Energy efficiency drives large fall in gas use in British Gas homes

February 3rd, 2011 by Centrica

British Gas homes have seen a 22 per cent decline in gas consumption, on average, as more homes adopt energy efficiency measures. These cuts in gas use follows three decades of rising consumption, and shows the impact energy efficiency is having on British homes, according to an independent report published today.

The British Gas Home Energy Report 2011, by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), is the largest ever independent analysis of natural gas use in the home.

The research is based on 40 million British Gas meter readings over a four year period.

All the figures are weather-adjusted to show underlying trends in consumption.

The report finds that British Gas customers who adopted simple energy efficiency measures such as insulation and energy efficient boilers saved an average of £322 each year, and saw a 44 per cent fall in their gas use between 2006 and 2010, but some homes took no action at all.

With many customers not installing any measures and not seeing any cash savings, British Gas today unveils a major new programme to insulate – for free – the homes of its dual fuel customers. Dual fuel customers will get a free home insulation survey, and then a choice of either loft insulation or cavity wall insulation at no cost. Customers should register their interest at www.britishgas.co.uk/freeinsulation.

Gearóid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Markets, said “£1 in every £4 spent on heating our homes is wasted because of poor insulation. We want to help as many of our customers as possible reap the benefits of more energy efficient homes. That’s why we’re launching a national programme to give our dual fuel customers access to free cavity wall or loft insulation.

“Rising global energy prices needn’t mean higher bills for households. This report shows that many homes are already reducing their energy consumption and cutting bills, but we want all British Gas homes to enjoy the same benefit.”

Jonathan Thurlwell, Director of Competition Economics at Cebr, who produced the report for British Gas said “this report represents the largest independent analysis of domestic natural gas consumption representing nearly a fifth of the entire national market. Using detailed modelling techniques we were able to determine that energy efficiency measures are the primary driver of the average annual decline in underlying gas consumption. The message is clear: in a global environment of rising commodity prices the most effective way for households to reduce costs is through basic energy efficiency measures.”

The British Gas Home Energy Report 2011 also examines the future potential economic impact of energy efficiency on Britain’s housing stock and finds that if all British Gas households adopted all the efficiency measures open to them then these households could save up to £3.6 billion over the next five years, equivalent to around £714 million per year.

Key findings from the British Gas Home Energy Report 2011:

  • Despite increasing threefold since 1970, household gas consumption started to decline sharply in 2004
  • Energy efficiency measures are the key driver of the decline
  • UK households, as a whole, have seen their underlying gas use decline by 17.0 per cent over the last five years, 2006 to 2010
  • British Gas customers have seen their underlying gas consumption decline by 5.3 per cent in the last year (2010) and by 22.2 per cent in the last five years (i.e. 2006 to 2010)
  • Between 2006 and 2010 British Gas customers who implemented energy efficiency measures saved around £1.1billion from their gas bills thanks primarily to energy efficiency measures – an average annual saving of £227 million. On average, this equates to £322 off households’ gas bills (2006-2010 average)

The three measures that make the biggest impact on a customer’s gas consumption are:

1. Cavity wall insulation (reducing household consumption, on average, by 18.3 per cent)

2. Energy efficient boilers (reducing household consumption, on average, by 18.0 per cent)

3. Loft insulation (reducing household consumption, on average, by 13.8 per cent)

For more information and a case study visit the Centrica website.

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