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Policy recommendations for energy demand reduction

The Research Council’s Energy Programme funds the Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products (CIE-MAP), the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) and the End Use Energy Demand Centres (EUED). These centres address how people and industry can reduce their reliance on energy in order to achieve large-scale reductions (80%) in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Meeting our climate targets requires an almost complete transformation of the energy system to low carbon technologies combined with substantial reductions in our demand for energy. There is considerable evidence to support the claim that energy demand reduction provides an immediate and effective low risk response to climate mitigation while also improving energy security, reducing fuel poverty and raising economic activity.

The Centre for Industrial Energy, Materials and Products (CIE-MAP), with its directorate at Leeds, brings together engineers, designers, environmental scientists, economists and other social scientists to identify the solutions needed to deliver a substantial reduction in industrial energy demand. With many of the efficiency gains already made in some sectors, reducing industrial energy requires a wider investigation considering the key drivers of energy demand. CIE-MAP takes into account the UK’s global energy requirement to meet its demand for products and explores how to change our use of products, increase efficiency and explore material substitution options to deliver a reduction in industrial energy demand. Our approach of including every point in the supply chain in our research helps to determine the most effective energy demand reduction strategies. Using these strategies industry could make a substantial contribution towards climate mitigation goals while also improving productivity and creating employment opportunities.

Key messages:

  • Government needs to implement an ‘energy demand management strategy’ that promotes energy efficiency while reducing demand, recognising this as a cross-department responsibility.
  • Material efficiency can most effectively be driven through the National Infrastructure Plan and construction sector, delivering financial and carbon savings.
  • The variable rates for road tax based on energy performance should be reinstated and further differentiated and consider the embodied energy required in manufacturing the vehicle.

Overview by John Barrett, Professor of Energy and Climate Policy.

CIE-MAP identifies opportunities along the product supply chain that deliver a reduction in industrial energy use.

UKERC carries out world-class research into sustainable future energy systems.

End Use Energy Demand Centres address the technical, social and economic challenges of reducing energy demand.