The Energy Saving Trust was established on the back of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
With that in mind, we’re marking the start of the anniversary Rio+20 today with a list of 20 things that we think are real positives in energy efficiency and renewable energy since then – admittedly with an unashamed slant towards the UK, our own work, and more recent developments that top off earlier progress. Without further ado, in no particular order:
- 2007’s Energy White Paper, setting the UK a target of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050
- The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates in the UK (EPCs)
- The Stern Review, which laid out the economic reasons why complacency in the face of climate change constitutes a massive market failure
- Massive increase in loft and cavity wall insulation under the energy supplier obligation as part of the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) – aiming for 6 million by the start of the Green Deal
- Incentives, incentives, incentives: in the UK, we’ve had several boiler scrappages, the Low Carbon Building Programme, Feed-in Tariffs, and the Renewable Heat Incentive and the very current RHPP, to name but a few.
- Building regulations that ensure new boilers have to be condensing and new windows have to be double glazed
- Nearly 30% solar and wind installed capacity since 1992; tenfold worldwide growth in solar PV market alone since 2007
- The EU-wide phase out of all incandescent lighting
- Local authorities working collaboratively, and Europe-wide to cut emissions through initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors
- The recent surge in market growth of LED lighting
- The International Energy Agency’s 1-Watt initiative, a global scheme introduced in 2006 to limit standby energy consumption to one watt or less in most products on the market.
- The launch of the Code for Sustainable Homes – for the first time setting a national standard for sustainable construction
- Getting the numbers right: huge growth in available accurate data on home energy efficiency since 1992
- The announcement that UK homes will have smart meters by 2020
- New MCS standards for microgeneration installation following field trials
- The launch and growth of Energy Saving Trust Recommended
- DIY action on your doorstep: the rise and increasing organisation of community energy projects and open home networks to set a low-carbon local example
- The engagement of major businesses, such as P&G’s highly successful ‘Turn to 30’ campaign and B&Q taking patio heaters off their shelves
- Energy-saving going interactive: explosion of online tools like our own Home Energy Check and Water Energy Calculator as internet speeds and capabilities grew
- New commitment to minimum energy efficiency standards in rented properties from 2015
This list is by no means exhaustive or definitive. Really, it’s just the start of a much bigger list, but that wouldn’t fit the ‘20’ theme quite so well. Throw in your own suggestions with a comment below.