The UK risks being left without enough energy to fuel economic growth if it does not invest in ways to make its buildings and industrial processes more efficient, experts have warned.
The country faces a potential shortage of electricity if it simply focuses on building new wind and solar power while not also limiting the amount of energy it will need, a report said.
British homes are some of the leakiest in Europe – so heating them takes more energy than elsewhere on the Continent.
Kjell Stroem, Northern Europe president at energy company Danfoss, said: “The UK, and all countries throughout Europe, should be working to curb the growing demand for energy.
“Even with huge build-outs of renewables we simply will not have enough green energy to meet the demands of a growing world.”
It came as a report for the business said that for every pound spent on energy efficiency – such as insulation in homes – two pounds can be saved by investing in renewable power generation, including wind farms.
Demand for power is set to multiply in coming decades as people start using electricity to heat their homes and drive their cars.
The Government hopes it can more than triple the amount of wind power generation in UK waters by the end of this decade to around 50 gigawatts of capacity.
It also has big plans for solar and nuclear power.
But the Danfoss report warned that taking a one-sided approach by simply focusing on production will neglect low-hanging fruit.
Last month specialist publication Carbon Brief found that UK imports of gas would have been 13% lower if then-prime minister David Cameron had not abandoned some of what he termed the “green crap” in 2013.
During the move, his government cut support for energy efficiency improvements in homes, leading to a dramatic drop in the number of homes being insulated each year.
But it is not just in homes where improvements can be made, Mr Stroem said.
“There is also so much potential for the UK to do more to integrate sectors and reuse the excess heat from industries, supermarkets and data centres to heat our homes,” he said.
“These solutions could be deployed relatively quickly in the UK – within one to three years.
“And let’s not forget that energy efficiency is fundamental for a full electrification of any society.”