Benchmarking and tracking domestic gas and electricity consumption at the local authority level

Government, local authority and industry initiatives to improve the energy efficiency of housing stocks are central to national and international commitments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. To be effective, initiatives need to target homes which, given their location, size, fuel type and occupancy, use more energy than expected. This paper illustrates how energy efficiency benchmarks can be developed that account for these factors and highlights the shortcomings of relying on simple energy consumption statistics. The study uses existing data (with national coverage) and the measured electricity and gas consumption of groups consisting of,on average, 500–700 households to benchmark and track domestic gas and electricity consumption across England. Multiple regression models, which account for 65 % of the variation in domestic gas consumption and 73% of domestic electricity variation, are used to derive the benchmarks. The actual gas and electricity consumption of each group of homes is compared against the derived benchmark and an energy efficiency index presented. The approach enables changes in energy efficiency to be tracked temporally, for example to assess the effectiveness of government, local authority or industry initiatives. National and city-scale patterns of energy efficiency are also discussed.