Government proposes new standards for energy-efficient lighting for homes and businesses

The Government is launching a new consultation on whether lighting in domestic and non-domestic buildings would need to meet increased energy performance standards across the UK, in a move that could save households money on energy costs while reducing emissions by 1.7m tonnes by 2050.

Government proposes new standards for energy-efficient lighting for homes and businesses

The proposals would come into force in late 2023, with further increased minimum standards introduced from September 2027

The Government announced the launch of a consultation on new energy-efficient lighting on Tuesday (10 January). Under the proposals, lighting in domestic and non-domestic buildings in England, Scotland and Wales would need to meet minimum energy performance standards to reduce emissions and save on energy costs.

The Government claims that current proposals would deliver higher standards than what is currently applicable in the US or the EU.

Under the proposals, lighting such as low energy-use LEDS would be rolled out to replace old halogen bulbs. Government estimates suggest that doing so could save households between £2,000 to £3,000 over the lifetime of the bulbs.

Already, half of the lighting product models on the UK market meet the current energy standards, with the new proposed regulations increasing access to energy-efficient lighting options. The results could see more than 1.7m tonnes of emissions saved by 2050, the equivalent of a year’s worth of carbon emissions from 2.5 million UK households.

Business and Energy Minister Lord Callanan said: “Putin’s warmongering in Ukraine means everyone is feeling the effect of higher energy bills this winter, but these new standards can help lighten the load by ensuring British homes and businesses are lit as efficiently as possible.

“As we’ve shown in the government’s energy saving campaign, small changes, like switching to more efficient light bulbs, can add up to big savings. By going further with these regulations than either the US or EU, British homes, factories and offices will have some of the cheapest and greenest lighting in the world, helping keep down bills and reducing energy usage.”

The proposals would come into force in late 2023, with further increased minimum standards introduced from September 2027.

Energy costs

The consultation is the latest effort from policymakers to respond to rising energy costs while attempting to deliver the net-zero target for 2050.

As part of the Autumn Statement, the Government set a target to reduce the UK’s final energy consumption from buildings and industry by 15% by 2030 against 2021 levels.

The Government also pledged £6m of funding up to 2028 to increase energy efficiency upgrades across the housing sector, with a further £4bn allocated through the ECO4 scheme to improve home insulation measures.

Late last year, the Government unveiled a new £18m energy saving campaign aimed at raising awareness of the simple steps that households can take to reduce energy bills.

However, the Government’s last two national energy efficiency incentive schemes for homes, the Green Deal and the Green Homes Grant, are broadly regarded as failures in their early closures and lack of clarity provided.

The influential Aldersgate Group of businesses is urging the Government to go beyond its headline energy-efficient homes targets for the 2030s and provide clearer information on subsidies – both for the short term and the years to come.

In a new report on ‘Warming Britain Affordably’, the group warns that current targets need to be built upon with a more robust long-term plan to improve the energy efficiency of all homes – homes being the focus given the impact of the energy price crisis on households and the Government’s ambition for all homes to meet EPC ‘C’ standards or higher by 2035. Delivery on this ambition is not running on track, the UK’s climate advisors confirmed last summer.

The Government is also reducing energy relief funding for businesses. The Government has confirmed that the next stage of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses is being allocated £5.5bn over the course of one year, compared with £18bn over six months for the original scheme.

Commenting on the announcement, Stew Horne, head of policy at Energy Saving Trust said: “Energy Saving Trust welcomes the government’s proposals to improve lighting performance standards, which would directly benefit households and businesses by saving energy and reducing bills. We look forward to helping shape these standards as part of the transition to decarbonisation.”

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