Across the UK, at least 117 million tonnes of emissions were generated in 2018 through the creation of energy that was subsequently wasted.
That’s the shocking revelation from new research conducted by Schneider Electric, which calculates the amount of energy lost in generation and transmission processes or that was wasted due to inefficiencies in buildings, not taking into account emissions from energy lost in the food supply chain, industry or transport sectors.
The firm suggests the results of its examination of the sustainable behaviours, priorities and investments of 400 large businesses, 120 SMEs and 2,000 consumers. indicates “ambivalence towards energy waste permeates every facet of UK life”.
It notes although business leaders and consumers are aware energy is being wasted, they are taking no steps to change consumption or behaviour.
The report highlights despite the average energy bill for a large business totalling more than £11,000 per month and 100% of respondents believing their business wastes energy, 44% said that they hadn’t or didn’t know if they had implemented any energy-saving initiatives in the previous year.
This was worse among smaller firms, with 58% of SMEs reporting they hadn’t or didn’t know if they had implemented energy-saving initiatives, compared to 39% of large businesses – while around 40% of SMEs reported they don’t currently measure energy loss within their business, 14% of large businesses said they did.
Cost seems to be a major reason why energy waste is not being tackled – 84% of businesses said they were “torn between the anticipated cost of tackling waste and doing the right thing”.
Mike Hughes, Zone President UK & Ireland, Schneider Electric, said: “We may not be able to see the impact energy waste is having on our planet as graphically as that of plastic waste in oceans or on beaches but it is clear that reducing waste energy has a significant role to play in reducing our emissions. Furthermore, it is an easy win.
“It doesn’t require the same level of investment, time or rely on future innovation that is needed to decarbonise our economy. Most importantly, the effects of reducing emissions from wasted energy could be felt immediately, buying us much needed time to tackle some of the harder measures that society will inevitably have to face.”