A report from Schneider Electric has highlighted how smart technology can help address the UK’s high levels of energy waste, and cut bills
According to Schneider Electric research, over a quarter of all energy produced in the UK is lost or wasted each year, and addressing such a finding is ever the more crucial with energy bills rising.
While we cannot influence the cost of energy, on average, 82 per cent of the potential energy savings that could be made in buildings remain untapped, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Additionally, the United Nations Environment Programme has found that the introduction of existing energy management technology can reduce energy use by 30-80 per cent.
While cost is frequently cited by private homeowners, commercial landlords and property associations as a barrier to installing efficiency improvements such as smart home energy devices, it’s estimated that such measures have a lifespan of over 100 years.
Smart tech cutting energy waste
The whitepaper from Schneider Electric revealed the following ways in which smart technology can cut energy waste and help to cut bills:
- Smart meters: At the end of 2021, only half of the installed UK domestic meters were smart meters. Of these, 15 per cent were not operational, representing a further 4.1 million smart meters yet to be used to their full potential.
- Smart thermostats: According to a YouGov survey, only 18 per cent of UK consumers use a smart home thermostat. Costing on average between £120 and £220, these equip both householders and commercial tenants with information about their energy usage and prompt them to adjust their energy behaviour.
- Green buildings: On average, we typically see a 30 per cent reduction in energy usage, bills, and carbon footprints resulting from investment in smart, sustainable homes, commercial and office buildings.
- Green means value: A recent report by Schneider Electric customer JLL suggested that over the last three years, houses rated outstanding or good by BREEM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) can command an 8 per cent rental premium above that of non-rated buildings command an 8 per cent rental premium above that of non-rated buildings. This echoes a report by the World Green Buildings Council, which estimates a 7 per cent increase in asset value in new or renovated buildings.
“With the hike in energy prices, there’s an obvious incentive for household consumers to get on top of energy waste and make bills more manageable,” said Nico Van Der Merwe, vice-president, home & distribution UK&I at Schneider Electric.
“Home improvement and access to smart technology will reduce energy bills and energy poverty and make homes more comfortable. There needs to be a shift in thinking because, for many, the ability to invest in energy efficiency is a distant prospect for many consumers who assume it’s something they have no control over.
“Crucially, this needs to be tackled in a way that makes energy efficiency affordable for all, or the burden of increased energy prices will disproportionately impact the most vulnerable.”
Kelly Becker, UK and Ireland president of Schneider Electric, added: ‘‘Higher energy bills, food prices and higher travel costs threaten the UK’s economic recovery, and it has never been clearer that energy efficiency must be accessible to everyone.
“Commercial landlords and housing associations have an essential role to play and set against spiralling energy costs. The financial incentives to reduce our energy use and cut carbon emissions have also never been stronger.
“Investing in energy efficiency is a win-win scenario. By embracing energy efficiency now, using existing technologies, we can reduce the impact of rising energy costs and accelerate the reduction of carbon emissions towards net zero to avoid climate catastrophe.
“Not only are these technologies proven, but they can be deployed quickly at scale – helping to reduce energy bills and decarbonise our homes and businesses immediately. By retrofitting and future-proofing UK housing and building stock we can ensure it’s not a scramble to the finish line.”
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