Are we failing to understand the wider benefits of energy efficiency?
Energy Saving Trust, September 9, 2015. Image credit: HebiFot
So what are the benefits of energy efficiency?
1. Wider economic benefits
Increased investment in targeted sectors and reduced costs for households and business can have positive economic impacts including growth and job creation. In 2013 it was estimated the energy efficiency sector was already worth more than £18bn and supporting around 136,000 jobs.
2. Public spending
The impact of energy efficiency on public balance sheets is a combination of factors such as the cost of programme design, investment and implementation, together with the impact on social welfare spending, and tax revenues.
3. Health and Wellbeing
The potential benefits for public spending extend to health spending too. The total cost to the NHS of cold homes has been estimated to be around €1.94 billion per year[note]Age UK (2012): The cost of cold: Why we need to protect the health of older people in winter; Age UK, London.[/note]. Living in cold homes has been shown to cause or aggravate a number of physical health problems, including cardiovascular and circulatory conditions, respiratory problems and arthritic and rheumatic illnesses. And there may be a greater health risk from cold amongst vulnerable groups – the elderly, young children, and those with a long term illness or disability. Ill health, poor housing conditions, and difficulty paying bills have also been linked with stress, anxiety and depression.