Energy prices have been on the rise in the UK for some time, and energy companies have become the target of many political agendas and public outcries. But the one area in which we are allowed to celebrate is the innovation of technology and the energy saving potential that we have as consumers. Electric heating has become cheaper, and we now use a third less electricity to light our homes than we did 16 years ago. So while energy prices are out of our control, we hold the power when it comes to energy efficient solutions within our homes.
The decrease in electricity usage when it comes to lighting our homes is obviously due to the phasing out of ineffecient bulbs, and the introduction of energy efficient solutions such as compact flourescent bulbs which use 80% less electricity than its predecessors. Bulbs and lighting may not seem like an enourmous difference but this key change is one of the main reasons that peak demand for electricity is falling in the UK. Government statistics tell us that domestic consumption of electricity has fallen by 4% since 2008 - this isn't due to energy companies or their 'price rigging' but due to changes in the technology sector - changes which allow us at home to make the move to a more energy efficient existence and lower bills. Furthermore, the UK's Energy Saving Trust commented that if the remaining homes in the UK using traditional filament bulbs were to phase them out in favour of a more energy efficient variety, the whole country could save nearly £1.4 billion per year on its electricity bill. That's a lot of cash.
Rather than focusing on the Big Six energy companies and living with their price increases, let's focus on our homes and what we can do make a difference to our energy bills. One solution which is growing in popularity this year is the adoption of solar panels used in conjunction with electric heating. Electric Radiators are a prime example of a technology which has now advanced beyond expectations to deliver clean and efficient heating at, potentially, a much lower cost than traditional gas boiler systems. Combining this controllability with the 'feed-in' tariff scheme offered to those with solar panels, the route to energy saving really lies in the hands of the consumer.
Even with our energy efficient lightbulbs though, the UK still uses (on average) 13% more electricity than our EU neighbours. This is largely because other countries have adopted energy efficient solutions in the home a lot quicker than we have. While certain Government schemes have helped, such as the giving away of free energy efficient light bulbs to homes, there is still a lot of work that can be done and we need to educate ourselves on the energy saving potential that's all around us.