Home Insulation Makes Little Difference To Energy Consumption–New Study


By Paul Homewood

h/t Ray Sanders

An unusually frank piece from the Guardian!!


Conservatories and house extensions could be helping to wipe out the reductions in gas use secured by insulating homes, according to a study that found insulation only provides a short-term fall in energy consumption.

In a surprise finding, the study into the long-term effect of loft and cavity wall insulation in England and Wales showed that the fall in gas consumption for each household was small, with all energy savings disappearing by the fourth year after it had been fitted.

Policy experts at the University of Cambridge said the findings suggested a “rebound effect” in energy use, where changing behaviour cancelled out the reductions in gas use. They also suggested that fitting insulation often happened alongside the building of house extensions, which use extra energy. For households with conservatories, any gains in energy efficiency disappeared after the first year.

The government and opposition parties have championed the retrofitting of homes with insulation as a way of dealing with the energy crisis. Ministers have announced insulation retrofits as a leading part of a programme to reduce the energy consumption of buildings and industry by 15% over the next eight years. Labour has said insulating homes should be a “national mission” that could save people £11bn in three years.

However, researchers said that while insulation was vital for fighting fuel poverty, it was not a “magic bullet” for reducing energy use and should come alongside advice to conserve energy and programmes to install heat pumps in homes.

Researchers said it was hard to identify the exact causes of the rebound effect. However, they stated that turning up the heating, opening windows in stuffy rooms or building extensions could all contribute. They made clear that in circumstances such as the current cost of living crisis, it was possible that energy savings from insulation could be more significant and longer lasting.


This has actually all been very obvious for a long while, and did not really need an expensive study to prove it.

Energy efficiency is not something new dreamt up by the climate lobby. It is a natural process whereby technology continuously improves the products we buy and the way we live. Cars, for example, are twice as efficient as they were even twenty or thirty years ago; they did not need government mandates to make it happen.

But as energy efficiency improves, along with the cost of things we buy, we have more money to spend in other ways. In terms of energy, most people, I suspect, would use better insulation to enjoy warmer homes, not reduce bills.

Equally they will tend to buy conservatories etc, which will increase energy consumption. And, yes, people will open windows to let fresh air in – we have our bedroom windows open at night even in mid-winter.(No doubt the Guardian would be horrified!)

If people want insulation, fine – let them pay for it. But it should be a “national mission”, paid for by taxpayers, as the Labour Party want. And it certainly will not save the planet!