In my house the heating strategy is determined by whether my wife is having a hot flush or not – when she is she turns the heating off. And this illustrates one of the fundamental requirements of any control strategy. Namely, that energy-consuming services should be closely aligned to demand.

So, one option for reducing heating energy consumption might be to equip every household with a menopausal woman, though this may prove impractical and would certainly put a lot of strain on the menfolk. However it is feasible to do more to match supply and demand in this context.

For example, fitting thermostatic radiator valves in all rooms means that different temperatures can be set for different spaces to suit the activities there. The demand side can also be moderated by behavioural changes, such as wearing different clothes, again to suit the activity.

This is illustrated very well by supermarkets where at any one time there will be shoppers dressed for the outside, shelf stackers performing physical work and check out operators being relatively inactive. So on a cold day the smart approach is to reduce the temperature to suit shoppers wearing coats. Shelf stackers are then equipped with light clothing and check out staff are given fleeces to keep them warm.

Putting warmer clothes on at home applies the same principle. Walking around in a T shirt with the heating set at 22 degrees is barmy. Put another layer on and turn the thermostat down.

And there are many other examples of more sustainable heating. The key is to give it some thought and develop flexible strategies that take account of variable demand.