity wall, solid wall, loft and floor insulation. The Energy Saving Trust provides information about when these different measures are suitable and how to approach either installing it yourself or hiring a reputable tradesperson.
Insulation works by helping to reduce heat loss and maintain a constant temperature in the home.
Switching to low-carbon heating
A spend-to-save option is purchasing a low-carbon heating system such as an air source heat pump, which are three times more efficient than gas boilers, as this can be supplied by microgeneration such as solar panels on the roof. Consumers can also access special tariffs from their supplier which help ensure consumers are heating their home when electricity is at its cheapest.
The Energy Saving Trust provides guidance on how to check if your home is suitable for a heat pump and how they work. The Government has also launched a tool which helps determine if a home is suitable for a heat pump, and is currently providing £5,000 grants to households that purchase these heating systems via the Boiler Upgrade Scheme.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, consumers in an average three-bed detached home can save up to £395 per year heating their home with an air source heat pump compared to an old (G rated) gas boiler, with radiators upgraded as needed.
Where to go for more information
- The Energy Saving Trust provides important information on how you can save energy in and around the home with lifestyle changes as well as improvements to your property.
- Citizens Advice provide guidance to households on how to make sure their home is energy efficient, and how to get a smart meter installed.
- Which? provides accessible advice on how to make your home more energy efficient as well as tips to save on your heating bill this winter
- OneHome is a social enterprise that helps households adapt to low-cost, low-carbon lifestyles. They provide a wide range of information, including about how to insulate the home so that all rooms are warm and cosy. They have also launched a guide for saving money and energy in the home.
- The NEA is the national fuel poverty charity and provides information and support for struggling consumers on its website.
It all adds up
Energy UK is supporting this Government campaign to help raise public awareness around simple, no or low-cost actions that households can take to immediately reduce their energy use and save money. To find out more about the help available to improve energy efficiency at home, visit the Help for Homes website.
Support for businesses
Here are some organisations where businesses’ customers can find support to manage their energy more efficiently:
- The UK Business Climate Hub summarises the support available to UK businesses to reduce energy costs and cut carbon.
- The Government has launched a new advice service for businesses that provides information on steps to improve energy efficiency and increase profitability.
- The Carbon Trust supports businesses to accelerate towards Net Zero.
- The National Energy Foundation YouGen website offers a tool to find trusted renewable energy technology installers.
- The Energy Savings Trust website lists example case studies and energy efficiency resources. They also run events to help businesses make informed choices, including supply chain advice.
- The Smallbusiness.co.uk website also provides a range of online energy efficiency news for small business owners, including start-ups.
- Business Climate Hub is a one-stop-shop for SMEs to join the Race to Zero.
- Zero Carbon Business offers guidance and support on helping your small business to become a net zero business.
- SMEs can download a free copy of BEIS’ sponsored BS ISO 50005 energy management standard that provides support on energy management.
- You can check the Governments Energy Technology list to find verified energy-efficient products if you are planning to install equipment.
- Businesses in Wales can also access advice via Business Wales, a Welsh Government service providing advice to businesses on energy management.
- Small to medium-sized enterprises in Scotland can visit the Scottish Government-funded Business Energy Scotland advice service for free impartial support and access to funding to help businesses save energy, money and carbon.
There are currently support schemes that offer loans, grants or subsidies to support small businesses with energy efficiency measures;
- ask your local council if they provide funding
- search on the Government website for finance and support for your business.
- check if you can get paid to generate your own renewable power and heat through the national Smart Export Guarantee scheme.
What support is available?
The Government’s home energy MOT provides customers with tailored and impartial recommendations that could help them save hundreds of pounds a year on their energy bills. Visit the Government’s website for more information.
The Government has also launched the ‘Help for Households’ campaign which provides information about how people can further cut their bills, and identify what support is available. This campaign page also has online eligibility checker tools that tell customers if they are eligible for financial support under energy efficiency schemes such as the Great British Insulation Scheme or the Home Upgrade Grant.
Read Energy UK Explains: the Great British Insulation Scheme for more information.
Working with Ofgem, Citizens Advice and other organisations, Energy UK has contributed to the development of a consumer guidance document for households across the UK. This includes information about a range of support schemes that help consumers with their bills, including the Warm Homes Discount and the Energy Company Obligation, which sees energy suppliers making improvements to the homes of eligible customers to help reduce fuel bills.
Some households may be able to apply to their local council for the Government’s Sustainable Warmth Grant, which can be used to deliver a wide range of insulation measures and/or renewable heating systems. Check with your local council via https://www.gov.uk/find-local-council.
Speak to your supplier
Energy UK’s work on energy efficiency
In September 2022, Energy UK published a new report ‘ECO+’ on what policy is needed to boost demand for energy efficiency among consumers, while providing them with the support necessary to take-up these measures.
Energy UK will continue calling for more support from Government for households and businesses to help improve the energy efficiency of Britain’s buildings.
Energy inefficiency affects almost every household in Great Britain, making them colder and costing them money. However, energy efficiency profiles vary greatly for different people in different areas.
|5 Most energy efficient areas (% homes EPC D-G)||5 Least energy efficient areas (% homes EPC D-G)|
|Tower Hamlets (24.8%)||Isles of Scilly (83.5%)|
|City of London (35.4%)||Gwynedd (76.3%)|
|Salford (39.2%)||Pendle (75.6%)|
|Hackney (40.1%)||Castle Point (75.3%)|
|Milton Keynes (40.7%)||Blackpool (73.4%)|
Source: Energy UK analysis of Energy Performance of Buildings Data (DLUHC)
Note: these figures are only for England and Wales because EPC bands in Scotland are calculated using a different methodology and so are not directly comparable.
Typically, parts of the country with lots of large and old homes have poorer energy efficiency. As can be seen here, this often means that rural areas are some of the least energy efficient in the country, whereas inner cities with smaller, more modern flats tend to be better insulated.
1For a typical semi-detached house, based on October 2022 prices
2Assuming scheme running for 2 years