We need regulation to reduce this waste of energy

A A A

This report illustrates yet again what we all know but somehow fail to address: it is often not the demand for energy, but waste of energy that is driving us towards radical climate change.

We can all take steps individually: turning off lights when we are not using them and installing energy-saving light bulbs. However, we do not have the luxury of time to allow individuals to save the world by their action. Governments must act to ensure that we see a peak and then a decline in global emissions of carbon within the next 10 years. Otherwise, we run a severe risk of the global climate changing so rapidly we have no chance of adapting in time.

The Government must play a central role. It should require the most efficient lighting in all new buildings. It should reward owners and occupiers of energy-efficient buildings through lower business rates, council tax and stamp duty. And it should make more money available for energy-efficiency programmes. At present it is impossible to find government money to replace inefficient lighting in school buildings, for example.

The UK should urge on its EU partners a market transformation programme so that inefficient lighting and other energy-wasteful appliances disappear from sale. This could be achieved by banning the most offensive appliances, labelling the rest to encourage consumers to purchase the most efficient, and ideally also using the tax system to underline the message: through, for example, differential rates of VAT.

There is no real mystery about how to encourage consumers to use energy more sparingly. As with any market transaction, cost plays a role. But there are social policy concerns and - largely unfounded - worries about competitiveness which constrain governments from raising the price of energy to the level at which it would be used to maximum efficiency. So a suite of measures is needed to support the basic price signal and overcome some of the inertia - energy saving is rarely at the top of anyone's agenda, even if it would be economically rational to behave differently.

This Government has some things to be proud of: the Energy Efficiency Commitment - an obligation on fuel suppliers to invest in energy-saving in the domestic sector - has been an effective programme, for example. But overall policy has been disjointed and unambitious. The Environment Secretary, David Miliband, also promised last week that he would bring forward new measures to ensure that Britain meets its target to reduce carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2010.

Ten ways to save energy

* DO NOT LEAVE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES ON STANDBY, BUT SWITCH THEM OFF

The average household wastes £37 a year leaving appliances on standby.

* INVEST IN FRIDGE/FREEZERS THAT ARE ENERGY-EFFICIENT

Energy-efficient fridge/freezers cut carbon dioxide emissions, produced indirectly, by up to 190kg per year.

* INSULATE HOT-WATER TANK

If every household fitted a jacket on its tank tomorrow, we'd save over £95m of energy every year.

* RE-USE WATER

Collect grey water (already used in sinks and baths) in water butts to water plants and flush toilets.

* WASH CLOTHES ON 40C

Using a 40C wash cycle rather than 60C uses a third less electricity.

* DO NOT OVERFILL KETTLES

If everyone boiled only the water they needed, we would save enough electricity to run nearly half of the UK's street lighting.

* INSULATE ATTIC AND WALLS

Nearly 50 per cent of heat lost at home is through the roof and walls.

* DOUBLE-GLAZE WINDOWS

Heat loss is cut by up to 50 per cent with double glazing.

* INSTALL SOLAR PANELS

Solar roof tiles can generate half of an average family's electricity.

* TURN DOWN THE THERMOSTAT

By turning down a thermostat by one degree, an average family will save six per cent in energy (£30 a year in heating bills).

Geneviève Roberts

Information from Energy Saving Trust

News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
Life and Style
View of champagne glasses at a beach bar set up along the Croisette during the 66th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes on May 17, 2013
food + drink(and for now, there's a clear winner)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£10000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest In...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Car Sales Executive

£17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion the Largest Independent...

Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London up to £40k

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Langley James : CRM Services Manager; West London u...

Langley James : IT Support; Residential Agency; Mayfair; up to £30k

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Langley James : IT Support; Residential Agency; May...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?