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:


  1. 2007’s Energy White Paper, setting the UK a target of cutting carbon emissions by 80% by 2050
  2. The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates in the UK (EPCs)
  3. The Stern Review, which laid out the economic reasons why complacency in the face of climate change constitutes a massive market failure
  4. 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
  5. 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.
  6. Building regulations that ensure new boilers have to be condensing and new windows have to be double glazed
  7. Nearly 30% solar and wind installed capacity since 1992; tenfold worldwide growth in solar PV market alone since 2007
  8. The EU-wide phase out of all incandescent lighting
  9. Local authorities working collaboratively, and Europe-wide to cut emissions through initiatives like the Covenant of Mayors
  10. The recent surge in market growth of LED lighting
  11. 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.
  12. The launch of the Code for Sustainable Homes – for the first time setting a national standard for sustainable construction
  13. Getting the numbers right: huge growth in available accurate data on home energy efficiency since 1992
  14. The announcement that UK homes will have smart meters by 2020
  15. New MCS standards for microgeneration installation following field trials
  16. The launch and growth of Energy Saving Trust Recommended
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. Energy-saving going interactive: explosion of online tools like our own Home Energy Check and Water Energy Calculator as internet speeds and capabilities grew
  20. 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.