Energy Retrofits don't necessarily save energy due to overindulgence, study finds
According to the Building Research & Information studies, a survey of 36 'low-energy' homes in Britain found that energy consumption has not dropped as much as predicted because homeowners showed a tendency to indulge in excessive energy use, like keeping the heater on longer. This tendency is leading energy experts to question whether the UK government's goal of reducing electrical consumption by 20% by 2050 might not be achievable using such methods.
The study targets seven areas of excess energy use by 'low-energy' homes that could conceivably offset as much as one half of the savings that consumers should be seeing in their electric bills.
Lead researcher David Lomas of Loughborough University observed that the study showed "some householders who install double-glazing, insulation and energy-efficient boilers end up using fuel at close to the old levels, often because they are more concerned about comfort than saving energy." When presented with the results of the survery, Paul Stern, director of Human Dimensions of Global Change commented on behalf of the US National Research Council, stating that they do not disagree with the conclusions of the survey, but point out that such "efficiency measures do save energy overall."
Image credit: Oak Ridge National Laboratory