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Sixty years of energy in the home

Published on 13 July 2012 09:00 AM

83% have made changes to their property or replaced appliances to save energy

42% don't monitor energy consumption

Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of the charity Age UK, has today published research looking at energy usage in the home over the past 60 years. The findings highlight that people have consistently aspired to save energy throughout the past six decades but surprisingly almost half surveyed are not monitoring usage, one of the most effective ways of reducing usage.

Saving energy has been consistently important to people since the 50s. Being energy efficient back then was all about simple measures and behavioural changes. Nearly nine out of ten people (88%) [1] took steps to cut energy usage in the 1950s. Switching off the lights when leaving the room (75%) and using draught excluders (72%) were the most popular ways of saving energy[2].

Today, most people still embark on simple behaviours to save energy, such as turning off the lights (86%) or the TV (83%) when not in use, but in addition they increasingly rely on  technology to become more energy efficient. More than eight out of ten respondents (83%) have made changes to their property or replaced appliances to cut their energy consumption: 75% have installed double glazing, 60% have installed roof insulation and 38% have upgraded old appliances to more energy efficient versions. Modern day appliances have become increasingly more energy efficient because of a range of factors including both national and European regulation as well as competitive consumer demand to make products more energy efficient.

Despite this progress however, the research shows that two out of five people in the UK (42%) do not monitor their energy consumption, one of the most effective ways of reducing usage. By far the most important step in reducing electricity consumption is being aware of how much is used and which day-to-day activities use the most electricity*. This can range from simply checking bills regularly to installing one of the many available energy usage monitors recommended by the Energy Savings Trust or energy suppliers.

Gordon Morris, Managing Director of Age UK Enterprises, said: 'As energy efficient technologies such as roof insulation have become cheaper and more easily accessible, many people have made changes to their homes to significantly reduce their energy consumption. It's great to see that nearly everyone is trying to conserve resources. But despite all the progress made in recent years, there are still around 3.3 million older people in fuel poverty. This is why we're committed to supporting consumers to better understand their energy requirements, and to help them reduce their energy usage even further.'

Anthony Ainsworth from E.ON commented: 'With the introduction of central heating and the advent of new technology, there has been a massive shift in how we use energy in the home over the past 60 years. It is why we do all we can to provide the products and services to help our customers get energy fit and stay in control of their energy consumption easily and cost-effectively.'

Here are some tips to help you become more energy efficient:

  • Installing cavity-wall insulation could save you up to £135* per year, and installing loft insulation of 270mm could cut your energy bills by up to £175* per year. If you are aged 70 or over, or receive certain benefits, you could even get loft and cavity wall insulation installed completely free of charge.
  • Draught-proofing your home could help you save on average £55* per year.
  • Draw your curtains or blinds in the evenings to minimise heat loss through windows.
  • Insulating your hot-water tank could help you cut your bills by around £40* per year.
  • Switch off appliances ather than leaving them on standby when you are not using them.
  • Double-glazing could reduce heat loss through windows, saving you up to £165* per year, and cut down on noise from outside.
  • When it's time to replace appliances, look for products with the Energy Saving-recommended logo because they have met Energy Saving Trust criteria for energy efficiency and will cost less to run.

For more advice on how to save energy call Age UK Advice on 0800 169 6565 or download our guide "Save energy, pay less" from the Age UK website:


*According to the Energy Savings Trust

- Ends -

For more information contact Clare Allison or Imogen Dunn or 020 7360 7878

[1] All figures quoted in the release unless otherwise stated are based on research conducted online by Populus. Fieldwork was undertaken between May 23rd and May 25th 2012. The total sample size consisted of 2,000 people.  All age groups (18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-55, 55-64 and 65-plus) were surveyed on their energy behaviour today and asked about the energy behaviour of their parents when they grew up.

[2] Respondents could choose multiple answers

Age UK

For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office: Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.

We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and wellbeing, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we").  Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity). 


Age UK Enterprises

To fund its charitable activities, Age UK needs a constant flow of independent income. It seeks to achieve this through a balance of traditional fund raising and trading activities.
The trading activities, through Age UK Enterprises enable it to meet the needs of older people, through products specifically designed to meet these needs; quality products such as general insurance and energy services. 

Age UK Enterprises is the commercial services arm of Age UK. Age UK Enterprises incorporates: Age UK Energy, Age UK Insurance Services and Age UK Guaranteed Funeral Plans. Log on to for details.

Age UK Enterprises is part of the Social Enterprise Coalition; an organisation that represents a wide range of social enterprises with the overarching aim of working in partnership for the creation of effective sector products, services and knowledge-sharing networks to help stimulate and encourage growth, development and sustainability of social enterprises in England.

Age UK Enterprises Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority for insurance mediation (311438). Age UK Enterprises Limited is registered in England and Wales No. 3156159, registered office: Age UK, 7th Floor, One America Square, 17 Crosswall, London, EC3N 2LB. VAT Number: 710 3843 66. Age UK Enterprises Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Age UK (registered charity No. 1128267 and registered company No. 06825798) and donates its net profits to Age UK.

Age UK England (charity number 261794) has merged with Help the Aged (charity number 272786) to form Age UK, a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England: registered office address Age UK, 7th Floor, One America Square, 17 Crosswall, London, EC3N 2LB, company number 6825798, registered charity number 1128267.

Age UK Energy Services

Age UK EnergyReward is a tailor made gas and electricity package provided by E.ON. Age UK Energy is a trading name of Age UK Enterprises Limited (a trading company of Age UK, which donates profits to that charity). Registered in England and Wales No. 3156159. Registered Office: Astral House, 1268 London Road, London SW16 4ER.

E.ON Energy Limited. Registered office: Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry CV4 8LG, registered in England and Wales No. 3407430. Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England.

Age UK Group comprises of the Age UK Charity and its group of companies. Registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798. Registered address: 207-221 Pentonville Road, London N1 NUZ.

Age UK Group have worked closely with E.ON and have developed Age UK Energy, with a great range of benefits, special offers, discounts and services which are all designed to help you save money on your energy.  

This great energy deal includes:
• Guaranteed minimum cold weather payment of £10 or £20 for gas customers aged 80
and over. An extra payment may also be paid for every day between December and
February that the temperature falls below freezing*
• Save up to 8% on your bills when you take electricity as well as gas and pay for both
    by fixed monthly Direct Debit**
• Free welcome pack including a free gift choice of either a carbon monoxide alarm,
twin pack LED night lights or wind up torch***, energy saving tips and much more
• Doing more to help you save. As a responsible energy supplier, E.ON is dedicated
to helping their customers use energy more efficiently. That's why they've launched a free service to make it easier for you to save energy and money.

Visit to find out more. For more information call 0800 404 5010, drop in to a selected Age UK office**** or log on to
*The £10/£20 cold weather payment from E.ON is only applicable to Single Gas and Dual Fuel customers. It will be credited as a rebate Spring and will be shown on the following bill.
**As a gas customer, you may also receive a payment based on the number of days the temperature falls below freezing between December and February. The temperature is taken from the Pickering Weather Station in Yorkshire, one of the coldest places in the UK.
***Discounts are not payable on final bills. Whilst stocks last. If product is unavailable, alternatives will be offered.
****Not all Age UK offices offer all Age UK products. Please check (by telephoning your
local office) before arranging a visit).

About E.ON

In the UK, E.ON supplies power and gas to around five million domestic, small and medium-sized enterprise and industrial customers - meaning the company has to buy approximately 122.7 billion kWh of power and gas each year to meet their needs.  E.ON also offers innovative energy services and technologies tailored to meet its customers' needs, and is helping customers become energy fit by encouraging them to insulate their homes, moderate their energy usage and even generate their own power.

In an industry first, E.ON has launched its Reset Review - a process that will examine every aspect of E.ON's relationship with its customers. It will look at tariffs and bills, at how customers pay, at how products are sold, and how support is offered to customers. To do this E.ON will work with its independent Customer Council, directly with its customers and engage with consumer advocacy groups and other interested parties to undertake the Reset Review. As a result, E.ON will put customers back in control of their energy, which will be simply communicated and transparently fair.

In October 2010, E.ON call centres reached the Top Ten in latest research from the Top 50 Call Centres for Customer Service. One of the UK's leading power and gas companies achieved tenth place and came top of the Utilities sector with a score of 89.10% against an overall Top 50 average of 86%, in the UK's biggest ever call centre benchmarking exercise, conducted by independent market research company GfK Mystery Shopping. 

E.ON also offers CaringEnergy - a single source of help to reduce energy bills, improve energy efficiency and maximise the income of homes which are currently in or at risk of fuel poverty.  Through CaringEnergy customers can get help with free or discounted cavity wall and loft insulation, a free Benefits Entitlement Check and access to a fund which supports low income households and those facing financial difficulty.

E.ON UK plc. Registered in England and Wales. No 2366970.
Registered Office: Westwood Way, Westwood Business Park, Coventry CV4 8LG  

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Last updated: Oct 20 2022

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