High bills? The cheapest energy is energy we don't use

● By Jan Rosenow, University of Oxford ● What’s the world’s most important fuel, as we head into the 21st century? Oil, coal, gas, renewables? A recent International Energy Agency report stated the most important fuel for the future is energy efficiency. This is because the cheapest energy is energy we don’t use. Experts agree that energy efficiency – reducing energy demand – is the cheapest and most effective means to meet reduce carbon emissions. Analysis by Ricardo-AEA for the UK Committee on Climate Change assessed the UK situation where, despite the importance and vast potential of energy efficiency measures, the energy debate is focused on supply. There has been progress in the UK: in 2011, households consumed 17% less energy compared to 2000, with gas consumption dropping by 20%. The Centre for Economics and Business Research showed that the observed reduction of energy demand for household heating is clearly the result of energy efficiency policies such as the now-cancelled Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT). Similar trends can be found in industry, where energy demand has fallen by almost a quarter from 2000 to 2011. IEA But can there really be a free lunch? Nationally, the cost of saving in homes a unit of electricity was 2.0p/kWh and for gas 0.6p/kWh. Actual electricity and gas prices are now almost ten times as high, which means investing in energy efficiency is highly cost-effective, leading to substantial monetary benefits in a short period of time. It takes less than five years to recoup the outlay for simple energy efficiency measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. However, just the cheap and simple insulation measures will not be enough to upgrade Britain’s leaky, inefficient building stock. Across Europe, people now speak about “near-zero-energy” buildings that consume close to zero energy and generate renewable energy ...Zum vollständigen Artikel

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