Every household in the UK creates around six tonnes of carbon dioxide (or 1.5 tonnes of carbon (tC)) every year. The average home emits more harmful carbon dioxide gas than the average car.
The average household could save around £200 a year by taking energy efficiency measures. This is equivalent to a saving of around 2 tonnes of CO2 (= 0.5 tC). Nearly £5 billion is wasted on energy in the UK every year. This is enough to give every man, woman and child £84 a year.
Space and water heating account for more than 80% of energy consumption in the domestic sector.
How much could an average household save per year, roughly?
Example of how much an average household could save per year
|Measure||Energy saved||Carbon saved||Money saved||Capital cost||Payback time|
|Cavity wall insulation
||Up to £100
||3 - 4 years
||£2 - 6
||1 - 3 years
There are many grants available for energy efficiency for example cavity wall insulation or loft insulation can be installed for around £209 at present, it may cost nothing if you or members of your family are in receipt of qualifying benefits, or over 60.
For information contact the Energy Savings Trust on 0800 512012 or Nest on 0808 808 22 44.
- There remain more than 10 million unfilled cavity walls, while about 1 million might not be suitable for insulation. That means more than a third of all households remain to install cavity wall insulation. (There are 25m households in the UK.)
- The amount of heat lost in homes annually through roofs and walls is enough to heat three million homes for a year or equivalent to about £1bn a year.
- If every household in the UK installed cavity wall insulation (where possible), it would save £670 million a year - or enough energy for 1.8 million homes for the same period.
- If everyone in the UK installed loft insulation up to 250mm thickness, the equivalent financial saving would pay the energy bills of 635,000 families for a year.
- If everyone in the UK with gas central heating installed a condensing boiler, we would cut CO2 emissions by 17.5 million tonnes (= 4.8 MtC), saving £1.3 billion on our energy bills every year. This is enough energy to meet the needs of over 4 million homes for a year.
- If everyone boiled only the water they needed, e.g. to make a cup of tea, instead of "filling" the kettle every time, we could save enough electricity in a year to run more than three quarters of the street lighting in the country.
- If every household changed just two of their regularly used bulbs for energy efficient ones (CFLs), the energy saved would be enough to power all the street lighting in the UK.
- If every household turned down their heating by just one degree, the savings would be equivalent to the energy consumed by all the hospitals and health care facilities in the UK. It would save up to 10% of the heating bill.
- Each year, video recorders and televisions in the UK consume around £150 million worth of electricity while on standby.
- If all households turned off one (unnecessary) 100 Watt light bulb, it would be equivalent to two large power stations. Using one energy efficient light bulb instead of a standard tungsten one in all households, would save energy equivalent to at least one large power station.
Home Energy Saving Tips
- Checking that the heating system thermostat is not too high - turning a thermostat down by just one degree C can reduce your heating bill by up to 10%!
- Making sure hot water is not too hot (60ºC is suggested).
- Fitting low energy lights, particularly in rooms with a heavy lighting use such as the hall and living room.
- Turning off lights and domestic appliances when not needed, and not leaving TVs, videos etc on standby. Each year, video recorders and televisions in the UK consume around £150 million worth of electricity while on standby.
- Not overfilling kettles and saucepans, and using lids where possible. If everyone boiled only the water they needed, e.g. to make a cup of tea, instead of filling the kettle every time, we could save enough electricity in a year to run more than three quarters of the street lighting in the country!
- Buying 'A-rated' appliances.
- When travelling, look at all the options and try to choose the least polluting mode of transport for your journey.
- Instead of using your car for short journeys, try walking, cycling or hopping on a bus. Road transport is responsible for around a quarter of the UK's total carbon dioxide emissions.
- Switch off your engine if you're not moving and share your car journeys with other people where possible.
Thinking about making improvements to your home?
This Climate Change Guide suggests projects and 20 measures that you can do to make these improvements help tackle climate change - from converting your loft to changing the lights.
Whatever your DIY skills, budget or project, this Guide tells you what will make the biggest impact on cutting carbon dioxide (CO2), cutting your bills, and improving the comfort and safety of your home.
Last Modified: 05/12/2018
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