This in-depth UK Household Electricity Use Study aimed to cover the electricity usage of a representative sample of English owner-occupier homes. The report was jointly commissioned by Energy Saving Trust, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). Its results are summarised in the report “Powering the Nation”, provide the richest insights ever produced in the UK into how people use the electrical products that power their lives.
The report uncovers a number of surprises, mostly unwelcome ones:
- The power consumption of appliances on standby is much higher than we thought.
- Single-person households – over 29 per cent of all UK households – use as much, and sometimes more, energy than typical families for cooking and laundry.
- We really are a nation of television watchers – not almost five hours a day but an average of more than six hours a day, costing us an an extra £205 million a year across the UK.
- We love to keep our clothes clean. We run, on average, 5.5 washes a week; and if we have a tumble dryer, 81 per cent of our washing is dried in it.
- We spend more on keeping our crockery, glasses and cutlery clean than we do on our clothes. Anyone with a dishwasher uses on average nearly twice as much electricity for this as they do for their washing machine.
Powering the nation shows how much we need to do to reduce our energy use in the UK and work towards a low-carbon future. Not only do we need to use less power, we also need to use power differently and at different times, altering our behaviour to reduce the ‘peak load’ demands on the grid. This will become even more crucial in the next decade, when there’s more decentralised and renewable power in the electricity mix, and we need to power the next generation of electric vehicles.