energy-clampdown

Brits have more gadgets but use less energy

A new data analysis suggests that the average Briton uses less energy than five years ago despite the increase in the number of gadgets per household.

The analysis of government data by the Energy Saving Trust for the BBC recorded a 10 per cent decrease in electricity usage in 2013, dropping from 1,951 kilowatt hours a year per person in 2008 to 1,766 last year.

According to experts the new figures go against a pattern of increased consumption in a growing economy, but it could be explained by recent government policies that encourage energy efficiency.

"This demonstrates how well-designed and targeted regulation can have a significant impact on our energy consumption,” Greg Shreeve of Energy Saving Trust told BBC News.

"Investment in energy efficiency can lead to much wider economic benefits such as job creation and even improved health."

Although flat-screen TVs, phones and tablets are booming, they don’t account for as much energy as some of the more dated household appliances would – hence regular standards imposed by the EU.

According to the trade association AMDEA a new A-rated model freezer saves 73 per cent of energy, compared with its analogue from 20 years ago, sparing the household around £100 in energy bills.

After imposing the controversial ban on old-style bulbs in 2009, the EU plans another restriction on inefficient appliances, with some vacuum cleaners to be banned from sale.

Talking about the results, Dr Nick Eyre from Oxford University told BBC News: "Energy use always drops after oil shocks and in recessions - but this current trend looks different.

"Energy use is lower than in 1970 even though the economy is twice as big – it's the first time in memory that energy use has fallen so substantially – and it's due to policy.

"It's a real achievement. But we can't be complacent – the improvements in home insulation have fallen back since the government introduced the Green Deal in 2013."

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