The RCUK Centre for Energy Epidemiology (CEE), in collaboration with the UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP) has been working with partners including NatCen and IpsosMORI on assessing the feasibility of establishing a nationally representative longitudinal panel of energy use in UK homes. This work has covered an initial feasibility study joint funded by CEE and the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and a subsequent tender to develop the social survey component of the LUKES survey commissioned by DECC.
The aim of these studies was to explore the feasibility of setting up a process of long-term, nationally representative data collection that could address four main needs for new data in this area.
Firstly that there is limited data in the UK that allows us to manage the rapid transition to a largely decarbonised housing stock over the next 25 years.
Secondly, there is a similar lack of data on how to correctly design whole energy systems retrofit programmes to be most efficient, taking into account the interaction effects between the physical, technical and social aspects of home energy use, and the required sequencing of these interventions.
Thirdly, the very large range of recent energy research initiatives are not intending to systematically gather national scale, representative, socio-technical data on energy consumption in homes, and yet all these programmes require such data in order to contextualise and interpret the findings from their own programmes of research.
And finally, there is a common need across government, industry and academia for high-quality, disaggregate, energy demand data from UK homes of known accuracy and precision. This is needed to support strategic oversight of the energy demand landscape for policy formation, and to provide a statistical backcloth for the contextualisation of other smaller energy demand studies.
As with the establishment of any major new government survey the costs are considerable, with an initial estimate reached of around £5-7M per year, with a 5 year cost of around £27.8M, including management and analysis overheads in today’s prices. This, however, is in line with other major surveys and needs to be placed in the context of the hundreds of billions of pounds that are expected to be spent on renewing the U.K’s energy system over the coming decades.
The proposals are now under consideration by DECC and BIS and are awaiting clarification in the wake of the new Government’s latest Budget.
For additional information please email David Shipworth