Fight against Climate Change – Does energy reduction help? What are basic household energy saving measures?

In my blog article Global Warming, you would have noticed 5 main weapons in the fight against climate change as below:


  1. Reduce the use of energy – Behaviour change
  2. Use energy in an efficient way – Energy efficiency
  3. Recover, reuse and recycle – Resource efficiency and Energy recovery
  4. Generate renewable energy – Energy from sustainable and zero-emission sources
  5. Afforestation and other green initiatives


The same article also discussed the relation between the acceleration of global warming and an increase in energy consumption. Depending on the source of energy, the reduction in its use will help to slow climate change.


Reduction in energy use that comes from renewable sources may not seem logical in this respect, however, it would enhance the impact in the fight against climate change. For example, if you are generating enough solar power to satisfy your electricity demands, you may not consider turning-off unwanted lights or replacing them with more energy-efficient lights such as LED as the carbon intensity is already zero. Nevertheless, if you reduce your electricity use, you can either store it for rainy days (e.g. when the sun is not shining) or export to the grid who can mix it with their other supplies.


This will have an enhanced impact by either offsetting electricity from fossil sources even when the sun is not out or enabling the grid to reduce their carbon intensity by mixing energy from renewable sources. On the top, you would be able to save the energy cost at the same time.


What are the potential emission reductions in the residential sector in the UK?


Believe it or not, the residential sector has to make a lot of contribution towards the UK’s net-zero emissions target as there is a substantial potential of carbon reduction in this sector. The UK committee on climate change (CCC) in their report on “Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming” has indicated that average household emissions fell by approx. 40.5% between 1990 and 2017. However, it needs to be reduced by another at least 60% to bring down annual emissions down to 3.5tCO2e (3500kgCO2e) in their 80% emission reduction plan. To achieve the UK’s net-zero target, the average household emissions needs to be between 1.2 – 1.7tCO2e which is approx. 88% – 92% drop compared to 1990.



Source: Net Zero –  The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming – May 2019



You might want to ask a question on how to achieve emission reductions at home?


This question is partly answered earlier which is adopting the aforementioned energy and carbon reduction measures. As explained above, the average UK household emissions are continuously declining since 1990 partly due to the addition of more renewables in the energy mix at the grid, and the rest from behaviour change and energy efficiency.


What is Behaviour Change and how it can make a difference?


The Energy in need is the Energy indeed


It is vital that every household should actively engage in the fight against climate change to help the UK achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Behaviour change is key to energy and carbon reductions and we need to look for changes in our usual energy consumption. For example, we can ask ourselves a set of few questions before turning on a light bulb in the study room.


  • Why do I need it ON? Is it dark in the room where it’s required?
  • Is it right for the application? e.g. too bright?
  • Can it be avoided from turning on such as using daylight if available?
  • Is it usually left ON even when nobody is in the room?
  • Is it an energy-efficient bulb (e.g. LED) or conventional bulb?
  • Can it be fitted with some controls such as timer control, occupancy detector and day-light detector, etc.?


This quick analysis may result in an energy-saving opportunity if the existing lighting is too bright for the room and the bulb is non-LED type.


You may consider more information on your household energy consumption breakdown, energy consumption ranking as compared to a similar household and may also seek help in understanding your energy bills. Your building energy performance certificate (EPC) could be a good start to understanding your household energy performance and any actions recommended for improvements.


What is Energy Efficiency and how can you consider it?


As the term suggests, energy efficiency means the same amount of work output with less input. The term “same amount of work output” also means at least the same or better quality of output, indicating that energy efficiency does not compromise on quality. For instance, a LED bulb replacing an existing conventional bulb of 450 lumens (lm) must provide at least 450lm or more with less electricity input.


According to the Energy Consumption in the UK (ECUK) 2017 report, the average UK home with four occupants is now using 13 electric/electronic appliances including laptops and televisions. This is an enormous rise compared to 1990 when just four appliances were typically used.


Well having said that, the great news is that we still use roughly the same energy as we did two decades ago because our gizmos have grown more energy efficient over two decades. After behaviour change, energy efficiency including technology upgrade is the main step towards energy and emissions reduction.


Though replacing an existing appliance working perfectly with an energy-efficient may not pay back quickly on the investment but choosing an energy-efficient rated model would make a better sense when it needs replacing due to failure or upgrade.


Household Energy Saving Measures – Making a difference


There has been an incredible amount of work on household energy-saving measures and still counting-on. Ofgem has suggested that an average household spends slightly above £1,250 per annum on gas and electricity. This is probably the second biggest cost after rent or mortgage. Most of the energy savings measures I have gone through on the internet have savings in pounds (£) rather than in energy (kWh) or emissions (CO2e). Please check my article on energy measurement and emissions calculations to estimate your energy and carbon savings.


Here are the quick energy-saving tips that You can adopt to start saving E3 i.e. energy, emissions and environment.


Category Energy-saving Tips
Behaviour Change Turn-off standby devices when not in use including lighting, TVs and charging adaptors.
Behaviour Change Wash clothes at 30°C rather than at 40°C
Behaviour Change Monitor your room temperatures – Install temperature indicators
Behaviour Change Close windows when heating is ON. Avoid simultaneous heating & cooling.
Behaviour Change Reduce the hot water temperature to max 55°C and drop room temperature by 1°C
Behaviour Change Only fill the kettle with what you need for hot water
Behaviour Change Spend 1 minute less in your routine shower
Behaviour Change Eat a healthy diet, for example with less beef, lamb and dairy
Behaviour Change Only buy what you can eat
Behaviour Change Choose good quality products that will last longer and try to repair before you replace
Behaviour Change Choose to walk and cycle or use public transport in preference to a fossil-fueled car
Behaviour Change Water and look after the plants and grow more plants where possible
Energy Efficiency Install a smart thermostat – Heat only where required
Energy Efficiency Replace conventional lights with LED lights with right LUX levels. Use solar LEDs for outside and garden
Energy Efficiency Replace your old boiler with a new condensing boiler
Energy Efficiency Insulate your loft and cavity walls
Renewable Energy Use renewable source heat pump for heating and cooling instead of gas boiler and air-conditioning unit
Renewable Energy Generate your own electricity from solar
Behaviour Change/Reuse Use refilling where possible such as hand-wash liquid
Behaviour Change/Reuse Give containers/packaging a second life such as storing dry fruit in an empty celebration tub
Behaviour Change/Recycle Recycle plastic, glass, metal and batteries responsibly as per product manufacturer and your local council guidelines



Did you know…

– Reducing heating by 1°C can save 8% on heating energy.

– A typical LED light bulb has a lifespan of 25000+ hours which is 12 times more than an incandescent bulb.

– Since 2013, the appliances must not consume more than 0.5 Watts in standby or in off mode according to EU regulation for Off mode, standby and networked standby regulation. This has reduced annual electricity consumption around 35.5TWh per annum with savings of €25 billion per year and 39 MtCO2 emissions. The energy saved is enough to Power Romania for a year.


The cost savings from behaviour change can be reinvested in the purchase of energy-efficient appliances which will deliver long term energy and cost savings, making your pocket net cash positive over time.


You would have probably realised that behaviour change is the elementary driver of all environmental-friendly practices and now is the right time to start engaging ourselves to make our planet environment friendly for ourselves and forthcoming generations.




It makes good financial sense to embrace energy efficiency but it’s also our personal and ethical duty to make our planet environment friendly for our future generations. We must look for improvements that we can make in our homes, schools and colleges and workplaces to reduce emissions, and also support our family and friends to embrace such changes.

What behavioural change you can think of exercising to reduce energy and emissions?

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