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The challenge to UK energy policy: An ageing population perspective on energy saving measures and consumption


  • Hamza, Neveen
  • Gilroy, Rose


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamza, Neveen & Gilroy, Rose, 2011. "The challenge to UK energy policy: An ageing population perspective on energy saving measures and consumption," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 782-789, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:782-789

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Tonn, Bruce & Eisenberg, Joel, 2007. "The aging US population and residential energy demand," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 743-745, January.
    2. Healy, John D. & Clinch, J. Peter, 2004. "Quantifying the severity of fuel poverty, its relationship with poor housing and reasons for non-investment in energy-saving measures in Ireland," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 207-220, January.
    3. Clinch, J. Peter & Healy, John D., 2001. "Cost-benefit analysis of domestic energy efficiency," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 113-124, January.
    4. Burholt, Vanessa & Windle, Gill, 2006. "Keeping warm? Self-reported housing and home energy efficiency factors impacting on older people heating homes in North Wales," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(10), pages 1198-1208, July.
    5. Boardman, Brenda, 2004. "New directions for household energy efficiency: evidence from the UK," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(17), pages 1921-1933, November.
    6. Liddell, Christine & Morris, Chris, 2010. "Fuel poverty and human health: A review of recent evidence," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 2987-2997, June.
    7. Kronenberg, Tobias, 2009. "The impact of demographic change on energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(10), pages 2637-2645, August.
    8. Crosbie, Tracey, 2008. "Household energy consumption and consumer electronics: The case of television," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 2191-2199, June.
    9. Rose Gilroy, 2005. "The Role of Housing Space in Determining Freedom and Flourishing in Older People," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 74(1), pages 141-158, October.
    10. Lloyd, Bob, 2007. "The Commons revisited: The tragedy continues," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5806-5818, November.
    11. Power, Anne, 2008. "Does demolition or refurbishment of old and inefficient homes help to increase our environmental, social and economic viability?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, pages 4487-4501.
    12. Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John & Sommerville, Matt, 2009. "Empirical estimates of the direct rebound effect: A review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1356-1371, April.
    13. Yamasaki, Eiji & Tominaga, Norio, 1997. "Evolution of an aging society and effect on residential energy demand," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 25(11), pages 903-912, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Vilches, Alberto & Barrios Padura, Ángela & Molina Huelva, Marta, 2017. "Retrofitting of homes for people in fuel poverty: Approach based on household thermal comfort," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 283-291.
    2. Schaffrin, André & Reibling, Nadine, 2015. "Household energy and climate mitigation policies: Investigating energy practices in the housing sector," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-10.
    3. Garau, Giorgio & Lecca, Patrizio & Mandras, Giovanni, 2013. "The impact of population ageing on energy use: Evidence from Italy," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 970-980.
    4. Mardiana, A. & Riffat, S.B., 2013. "Review on physical and performance parameters of heat recovery systems for building applications," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 174-190.
    5. Day, Rosie, 2015. "Low carbon thermal technologies in an ageing society – What are the issues?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 250-256.
    6. repec:eee:energy:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:108-122 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:eneeco:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:161-171 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Tweed, Christopher & Humes, Nicholas & Zapata-Lancaster, Gabriela, 2015. "The changing landscape of thermal experience and warmth in older people’s dwellings," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 223-232.


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