Households face pre-war conditions


20 percent thermostat

Households in 2020 could be purged
of their modern luxuries and forced to revert to simpler standards of
living unless action is taken now to reduce escalating levels of carbon
dioxide emissions, according to independent research commissioned by
the Energy Saving Trust.

A panel of experts have predicted two
alternative scenarios for life in 2020 within the report – ‘2020
Futures: Energy and Waste in an Age of Excess’. The bleaker outlook
predicts that without a concerted effort to curb our individual carbon
dioxide emissions and create a more sustainable future, the home
comforts, timesaving luxuries and freedoms we currently take for
granted could become things of the past.

In stark contrast,
experts reveal that if we take positive action now to ‘green-proof’ our
homes and create sustainable living spaces that cause minimal damage to
the environment, an altogether more optimistic view of the future is
within our grasp by 2020.

Two-car families, time-saving
appliances, trendy gadgets and restful baths are just some of the
modern luxuries that some experts predict could be banished by 2020 if
we fail to take action now to reduce our energy consumption:

Back to basics;
purge – patio heaters, plasma TVs, electric toothbrushes and other
modern innovations we’ve come to take for granted could become
recognised as anti-social pieces of household equipment
driveways – the two-car family could become unheard of as fuel prices
rocket and personal vehicle use is heavily rationed – 
Out with the
bath water – bath time could be an increasingly rare occurrence as
taxes are levied on them and timed shower units designed to limit
energy wastage 
Turn it down – average internal temperatures have
risen by an average 6° since 1970, but turning the thermostat up at may
no longer be an option. Home temperatures could be heavily regulated
and families reliant on new insulation crafted from sustainable
materials to provide warmth. Likewise, light switches might only be
able to be activated when natural light is deemed insufficient
house – rising sea levels causing coastal flooding will prompt mass
migration inland, marking an end to the ‘McMansion’ (inefficient and
sprawling) approach to housing. Homes may down-size to become tightly
compact, merely functional spaces – with energy-consuming appliances
such as fridge-freezers banished and replaced with cold rooms for food
And the worse case scenarios if no action is undertaken to address energy usage: 
rationing – similar to post-war rationing of food supplies, our energy
use could be heavily rationed, with dedicated time-slots allocated to
households to carry out tasks requiring energy use to avoid any wastage

Harsh punitive measures – areas in cities and suburbs where energy
usage reach critical levels could see stringently forced energy laws
and waste directives imposed. Energy Police with the power to issue
penalties and fines for excessive energy consumption could be born

2020 Vision: An alternative, sustainable future
Energy Saving Trust claim that this regressive, punitive scenario could
be easily avoided and replaced with a brighter, more optimistic future
if UK consumers start to recognise their social responsibility to
reduce levels of energy waste and its impact on the environment.

If this happens, the report predicts that 2020 could see the emergence of the following trends
power stations – our homes could become mini power stations as we turn
to renewable energy sources. By 2020, experts predict that it could be
common place to source energy in our own homes with excess energy sold
back to the national grid, providing an additional income source for
green households
Prefabulous – Prefabricated homes built offsite
using recycled bricks and wood and insulated with sheep’s wool and
reconstituted paper will become the norm. We will be able to design our
homes online and have them delivered and assembled in a week
houses – the humble conservatory could help save us from the worst
effects of climate change  ‘green’ homes will be built so that they are
south facing with an attached solar powered conservatory, providing up
to 50% of a household’s hot water needs
Green roofs – roofs will
be made of peat, bricks and sedum instead of conventional materials.
Roof gardens and living roofs will be subsidised, as they will help to
improve insulation and air quality
Carbon trading – households
will trade carbon credits and debits, working collectively to reduce
our emissions (in the same way as businesses do now)

Sellwood, Chief Executive of the Energy Saving Trust, said; “The bleak
picture of life in 2020 can be easily avoided just by taking small
measures now to reduce excess levels of carbon emissions – one of the
leading contributors to climate change.

“We are optimistic
that a step-change in the way we view our energy consumption in the
home will see an energy-efficient future emerging, where
environmentally hazardous homes are replaced with ecologically friendly
ones and consumers recognise their own responsibility to create a
sustainable environment for future generations.

“Rather than
having to rely on harsher measures to urge consumers to take the issue
seriously, we are encouraging people to act now and start saving at
least 20% of their carbon dioxide emissions. This target is easily
achievable by adopting a mix of simple measures such as improving
insulation, turning appliances off standby, installing energy saving
lightbulbs and turning the thermostat down by just one degree.”

changes to your home and the way you use energy can make big savings,
both for your pocket and the environment. For example, adopting a range
of straightforward measures including filling cavity walls,
sufficiently insulating lofts and upgrading to energy saving
recommended appliances could reduce your household’s emissions by two
tonnes of CO2 annually and reduce your energy bills by up to £250.

To find out how you can save 20% during Energy Saving Week and throughout the year, log on to or call the Energy Saving Helpline on 0800 9157722.


About the report
2020 Futures: Energy and Waste in and Age of Excess was compiled by the Future Laboratory on behalf of the Energy Saving Trust.
An executive summary of the report is available on request.

Save your 20% campaign
Energy Saving Week (24th-30th October), the Energy Saving Trust is
launching ‘Save your 20%’ – a new campaign that aims to reduce UK
homes’ energy use by a fifth of their current levels. The ‘Save your
20%’ campaign involves the Energy Saving Trust working with local
authorities, energy suppliers and other parties to promote the uptake
of energy-saving measures such as cavity wall insulation and loft
insulation, as well as encouraging consumers to adopt simple, everyday
measures such as turning appliances off standby. For more information,

About the Energy Saving Trust
Energy Saving Trust was set up by the UK Government after the 1992
Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and is one of the UK’s leading
organisations addressing the damaging affects of climate change. It
aims to cut carbon dioxide emissions by promoting the sustainable and
efficient use of energy. The Energy Saving Trust is a non-profit
organisation funded by government and the private sector.

Energy Saving Trust provides free, impartial advice on how to make your
home more energy efficient and save money on household bills.

About The Future Laboratory
Future Laboratory was established in November 2001, and has already
established a prominent reputation for its innovative approach to
forecasting. The Future Laboratory uses ethnographic research tools and
a create, qualitative outlook to help brands, retailers, designers and
marketing departments gain better insights into market directions and
the future products or brands consumers may need. It also offers
lifestyle analysis, brand development and consumer network building.

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