Spanish households could reduce their energy bills by 27% by improving consumption habits and equipment

  • This reduction would suppose an economic saving of 4,350 million euros per year and avoid the emission of almost 15 million tonnes of CO2.
  • Valencia, Catalonia and Cantabria are the most efficient autonomous communities.
  • 2018 is the first year since 2011 in which there has been an increase in the Efficiency Index.
  • The measures that have led to the greatest improvements involve the use of quick wash cycles, the increase in efficient light bulbs, and improved knowledge of savings due to power adjustments. There is however still room for improvement in terms of leaving devices on stand-by, reducing air outlets in windows, and the simultaneous use of household appliances.
  • LED light bulbs are already the most common in Spanish homes (39%), followed by low consumption (34%), halogen (12%), incandescent (9%) and fluorescent (5%).

This morning, the Naturgy Foundation published the results of the latest edition of the Household Energy Efficiency Index. This study shows that Spaniards could reduce their energy bills by 27.4% by improving their habits and equipment.. In this sense, Spanish households could make savings of 4,352 million euros on energy bills each year by slightly modifying their use and customs.

Almost 50,000 GWh of energy could be saved, which is equivalent to 18% of Spain’s total electricity demand in 2017. These savings would also prevent the emission of 14.7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, the same emissions as 4.8 million passenger cars a year, 21% of Spain’s existing fleet.

The general director of the Naturgy Foundation, Martí Solà, stressed that “this point of observation is part of the Foundation’s awareness-raising actions, which promote the rational use of energy resources and the promotion of sustainable development. With this new edition of the study, we have observed that efficiency and energy saving are increasingly present in our daily lives.”

The 2018 Energy Efficiency Index shows that Spanish households have the greatest potential for energy savings in equipment (43.3%) and heating (25.3%). The percentages are lower for lighting (20%), air conditioning (18.3%) and hot water (13.7%).

Lowering family energy bills

The Naturgy Foundation study encompasses a National Global Energy Efficiency Index, which evaluates household equipment, control, maintenance and culture on a scale of 0 to 10. In this edition, the index stands at 6.46 points, up 1.1% from the last edition. This is the first time since 2011 that this indicator has registered an improvement that, although slight, is significant as it represents a change in trend. In addition, it should be noted that the Energy Efficiency Index has grown by 5.73% since the first edition in 2004, underlining the fact that citizens are increasingly aware of savings and efficiency measures.

This improvement in the Global Energy Efficiency Index is driven by increases in the ‘Control’ (1.8%), ‘Culture’ (1.39%) and ‘Equipment’ (1.11%) sub-indices – three of the four indicators that make up the study. The only indicator to experience a decrease was ‘Maintenance’, which obtained the lowest result of the entire historical series since 2004.

The following habits have improved in over the past year:

  • In practically half of Spanish households, the majority of household appliances are class A or higher (49.4%), and knowledge of labelling has improved.
  • The use of quick cycles in washing machines is evolving positively and there is a growing tendency to let dishwashers automatically choose the washing programmes, which improves efficiency.
  • 39% of light bulbs in Spanish households are LEDs, followed by low consumption bulbs (34%). The least efficient bulbs, incandescent bulbs, now account for only 9%.
  • 27% more households now apply time of use tariffs.
  • There is a greater energy culture, as 3 out of 4 are aware that they can pay less by adjusting their tariff and contracted power to their needs.

In terms of the negative aspects, there has been an increase in the use of equipment in stand-by in homes and a decrease in the number of houses that turn off devices before going out or going to bed. In addition, the systems for reducing air outlets in all windows in homes have worsened, the use of more energy-intensive appliances has increased simultaneously, and the number of homes without thermostats to regulate individual heating has grown.

Valencia, Catalonia and Cantabria are the most efficient regions

Currently, the most efficient households in Spain can be found in the Valencian Community, with a score of 6.61, followed by in Catalonia (6.57) and Cantabria (6.52). These are followed by Andalusia, Aragon and Murcia (6.50), and Extremadura (6.49). Madrid and Castilla-La Mancha are positioned at the same level as the national average (6.46). Castile and León, the Basque Country (6.40), Galicia (6.36), La Rioja (6.34) and the Balearic islands (6.31), all fall below the average, with scores ranging from 6.3 to 6.4. The regions with the least efficient households can be found in Asturias, Navarre (6.23) and the Canary islands (6.01).

The increase registered at national level in the National Global Energy Efficiency Index (+1.1%) is due to a growth in this factor in 13 of the 17 autonomous communities.

The most pronounced growths with respect to the last report, carried out in 2016, have been recorded for the Basque Country (+4.9%), Extremadura (+3.8%), the Valencian Community (+3.3%) and Galicia (+3.2%), all of them above 3 percentage points. On the other hand, this index has only fallen in four regions: Catalonia (-0.5%), Asturias (-0.8%), Murcia (-1.2%) and the Balearic islands (-5.3%).

The Naturgy Foundation study also reflects differences around other sociodemographic factors, such as the age of the head of household, or the size of the municipality in which they reside. In this sense, an efficient home breakdown can be distinguished. This profile corresponds to a family with medium-high economic means, where the head of household is a man or woman (or both) over 50 years, and the housing is located in a municipality of between 10,000 and 100,000 inhabitants.

On the other hand, it has been found that families identified in an environment of energy vulnerability have lower values in all energy efficiency sub-indices than the average.

In order to prepare the 2018 edition of the index, 3,600 national surveys were carried out.

Commitment to energy efficiency

For years, the Naturgy Foundation has maintained a firm commitment to energy efficiency, which translates into its organisation and participation in multiple activities aimed at promoting energy efficiency among citizens.

The Energy Efficiency Index, which has been carried out since 2004, is one of the most relevant initiatives developed by the Foundation and has become a benchmark for analysing energy efficiency issues in Spanish households. This index provides users and administrations with a tool to encourage efficient habits and thus improve energy saving.

The annual study is carried out alternately for households and for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Naturgy Foundation

Set up by the power company in 1992, the Naturgy Foundation seeks to educate, train, inform and raise awareness throughout society of energy and environmental issues. It also develops social action programmes both nationally and internationally, by influencing particular initiatives aimed at alleviating energy vulnerability. In terms of culture, it promotes initiatives geared towards both preserving and communicating the historical heritage of the gas and electricity sector.