Energy survey raises concerns: people think they know more about energy issues than they really do

18th September 2014

A nationally representative survey of 2,058 British adults conducted by ComRes on behalf of the National Energy Foundation throws light on how much the British public really knows about energy. Most significantly, only a quarter (23%) of British adults were able to identify the policy that scientists say is the fastest and most effective way of meeting our energy needs (using less energy) by reducing energy demand and improving energy efficiency.

Other significant findings from the ComRes energy survey include:

  • Only half (50%) of those surveyed correctly identified which type of light bulb uses the least energy (LED) and 35% incorrectly thought that low voltage halogen lights use the least.
  • Only one in ten (11%) adults say that they know how much energy their workplace uses; while eight out of ten believe that private employers (79%) and the government (76%) should provide training and education to teach the public to use energy more efficiently. This compares to the six in ten (57%) who believe that technology will solve our energy problems.
  • Although three in five British adults (58%) say they feel well-informed about energy issues, the same proportion (59%) also don’t know that the majority of the UK’s electricity supply comes from fossil fuels.

The survey was commissioned as background to the launch of the National Energy Foundation’s Working together towards an energy-literate UK programme and the full results were made available to an invited audience on Wednesday, 17 September at the Foundation’s President’s Reception, hosted by Dame Mary Archer at her London penthouse.










The National Energy Foundation’s mission is ‘improving the use of energy in buildings’ and the Foundation finds the results of the survey worrying. The reception on 17th September was an opportunity to share ideas and showcase a series of potential NEF projects (that have been costed at around £1.3 million) and can contribute to addressing the issues revealed in the survey, in partnership with other organisations and funders.

Guests at the reception were invited to participate in the Foundation’s projects and give a steer to NEF’s future charitable work.

Kerry Mashford, Chief Executive of the National Energy Foundation, commented:
“Improving the use of energy in buildings is the National Energy Foundation’s overarching objective. Over the past few months, we’ve been giving some serious thought to the big energy issues facing the UK, with a view to achieving significant impact in terms of reducing energy consumption, improving energy security and reducing fuel poverty.

“These survey results confirm that action needs to be taken to inform and empower individuals and organisations so we’re using our President’s Reception to launch a programme to improve energy literacy. We’re looking for support and feedback from potential partners to take forward a number of high-impact projects to improve the energy performance of new and existing buildings, and inspire others to do the same.”

Headline survey findings.
Detailed survey findings.

Notes for editors


ComRes interviewed 2,058 GB adults online between 5th and 7th September 2014. Data were weighted to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.