The Autumn Statement today is a missed opportunity for the Government to boost energy efficiency.
There was only a vague reference by Chancellor Philip Hammond to keeping a close watch on the energy companies but once again the agenda for sustainable business development through effective reduction of energy and water consumption was discarded.
The focus on households was also missing. Appeals by the UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) for ‘whole home retrofit’ to be adopted as a foundation of the Industrial Strategy was resoundingly ignored. The UK-GBC argued that full retrofit would cut CO2 emissions while reducing reliance on gas imports.
The UK_BGC said:
“For local communities it can create employment opportunities, reduce maintenance costs, and reduce crime and antisocial behaviour. And for households it can bring down energy bills, increase property value, and make warmer, healthier and more comfortable places to live.”
This was another big missed opportunity to push ahead strongly with effective policies on energy efficiency at a time when these are most needed.
A number of reports have been published around the UN’s COP22 climate talks, all focusing on the urgent need for policies and planning that put energy efficiency at the heart of moves to sustainable, productive economies.
The Carbon Trust report argues that energy efficiency is “the most cost effective way of tackling climate change” and meeting international carbon reduction goals.
At the same time, a report by the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE), shows that industrial, services and domestic sector energy efficiency investments between 2010-15 has raised UK economic productivity by £1.7bn.
Both reports advise that energy efficiency will need to be a central part of the UK’s Industrial Strategy to build on the gains made as well as ensure that carbon reduction targets are met.
Following swiftly after publication of these key reports, the RE100, a global initiative of companies led by the Climate Group demanded that governments should be more supportive of businesses to help them in their quest for complete sustainability.
It argues that policies should prioritise access to renewables with ambitious targets and agendas for transformation. BT, Google and IKEA are among the group businesses appealing for change.
Energy efficiency is once again a major focus for strategists across the globe and the COP 22 conference in Marrakesh took significant steps to go beyond general principles by emphasising need to accelerate the adoption of energy efficient technologies, singling out LED lighting.
The wholesale adoption of LED lighting for every business, organisation and household is something we have long argued for as part of the drive to reduce consumption through energy efficiency.
LED lights consume up to 85% less electricity than traditional lights, can provide better and safer quality of light, and last for many years.
One main event at the COP22 conference – ‘What do Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) need to succeed? Energy Efficiency’ – made it crystal clear that energy efficiency is the most sustainable, cost-effective, and accessible way to cut CO2 emissions. It also provides many other social and environmental benefits.
The conference session included details of governments and industries collaborating to implement energy efficiency strategies for lighting and appliances and so provide a blueprint for other countries.
We were also pleased, as a Philips Lighting Value Added Partner to see Eric Rondolat, CEO, Philips Lighting, describing how single technology – smart lighting – could halve global energy demand for lighting and cut global greenhouse gas emissions by 5%.
Peter Curley, Programme Manager, LED Programme, The Climate Group said:
“The prevention of the projected effects of climate change largely depends on our ability to deploy energy efficient solutions quickly and at scale. LEDs need to be high on the priority list of actionable steps for cities and corporations.
“Deployment of energy efficient LED lighting offers unprecedented savings and wider socio-economic benefits.”
The session also advised that by doubling global energy efficiency improvements to 3% per year, household energy bills could be reduced by a third, 6 million new jobs created by 2020, and €2,300 billion (US$2,458 billion) saved by 2030 in reduced fuel costs.