The challenge to UK energy policy: An ageing population perspective on energy saving measures and consumption
With a focus on the residential sector, this paper explores the likelihood of the UK government meeting its energy targets. The paper contends that energy policy needs to take into account the interplay of four major factors: an ageing population of increasing diversity; a cultural inclination for older housing much of which is thermally inefficient; levels of fuel poverty; and the inexorable rise of consumer spending on leisure related services and goods. Decisions made by older households (both the poorer and the better off) may be critical to the success of energy policy. Among the better off the changing expectations of the baby boomers, with their predilection for consumption and travel, may have particular impact. The paper concludes that much of the reduction in carbon footprint made by older people's choices in heating and insulation may be offset, not only by increasing domestic thermal comfort, but also potentially by increasing consumables in the home and other consumer lifestyle choices. What could be achieved at best, may be a shift in energy mix.
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