New research from Citizens Advice and Energy Saving Trust has revealed a significant gap in consumer understanding about managing household energy use.
The survey, conducted for Big Energy Saving Week 2020 (20th-26th January), shows that 36% of British households have not made changes to their energy usage at home in recent years.
73% of those involved with the survey were surprised to hear how much British homes actually contribute to global warming. British homes are responsible for around 25% of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2). This makes them one of the biggest contributors to the UK’s CO2 emissions.
Head of Consumer Advice at Energy Saving Trust, Laura McGadie, said: “Our research shows that while great strides have been made by some households, more can be done, and by more people.
“If every household in Britain made just a handful of energy saving changes, the combined impact could make a big difference to our finances and the environment. We are committed to inspiring everyone to make small changes to their energy saving habits this Big Energy Saving Week 2020 – particularly those who will benefit most from the money they could save.”
87% of households also think small changes will make little or no difference to their finances. 31% don’t consider managing their energy use as a priority and 19% think it would cost them to control it.
However, there are ways to make a difference that can also save you money. The Energy Saving Trust has highlighted four simple changes that have the potential to save households around £100 a year, as well as help towards the UK’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050:
- Turn your thermostat down by one degree and households will save £800 million and cut 3.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
- Using LED lightbulbs would save households £230 million and 430k tonnes of carbon emissions each year.
- Turn appliances off fully instead of leaving them on standby. This will save households £690 million and curb the release of 1.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions.
- Only use the necessary amount of water in your kettle to save households £1.1 billion and stop 2 million tonnes of carbon emissions being released annually.
The total amount of carbon savings from these four simple steps would be equivalent to taking around 3 million cars off the road.
Business and Energy Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said: “You’d be surprised at what small steps can make a big difference – both to energy bills and to your contribution to climate change. During Big Energy Saving Week, I’d urge everyone to contact the Simple Energy Advice Service to see what they can do – whether it’s changing lightbulbs, switching provider or turning down the thermostat when away from home – to cut their emissions, and their bills.”
Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, Gillian Guy, said: “This year Big Energy Saving Week is all about how we can make small changes to our everyday lives that help save money and have a positive impact on the environment.
“Our homes are responsible for nearly a quarter of British carbon emissions, so this is a great opportunity to really make a difference. Reducing the amount of energy, we use cuts our household bills, so going greener can help you keep out of the red.”