15 October 2019 Energy Management

Energy efficiency: the missing piece in our conversation about climate change?

woman in protective gear examining solar panels

Earlier this year, the UK set an ambitious goal to tackle climate change by reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

While Britian has so far been a world leader in decarbonisation, exceeding its own targets and reducing emissions faster than any other major advanced economy in the G7, we are currently not on-track to meet this goal.

Much work will be needed to get there, but there are positive signs that it can be done.

Though some of the biggest reductions to be made in CO2 will require substantial national investment in technologies that can facilitate our low-carbon economy, some potential “quick-wins” for decarbonisation are already available.

This, however, will require firstly a change in conversation, and secondly a change in behaviours.

According to research from the University of Salford and The Energy Saving Trust, if every household took energy efficiency measures now, we could achieve 11 per cent of the UK’s 2050 carbon target.

Despite the hugely positive impact that energy efficiency can make, it is missing from the climate change conversation. In fact, further research commissioned by Smart Energy GB has found that less than 3% of all media and social media conversations on climate change over the past two years have mentioned energy efficiency at all.

Time to talk about energy efficiency

It’s clear from these findings that we must start talking about energy efficiency as a serious measure to promote decarbonisation, and one that is crucially both affordable and accessible. However, talking about it alone is not enough.

For domestic consumers, this is about more than just turning off our lights or washing our clothes on a cooler setting. Upgrading the nation’s outdated analogue energy infrastructure to a smart energy system will help Great Britain deliver reliable, clean and affordable energy. In turn, this will help reduce the amount of energy that goes to waste, and lessen our reliance on harmful fossil fuels.

That is why Smart Energy GB, the national campaigner for the smart meter rollout, has published its #MissingPiece report – which outlines the importance of having a smart meter installed. Smart meters are not only proven to improve the rates of domestic energy efficiency, but are also laying the foundations for our cleaner, smarter energy system.

You can read the #MissingPiece report, here.

We are one of the country’s leading smart meter installation companies for the domestic market, that’s why energy suppliers count on us to deliver smart meters to their customers around Britain. Watch our video on how you can use your smart meter to save energy, and reduce your carbon impact. 

What about business energy efficiency?

Of course, domestic energy efficiency is just one part of the decarbonisation puzzle, businesses and industry have a huge role to play through practicing better energy efficiency too.

Indeed, just 7,000 of Britain’s largest business make up the majority of the country’s entire energy usage. Recognising this, in its 2017 Clean Growth Strategy the Government stated its aim to help UK business improve energy efficiency by at least 20% by 2030.

However, while current energy efficiency policy has done much to set the foundations for our new net-zero target, the government has recently come under criticism for its lack of progress on the energy efficiency policy front – again highlighting its absence from the wider climate conversation.

However, the announcement of net-zero 2050 thankfully seems to have put business energy efficiency back on the agenda. For instance, MPs recently advised Government that business should be obliged to take energy-saving measures as part of the Energy Savings Opportunities Scheme. Since then, a consultation has been launched on the existing barriers to energy efficiency uptake, and the “considerable potential” for energy efficiency to provide grid reinforcement.  This potential amounts to an estimated 40TWh of potential savings identified in the UK’s commercial and industrial buildings.

From this, it is clear that there needs to be a very considerable level of effort in ensuring commercial energy efficiency continues to play its part in securing national targets and reducing the UK’s contribution to climate change.

While many companies have done – and are doing – a great deal already to address sustainability through energy efficiency and investment in low-carbon technology, there is a significant and ever-widening gap between those that are engaged and those that are not.

The latter are those who are in danger of being left behind as policies and public opinion further evolve to favour the companies that are most sustainable.

Just as with domestic consumers, businesses stand to benefit from utilising the data that their meters produce to improve energy efficiency. The invaluable insight gained from your consumption data can inform a business energy strategy, helping your organisation boost efficiency, reduce costs and cut carbon.

Whilst SMS provides metering and data services directly to UK businesses through our Meter Operator, Meter Asset Management and Data Collection & Aggregation services, our energy consultants can additionally analyse your data for you, helping you to  better understand your energy usage and to put a strategy in place to optimise your savings.

Talk to one of team directly, or leave your details and we’ll get back to you.