Energy news round up: four in 10 parents considering a ‘digital detox’ to reduce energy bills this summer

Plus: calls to ban new gas boilers from 2025, and more, in this week's energy news round up

energy bills
(Image credit: Getty)

This week's energy news round-up opens with reports of parents looking to limit their kids' energy consumption over the summer holidays, in an attempt to keep bills down. Meanwhile, business organisation CBI has warned that new gas boilers must be banned from 2025, and a new study calls for urgent and dramatic energy improvements for UK housing. Here's the latest energy news from the last few days...

Four in 10 parents considering a ‘digital detox’ to reduce energy bills this summer

A new study by energy expert Smart Energy GB has found that four in 10 parents across the country are considering a ‘digital detox’ in their homes to save energy this summer. 

Worried parents trying to save money on their household energy bills say they will try to limit the amount of time their kids spend watching TV, playing games consoles and using mobile phones. Half the parents consulted by the study said they notice an increase in their energy bills this summer, due to having the kids at home.

Energy prices plummeted over lockdown, but prices are now rising once again. If you're worried about your energy bills, a good way to save money is to run an energy comparison and switch to the best energy deal in your area - you could save up to £400 a year, especially if you haven't changed tariff in over 18 months. 

New gas boilers must be banned from 2025 to avoid missing net zero target 

A high-level report organised by business organisation CBI has warned the government that the installation of new gas boilers must be banned from 2025 - or the UK’s net zero target will be missed. Such a ban would mostly include conventional gas boilers, but hybrid or hydrogen boilers would be permitted. 

The commission also said that by 2035 fossil fuel boilers should be replaced by renewable heating technologies, such as heat pumps and district heating systems. Households and businesses could be helped to make the switch by grants or loans. 

When combined with energy efficiency measures, these could help people lower their household energy bills, as well as their carbon footprint. Households can also switch to one of the best green energy suppliers to further reduce their carbon footprint.

Dramatic energy improvements are needed for housing, says new study 

Properties were retrofitted in Nottingham

(Image credit: Nottingham Trent University)

The UK’s homes require “dramatic improvements” to meet climate targets, with a national programme of retrofits urgently needed. That's according to researchers at Nottingham Trent University (NTU), who say the retrofits will need to be delivered in volume, quickly and cost-effectively, if the country is to meet its net zero energy target. 

NTU has tested a number of options on some 460 homes. These include measures to improve the building fabric, wrap-around for solid walls on older properties, and ground-source heat pumps. 86 per cent of the households involved reported improvements, including warmer homes and cheaper bills. 

200,000 people may not be able to heat their homes this winter 

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition has warned that more than 200,000 UK households may be at risk of fuel poverty this winter, as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. This could, in turn, make them more at risk if there is a second wave of coronavirus infections this year. 

A report from the Academy of Medical Sciences has predicted a worst-case scenario of 120,000 hospital deaths between September and next June, with the most at risk being low-income households affected by poor ventilation and overcrowding. Lower temperatures due to poorly heated or insulated homes will reduce immunity to viruses.


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Robin Whitlock

Robin is a freelance journalist specialising in renewable energy, environmental issues, climate change and transport. He's written for Renewable Energy Magazine for almost a decade, covering all sub-sectors of the global renewable industry - from onshore and offshore wind, solar PV and solar thermal energy, to biomass, anaerobic digestion (AD), geothermal, energy efficiency and smart technology, electric vehicles and hybrids, and much more.