Can energy efficiency deliver on its promises?

This post is by Paul Brockway, research fellow at the University of Leeds. He examines roles and relationships between energy, economy and society as part of UKERC’s research programme. This blog was initially published on the Green Alliance Blog. Energy efficiency is often seen as a win-win: falling energy use benefits consumers and the environment, whilst …

low energy buildings

Don’t throw out the energy efficiency baby with the Brexit bathwater

Will Brexit put energy efficiency progress in the UK at risk, ask Jan Rosenow, Pedro Guertler and Richard Cowart of RAP (Regulatory Assistance Project)? In electric appliances and heating systems – probably not. The biggest risk is in the building sector.UK policymakers will need to put efficiency first if they want to reach carbon targets …

Transforming the Low Energy Housing sector

“Insulation is not sexy. Energy efficiency is not sexy. Putting more insulation in your walls that you will never see and you will never even know is there, is not sexy.  But your bills are a bit lower,” said Alex Hunt, a sustainable building consultant and partner with Bright Green Homes. Is it time for …

The historical foundations of UK energy policy since the 1940s

Guest blog by Dr David Vincent Since 1945, UK energy policy has undergone seismic shifts, starting with the energy industry nationalisations of the late 1940s and moving on to energy industry privatisations of the 1980s and 90s. These shifts were tempered with some ground-breaking, longer term thinking with respect to the climate change mitigation aspects …

Energy efficiency: the sweet spot for an economic stimulus after Brexit

Brexit has opened a new era in British politics. Economic uncertainties and a potential slowdown in investment are likely to stay with us in the short to medium term. The Chancellor has made clear that he is prepared to ‘reset’ fiscal policy after Brexit and the Prime Minister announced the launch of a ‘proper industrial …

Is Brexit an opportunity to rethink UK carbon pricing?

The UK’s exit from the European Union will make changes to UK carbon pricing unavoidable. Given the complexities and inefficiencies of the current policy mix, could Brexit be viewed as an opportunity for radical policy change in this area? And, if so, what is likely to be the best outcome? The UK played a critical …

Makerspaces: Creating inclusive spaces for sustainable innovations

Making stuff is all the rage these days. But how does sustainable development fit into this enthusiasm? The White House is celebrating a Week of Making from June 16-23 2016 after hosting its first Maker Faire in 2014 to spark a “grassroots renaissance in American making and manufacturing“. The hope is that by exposing people …

Energy Efficiency: Time to get out of reverse gear

by Jan Rosenow & Richard Cowart In recent years across the UK, citizens, government, and the business community have all demonstrated a willingness to lead the world in the fight against climate change. So the mystery today is – why is the UK walking away from energy efficiency, the most effective and least-cost way of …

Intermediary actors in low energy transitions

Intermediary actors can be crucial for bringing about low energy transitions. This blog explores what they are and provides some key insights about intermediaries in low energy transitions. It has long been recognised that changing the way we produce and use energy is of crucial importance to tackle the challenges related to depleting fuel resources and …

What would Brexit mean for UK energy efficiency policy?

Only 10 weeks and UK voters will make the most profound decision of this decade – will Britain stay or leave the European Union? There have been numerous analyses of what the implications of a so-called Brexit might be. Those include the economic impacts, security, and sovereignty. In this blog I will discuss one specific …

Stimulating ‘creative destruction’ to transform how we use energy

By Paula Kivimaa & Florian Kern Given the urgency of climate change, it is unfortunate that the recent ‘reset’ of UK energy policy missed a big opportunity. That is to take a more strategic approach to developing public policies to drive the rapid, transformative change required to reduce energy use and decarbonise its supply in …

Moving beyond products to material culture

BLOG 2 Prototyping or debating sustainable developments in makerspaces? Adrian Smith, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex September 2015 In the previous blog I introduced some of the diverse ways that makerspaces are helping cultivate sustainable developments. Admittedly, these initiatives do not represent the totality of makerspaces, where many projects and activities are oblivious …

Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

BLOG 1 Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces? Adrian Smith, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too. Amidst the …

Tackling the existing building stock as a real energy policy priority

By Mari Martiskainen and Florian Kern, Centre on Innovation and Energy Demand, SPRU Those familiar with the UK’s energy efficiency policy for buildings are aware that back in 2006 the then Labour government announced that all new domestic buildings would need to be ‘zero carbon’ from 2016 to help meet the government’s energy and climate …

What future for the technological innovation systems approach in analysing sustainability transition

In this blog, Dr Florian Kern discusses the future of the Technological Innovation Systems approach, identifying three key challenges facing the framework. Today the 5th annual gathering of the community studying sustainability transitions (organised in the Sustainability Transitions Research Network) starts in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Such conferences always present a good opportunity to step back …

Makers, fixers and circular economies

The connection between grassroots making and fixing movements and innovation for low energy demand may not be immediately obvious. When thinking about energy demand and resource use it is reasonable to focus attention on immediate and intensive activities, such as heating homes or offices, or making energy-using products more efficient. However, if we think about …

UK’s energy efficiency policy ‘not fully coherent’ –the difficulties of making complex policy mixes work

A recent commentary piece in Ends report (UK’s energy efficiency plan not fully coherent’, by Paul Hatchwell, 7th May) is critical of DECC’s National Energy Efficiency Action Plan (NEAP).In the article Hatchwell refers to an assessment by the EU-wide Coalition for Energy Savings which concluded that the ‘UK’s plans were considered ‘assessable’€, but classed as …