Improvements in energy efficiency are vital if the UK is to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
These improvements can be made in three broad ways, according to a report from The Economist Intelligence Unit – by raising awareness, offering more financial incentives and by stepping up regulations.
The research and advisory group suggests initiatives require careful planning to find out which of these ways is best suited to specific target audiences.
The report also says trust is essential. In the US, consumers respond well to utility-led energy efficiency initiatives as they have long been regulated by public service commissions that set prices and ensure fairness.
In the UK private providers aren’t generally trusted following their privatisation in the 1990’s so different methods must be employed.
Product labelling schemes and ratings have proven to be effective tools to encourage people to buy more energy efficient appliances, although sometimes consumers actually buy more appliances that they had before due to the energy savings advertised. This can result in a ‘rebound’ effect where overall usage actually increases.
Brian Motherway, Head of Energy Efficiency at the International Energy Agency (IEA), said: “People think about renewables and the supply side but the more mundane business of saving energy actually makes a bigger contribution. The biggest source of clean energy in the world today is energy efficiency because it allows you to do more without having to supply more energy.”