The impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on domestic energy consumption in GB

Reducing building energy demand is key to achieving the UK’s Net Zero emissions target. Buildings (homes, schools, offices, shops, etc.) currently account for 29% of carbon emissions.

It is one of the most challenging sectors as it drives peak energy demand in the UK, and is an area where the government is planning to invest billions of pounds to reduce its emissions. One of the key building blocks in the plans to tackle ‘net zero’ is having a good understanding of where and how we use energy; the main source of carbon emissions.

COVID-19 is impacting, and will continue to impact building energy demand in both the short and long term. In the short term, lockdown restrictions around the world caused huge changes in daily routines, such as the near 24/7 occupancy of homes and the closing of schools and businesses. This resulted in very significant changes in energy use [1]. These changes have come at the cost of massive social and economic impact; unsustainable in the long term. Post COVID-19 a ‘new normal’ energy use will result. Carbon reduction plans will need to be rapidly changed to take account of this ‘new normal’ following the initial global disease outbreak. This paper aims to understand the changes in domestic energy consumption patterns in GB during the first few months of lockdown. In doing so we consider how these changes may persist beyond the end of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

The research presented here uses half-hourly electricity and gas data for around 1700 households in England and Wales from before, during and after the core lockdown period in GB. These are used in combination with survey data from September 2019 about each household and dwelling, a survey from May 2020 about changes to the household and its activities during the lockdown period, and contextual data such as local weather data and Energy Performance Certificate [2] (where available).

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The impact of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions on domestic energy consumption in GB

Sectors: Buildings, Cross cutting, District energy, Power sector

Country / Region: Europe, United Kingdom

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In 1 user collection: Session 2a: Behavioural insights and effective communication for climate change mitigation

Knowledge Object: Publication / Report

Author: Ellen Webborn, Gesche Huebner, Eoghan McKenna, Nicole Watson, Simon Elam, Tadj Oreszczyn


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