Household Energy Efficiency Index

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    Household Energy Efficiency Index

    Energy efficiency has always been important, but with a looming climate emergency and energy prices that continue to alarm UK residents, it is more relevant now than ever. While companies struggle with rising business electricity rates and households attempt to tackle the ever-increasing cost of living, many people are looking for ways to keep their bills under control.

    There are many ways to counter the additional strain that rising bills have on your finances, such as limiting energy use at home or switching business energy supply to a different provider. However, ensuring your home or place of work is as energy-efficient as possible is the best way to get the most out of your money.

    Unfortunately, households across the country are not equally equipped regarding energy efficiency, with some areas using much more power than others, leading to a potential disparity in their annual utility bills. With this in mind, we have analysed official government data to reveal the parts of England and Wales with the most energy-efficient dwellings and those with the least.

    Households in Knowsley are the most energy-efficient of any local authority in England and Wales

    The most energy efficient local authorities in England and Wales

    1. Knowsley – Energy Efficiency Score of 9.69

    Knowsley has the highest Energy Efficiency Score of any local authority in England and Wales at 9.69 out of 10. This large Merseyside borough comprises several towns and villages, including Kirkby, Huyton, Prescot and Knowsley. The area scored well for all factors, with low energy usage, low CO2 emissions, more affordable utility bills and a high proportion of households receiving positive EPC ratings in 2023.

    2. Hackney – Energy Efficiency Score of 9.62

    Hackney has the second-highest Energy Efficiency Score of 9.62, just missing out on the top spot by a small margin. Just over three-quarters of dwellings in Hackney received EPC ratings of A, B or C in 2023, while the borough was one of only four areas in England and Wales with an average energy consumption lower than 200 kWh/m2.

    3. Newham – Energy Efficiency Score of 9.45

    Newham takes third place with an Energy Efficiency Score of 9.45 and is one of seven London boroughs to make the top ten, suggesting properties in the capital region are much more energy efficient than in other parts of the country. Newham performed best when it came to the price of heating, with the average household spending £863 heating their homes in 2023, which is the seventh-lowest amount in our study.

    The most energy efficient local authorities in England and Wales

    With an energy efficiency score of 0.11/10, households in Powys have the lowest energy efficiency score of local authorities in England and Wales

    The least energy efficient local authorities in England and Wales

    1. Powys – Energy Efficiency Score of 0.11

    The Welsh region of Powys had the lowest Energy Efficiency Score in our study at just 0.11 out of 10. Of the 318 local authority areas covered in our research, Powys scored in the bottom 10 for every factor, spending the second-most to heat their homes and the fifth-highest amount on hot water.

    2. Isles of Scilly – Energy Efficiency Score of 0.13

    The Isles of Scilly had the second-worst Energy Efficiency Score at 0.13. This remote part of Cornwall, England, had the lowest proportion of dwellings given a positive EPC rating in 2023, with just 8.5% rated A, B or C. The area performed poorly across all factors in our study, particularly household energy consumption and average hot water costs.

    3. Gwynedd – Energy Efficiency Score of 0.18

    Gwynedd, in Northwestern Wales, has the third-lowest Energy Efficiency Score at just 0.18. While only 22 Welsh local authorities were featured in our study, four made the bottom 10, suggesting that people in Wales are disproportionately affected by homes with low energy efficiency. Gwynedd performed worst for energy consumption, with the average household using 309.5 kWh per square metre in 2023.

    The least energy efficient local authorities in England and Wales

    Households in Greater London have the best Energy Efficiency Score of any region

    The top 10 regions with the best

    The region with the highest Energy Efficiency Score is London, scoring 9.33 out of 10. London had the highest score for almost every factor, showing that people in the capital are much better off for energy-efficient homes. This suggests there has been much more significant investment in energy efficiency in the capital region than in the rest of the country.

    Meanwhile, the region with the lowest Energy Efficiency Score was Yorkshire and the Humber, scoring 1.78 out of 10. The area scored poorly for all factors other than the average annual cost of hot water per household, which stood at £255.52 for 2023.

    The top 10 regions with the best

    Manchester and Cardiff are among the cities with the lowest proportion of regular energy bill reviewers

    The best and worst local authorities for each energy-efficiency factor

    While the overall Energy Efficiency Score can give us a good overview of which local authorities have the most energy-efficient households, we can gain additional insight by considering each factor in isolation.

    Knowsley and Tower Hamlets had the highest proportion of households receiving positive EPC ratings in 2023

    Two local authorities, Knowsley and Tower Hamlets, were tied with the joint-highest proportion of households receiving positive EPC ratings in 2023. Both areas saw 83.2% of dwellings given an EPC rating of A, B, or C, though there are noticeable differences in how these are distributed.

    Very few properties in either local authority received an A for their EPC rating, with 0.63% in Knowsley and just 0.02% in Tower Hamlets. However, Tower Hamlets had a noticeably higher proportion of dwellings rated B than Knowsley, with 34.86% and 28.55%, respectively.

    Just 8.5% of households in the Isles of Scilly received positive EPC ratings in 2023

    The Isles of Scilly had the lowest proportion of dwellings receiving positive EPC ratings in 2023 at just 8.5%. Of these, none received an A rating, while 2.13% of properties were rated B, and 6.38% received a C rating.

    Local authorities with the most and fewest positive EPC ratings in 2023

    Milton Keynes had the lowest average household energy consumption in 2023

    Milton Keynes is the local authority with the lowest average household energy consumption in 2023 at 168.9 kWh per square metre. As the city was only founded in 1967, most properties are more recently built than in other parts of the country, which could contribute to the relatively low energy usage seen here.

    The Isles of Scilly had the highest average household energy consumption in 2023

    The Isles of Scilly saw the highest average energy household consumption at 344.4 kWh per square metre. This small archipelago off the coast of Southwest England comprises over 200 islands, approximately 28 miles off the coast of Cornwall, and has a population of around 2,100. These factors make it more challenging to update older properties in the area and increase their energy efficiency.

    Local authorities with the highes and lowest average energy consumption in 2023

    The City of London had the lowest average household CO2 emissions in 2023

    The City of London, a district in the centre of the capital, traditionally known as the home of the UK financial sector, had the lowest average household CO2 emissions in 2023 at just 2.03 tonnes. Most residential buildings in the City of London are modern apartments, which could explain why their CO2 emissions are much lower than the national average.

    Households in Powys had the highest average CO2 emissions in 2023

    Powys had the highest average CO2 emissions per household in 2023 at 5.72 tonnes. This very high figure could reflect properties using older heating technologies that are less efficient and rely more heavily on fossil fuels.

    The City of London had the lowest average household CO2 emissions in 2023  The City of London, a district in the centre of the capital, traditionally known as the home of the UK financial sector, had the lowest average household CO2 emissions in 2023 at just 2.03 tonnes. Most residential buildings in the City of London are modern apartments, which could explain why their CO2 emissions are much lower than the national average.  Households in Powys had the highest average CO2 emissions in 2023  Powys had the highest average CO2 emissions per household in 2023 at 5.72 tonnes. This very high figure could reflect properties using older heating technologies that are less efficient and rely more heavily on fossil fuels.

    Tower Hamlets had by far the lowest average household heating costs in 2023

    The local authority with the lowest average household heating costs in 2023 was Tower Hamlets, whose annual cost was £614. This made Tower Hamlets one of only two local authorities where this figure was below £700, with the other being the City of London. To put this in greater perspective, only 12 of the 318 local authorities in England and Wales saw average household heating costs below £900.

    Households in Stafford Moorlands had the highest average heating costs in 2023

    The highest average household heating costs were seen in Stafford Moorlands at £1,809 per year. This is almost three times as much as households in Tower Hamlets can expect to pay, revealing clear disparities in the cost of living between different parts of the country.

    Local authorities with the highest and lowest average household heating cost in 2023the UK

    The lowest average household hot water costs in 2023 were seen in Chesterfield

    The Derbyshire market town of Chesterfield saw the lowest average household cost of hot water in 2023 at just £166.74 for the year. Affordable access to hot water is vital for maintaining a healthy household and is much less expensive than heating costs.

    The Isles of Scilly saw the highest average household hot water costs in 2023

    The most expensive hot water rates were found in the Isles of Scilly, where locals paid an average of £403.66 across 2023. This marks the local authority’s third factor for which it scored the worst rating in England and Wales.

    Local authorities with the highest and lowest average household hot water cost in 2023

    The best and worst UK regions for each energy-efficiency factor

    It’s also important to consider how wider geographical regions differ for each factor to see how disparities in energy efficiency affect households more broadly across the country.

    London is the region with the highest proportion of households with positive EPC ratings

    Greater London saw the highest proportion of households receiving positive EPC ratings in 2023 at 62.8%. However, just 0.17% received the top A rating, while 15.95% were rated B, and 46.64% were rated C.

    Wales has a lower proportion of households with positive EPC ratings than any region

    Households in Wales saw the lowest proportion of EPC ratings in 2023 at 53.05%. Despite this, Wales saw the highest proportion of dwellings receive the top-tier A rating of 1.98%. However, Wales also saw the highest proportion of properties receive the worst rating, with 1.17% rated G.

    Regions with the most and fewest positive EPC ratings

    Households in London had the lowest 2023 energy consumption

    The London region had the lowest household energy consumption at an average of 222.6 kWh per square metre. This is followed by the South East, where this figure was 231.2 kWh, while the South West took third place with households using 241.3 kWh per square metre. These results clearly show that households in more southern areas of the country use less energy than those in the rest of England and Wales.

    Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest average household energy consumption in 2023

    The region with the highest household energy use per square metre was Yorkshire and the Humber, where this figure reached 264 kWh. This was followed by the West Midlands, where households used 256.2 kWh per square metre, and the East Midlands, with 251 kWh.

    Regions with the highest and lowest average household energy consumption in 2023

    London households produced the lowest average CO2 emissions in 2023

    Households in London produced the lowest amount of C02 in 2023, averaging 2.91 tonnes. Interestingly, the most northerly regions of England then followed, with the North West taking second place with 3.53 tonnes of CO2, while the North East took third place with 3.56 tonnes produced.

    Welsh households had the highest average CO2 emissions in 2023

    Households in Wales produced the most CO2 in 2023, with an average of 3.9 tonnes, almost a tonne more than London households. Wales is followed by the East Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, which were tied with the second-highest amount of C02 produced per household at 2.81 tonnes, on average.

    Regions with the highest and lowest averfage household CO2 emissions in 2023

    Households in London spent the least on heating in 2023

    London takes yet another top spot as households spent the least on heating their homes in 2023, with average costs of £967 for the year. This makes London the only region where this figure was below £1,000. There was a more than £200 gap between London and the next most affordable region for heating, the East of England, where heating costs for 2023 averaged £1,196.

    Yorkshire and the Humber saw households pay the most for their heating in 2023

    Yorkshire and the Humber saw households spending the most on heating their homes in 2023, with average costs of £1,320. This is followed by the central areas of the country, with households in the East Midlands spending an average of £1,302, while the West Midlands saw average costs of £1,292.

    Regions with the highest and lowest average household ehating cost in 2023

    Households in the North East spent the least on hot water in 2023

    The region with the lowest hot water costs in 2023 was the North East, where the average household spent £240.87 for the year’s supply. Wales saw the second lowest hot water costs, averaging £252.76 per household, while the North West took third place, with average costs of £253.44.

    The South West has the highest average household spend on hot water in 2023

    Households in the South West spent the most on hot water in 2023, with average costs reaching £287.13, showing much less variance in affordability for hot water than for heating. The East of England saw the second highest prices at £281.60 per household, while households in the South East took third place with costs of £276.23.

     

    Regions with the highest and lowest average household hot water cost in 2023

    How to be more energy efficient at home in 2024

    As we’ve seen in our study, home energy efficiency can vary considerably depending on where you are in the country, which can mean higher bills and colder homes. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to provide tips on ensuring your home is as energy-efficient as possible.

    Double or triple-glazing

    Ensuring your windows are properly insulated is a great place to start when looking to improve your home’s energy efficiency. A lot of heat energy escapes our homes via the windows, even when shut, as glass provides a thin barrier between the indoors and the weather.

    Installing double glazing has been popular for a while now and is an excellent way of reducing the amount of heat loss via windows in your home. Double-glazed windows are made of two panes of glass with a gap of air between them, which slows the transfer of heat. Double glazing has been around for a while, but some homes haven’t upgraded their windows.

    Triple glazing takes the same principle and simply adds another pane of glass, creating an additional air gap in your window. This helps to slow the transfer of heat even further, helping to keep your heating bills under control.

    Update your boiler

    The boilers in our homes get a lot of use year-round, producing hot water for all our domestic needs and heating our homes in the colder months. Because of this, the energy efficiency of our boilers is significant for determining how much energy a household uses and how big the utility bills will be at the end of the month.

    As boilers have long lifespans of 15 years or more, we might need to remember to upgrade them to a newer model when the time comes. Older boilers use much more energy than newer models, which use modern, more efficient technologies. If your boiler is starting to feel its age, consider upgrading it sooner rather than later to help keep your energy bills down.

    Switch to a heat pump

    Heat pumps are a cleaner and more efficient way of heating your home than a traditional gas boiler. Many households with heat pumps see a reduction in their monthly bills, so it could be a good option for people struggling with the rising cost of living.

    Heat pumps are compatible with most UK homes, requiring no more maintenance than a traditional boiler. Government funding is in place to help households adopt this new technology, with up to £7,500 available in England and Wales, while Scotland and Northern Ireland have separate schemes.

    Use LED bulbs

    LED bulbs are a surefire way to reduce the energy used in your home and save money on your electricity bills. These bulbs are much more efficient than traditional incandescent and CFL bulbs, offering brighter light at a lower wattage.

    LED bulbs may be slightly more expensive, but in addition to using less power, they also last far longer, making them the cheaper option in the long run.

    Beware vampire devices

    A significant portion of the energy used in our homes is wasted on so-called “vampire devices”, which soak up electricity even when unused. You can counter this by unplugging devices in your home while not in use and switching off unused plug sockets. This should help to reduce energy wastage in your home.

    Additionally, beware of leaving devices in standby mode, as they will still use some energy. Devices such as TVs, record players and computers have standby or “sleep” modes, which can be helpful if you use them frequently. However, for devices not in regular use, or if you’re out of the house for an extended period, consider switching them off entirely or even unplugging them.

    Draught-proof your home

    Another way to ensure your home is as energy-efficient as possible is to eliminate draughts. A draughty home will leak any warm air into the atmosphere, making it much more difficult and expensive to heat the property. Draughts are commonly found around doors and windows, especially in older properties.

    You can also use internal draught excluders around doorways to keep warm air from escaping certain rooms. This allows you to only heat the parts of the house you intend to use, saving on your energy bills.

    Install insulation

    Installing insulation is an excellent way of making your home more accessible and cheaper to heat, as it will stay warmer for much longer. Insulation, such as loft insulation, wall cavity insulation, and underfloor insulation, can warm your property.

    Most homes could benefit from several types of insulation to achieve the best effect, though this will depend on the specific property.

    Generate your own energy

    Producing your own energy is an excellent way of reducing your energy bills and the CO2 emissions of your home. Installing solar panels on your roof is the most common option and can supply enough energy to power most of your household needs.

    Using solar panels or other renewable sources, such as a small wind turbine, to generate your own electricity makes you much less reliant on the national grid and the prices set by energy companies. Additionally, these options are great for the environment, dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of your entire household.

    Methodology

    We wanted to determine which parts of the country had the most energy-efficient homes and which had the least.

    We used UK government data to show us the EPC ratings for properties in each local authority and region in England and Wales. These EPC ratings only indicate properties rated in 2023 but give a good insight into current energy efficiency standards across the country. We combined the number of households that received positive EPC ratings (A, B or C) and compared that to the number of households rated to produce a percentage figure.

    We also took several energy-efficiency factors from the same source, including household energy consumption per square metre, annual tonnes of household CO2 emissions, heating costs, and hot water costs. These figures were calculated per household, using the number of households listed for each area in the same dataset.

    We then combined all the factors to create an overall Energy Efficiency Score, allowing us to reveal the best and worst parts of England and Wales for energy-efficient homes. This process was carried out for all local authorities in England and Wales, as well as for all English regions and Wales as a whole.

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