Defra and DECC Publish Major New Study on Home Energy UsePublished 03 July 2012 in Climate Change
A major new study published on 26 June has revealed that actual day-to-day use of electricity in people’s homes across the country is higher than previously thought. The study - the first of its kind in the UK - measured and monitored electricity in real time and in real life situations; breaking down what electrical items were being used, when, for how long and how much power they used.
Conducted by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Energy Saving Trust (EST), Powering the Nation – household energy using habits uncovered, provides an overview of data gathered from a field trial of 251 monitoring systems in owner-occupied households in England. The trial showed that consumers are still getting to grips with minimising their energy consumption around the home, and that more work is required to help homeowners make the right choices.
Key findings include:
- Domestic background standby consumption is much higher than previously estimated. On average, households monitored in the study spent between £50 and £86 a year on their appliances in a standby, or ‘non-active’, state, meaning that total standby consumption can amount to nine to 16 per cent of domestic power demand. This is significantly higher than the current five to ten per cent estimated/modelled for domestic standby power.
- Monitored one-person households used as much, and sometimes more, energy as typical families on particular appliances. The implications of this finding, with over 29 per cent of all UK households currently single-person dwellings in 2010, are troubling from a future energy demand perspective, particularly if the trend towards increasing numbers of lone households continues.
- The study found that households watched on average more than six hours of TV a day, instead of the previously assumed figure of almost five hours. This equates to over 10 billion extra hours of TV watched nationwide, which will cost the nation, on average, an extra £205 million a year in total.
- The average annual electricity consumption in the study's test households was ten per cent higher than the UK national average, costing the average household in the study an extra £50. These higher figures were from a group of householders whose stated attitudes regarding being careful of energy use in the home were, on average, a whole ten per cent higher than the national average.
"This research shows that there’s still more work to be done with consumer advice, product innovation and take up of energy-efficiency labelling."
Access the full study via the Defra website.
Access the related press release.