More than 50 per cent of all electricity generated on the grid is wasted

The environmental group Greenpeace has put out a report with figures revealing how much energy is wasted due to poor insulation and energy transmission lines. The organisation claims UK homes are the least energy-efficient in Europe.

"We're wasting so much energy that we're borderline leaking at the seams. More than 7.4 million homes remain without proper ceiling insulation. 5.4 million homes have not had their cavity walls filled," according to a new article on the Greenpeace website.

Government schemes to encourage energy efficiency are more than only a sensible plan for reducing the amount of energy needed in the first place, because they could also help lower consumer bills, Greenpeace asserts.

Huge amounts of electricity are also being wasted due to poor transmission via the grid, something Greenpeace says is due to the massive size of the power stations. The UK relies on a small number of large power stations producing huge volumes of power - which is pumped around the country through inefficient pylons. "Big and inefficient power stations, coupled with a wasteful network of pylons for transmitting it, means 54 per cent of the energy we use in producing that power is lost before it arrives at homes and businesses." Smaller, more-efficient power stations - or local renewables [...] transmitting electricity over a much smaller distance - lose less power, the organisation contends.

Home owners trying to get a handle on how much electricity is wasted in their homes would do best to calculate exactly how much they are currently paying for space heating and hot water, the two main items on everyone's energy bill. Read your own gas and electricity meter every month and use the readings to see how much fuel you are getting through over the course of the year. Then check out your gas or electricity bill for the price per kWh or "unit" of gas and electricity.

Experts quoted recently in the Telegraph say that people living in a detached house should aim to insulate their house to such an extent that they spend around the £2,000 per year on energy in total. Semi-detached households that have proper insulation in place, ought to spend around £1,600 and mid-terraced occupants should have a target of £1,350.