U.K. Told Drafty Homes Ban May Save Power of Six Nuclear Plants

Britain could reduce its energy bills 7.5 billion pounds ($9.7 billion) by 2035 and save the equivalent of six new nuclear power plants by spurring efficiency measures, two research groups said.

Government could consider a ban on selling drafty homes and requirements for more efficient appliances to reap benefits for the economy through energy efficiency, according to the author of a study published Wednesday by the U.K. Energy Research Center and the Center on Innovation and Energy Demand.

The findings provide an option for ministers to keep electricity supplies flowing without building new power plants. The government last year gave the green light for Electricite de France SA to build a the first new nuclear station at Hinkley Point at a cost of more than 20 billion pounds.

Already, rules on domestic heating boilers and subsidies for insulation have reduced U.K. gas consumption for homes by 27 percent since 2004, while electricity demand has fallen by 13 percent along with the introduction of more efficient light bulbs and appliances, the researchers found.

More savings could be delivered if the government set a long-term energy target that would send a signal to businesses about the kinds of measures to invest in, the researchers said. That could include banning the sale of homes that don’t meet a certain efficiency standard, according to Nick Eyre, a professor at the University of Oxford who was a co-author of the report.

“At least there would be an end point to build a path to,” Eyre told journalists on Wednesday. “At the moment, we don’t even know where we’re going and it’s sensible to work out where we’re going before we work out how to get there.”

The target may be similar to the announcement by the government in July to end the sale of diesel and petrol fueled cars by 2040, while Scotland and France are already considering banning the sale of homes that don’t meet certain standards, he said.

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