UCL Energy Institute


UCL-Energy Professor says UK could cut energy costs by following German example

2 November 2011

Reducing energy bills in the home

UK home owners could see reduced energy bills if the UK government's energy policy takes lessons from a pioneering German bank, a new report has found.

The report, launched by co-author Professor Paul Ekins of the UCL Energy Institute, University College London, at the Cutting Carbon Costs conference at the London School of Economics on November 8th, welcomes recent UK energy policy initiatives but says much more needs to be done.

Insight from Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), the German bank that has had 30 years of experience of major housing programmes to increase the energy efficiency of German buildings provided a number of possible lessons for the UK. The KfW scheme includes brokering low-interest loans, giving performance-related grants, insisting on expert advice and installation to ensure appropriate work is carried out to a high standard and adopting a 'whole house approach' to energy saving, even if methods are applied sequentially.

With the Energy Bill 2011 having been successfully passed by Parliament in the UK, and the details of the Green Deal, Energy Company Obligation and Green Investment Bank being finalised, Professor Ekins said that while much can be learned from the KfW, the context in the UK is very different, and the application of the lessons from the KfW experience will need to take that into account.

Professor Ekins said: "The headline message of the report is that the UK policy initiatives are much to be welcomed, and are going in the right direction. Despite this, KfW experience suggests that the initiatives will need to be strengthened if households are to realise the full benefits of home energy efficiency improvements, and get a grip on their home energy costs, which have increased substantially in recent years.

"Further action will be needed in the form of targeted regulations and up-skilling in the construction industry. Modest public funding for energy efficiency measures is also needed, and information and other market interventions that raise awareness about the benefits of home energy efficiency. Further help and support for householders are vital if the current opportunities for a step change in home energy efficiency are to be realised."

Download a copy of the full report or email Ellie Jones, UCL Energy Institute Communications Assistant e.jones@ucl.ac.uk