A consultation on ways to reduce demand for electricity was launched yesterday together with the Energy Bill, and runs until the end of January.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) believes that a quarter of the potential energy savings to be made in homes by 2030 could come from getting rid of incandescent lamps, while lighting and controls could account for more than a third of savings in commercial properties and nearly half in the public sector (including streetlighting).
In the residential sector, the major barrier to adopting these technologies is a lack of awareness, the government believes, while in commercial buildings the main problems are the payback period on lighting upgrades and the fact that the person using a building and paying the bills is not always the one with the power to make changes.
The government is considering various financial incentives for energy-efficiency measures as well as voluntary and information-based approaches.
Engineering body Cibse has welcomed the consultation, saying it comes “better late than never”. Cibse said that simple improvements to building performance could make a huge difference to the amount of energy needed in the future.
Any new measures to promote efficiency will come on top of the Green Deal, set to be launched fully in the new year, which will provide finance packages allowing households and businesses to pay for energy-efficiency upgrades from savings on their bills.
Energy minister Ed Davey said the Energy Bill and associated measures are designed to drive low-carbon economic growth and “keep the lights on”.
Last year 39TWh of energy (that’s 39 billion kWh) was used to light commercial and public sector buildings, while around 15TWh was used in homes.