According to the Energy Saving Trust, 40% of us worry about the extra cost this incurs, on top of all the expense around the Christmas season. The pandemic has brought many hardships, not least being forced to spend more time at home when we would have liked to travel and to socialise, but it has also given us time to reflect on how we, and society at large, could change. Yet even the most environmentally conscious among us sometimes wonder, as we sort our recycling and add food waste to the compost heap, just how much of a difference can one person or one family make?
The science tells us we must change our lifestyle if we are to avoid the planet imploding, but there is no consensus on what action to take, regardless of how many impassioned speeches are made by Greta Thunberg or Sir David Attenborough. The good news is that there is one way we can make a measurable difference.
An Opinium survey found that 57% of UK adults agreed that recovery from the current recession must put the environment first; 34% said they felt more concerned about climate change as a result of this year’s crisis, and 69% said the government should invest in green technologies as part of their response to the pandemic.
Smart meters are a tool we can use to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and, crucially, bring the energy infrastructure of the UK into the 21st century. The data they produce will enable us to understand how much energy is being used, where and when, across the whole of the country. There is a lot of energy wasted at present, partly because it has to travel a long way from where it’s generated to get to you. In future, we will be able to cut down that waste by forecasting energy demand more accurately. In addition, the system will be able to draw on more local and renewable sources of energy, such as wind, wave, tidal and solar.
On the home front, households are the second largest emitters of greenhouse gases (after transport), accounting for more than a quarter of total emissions. Some of that figure is down to car use, but the majority is from the gas and electricity we use to heat our homes and power our appliances. Imagine the difference we could make, and money we would save, by cutting that percentage right down.
smartenergyGB.org Smart Energy GB is the campaign for a smarter Britain. It’s our task to help everyone in Great Britain understand smart meters, the national rollout and how to use their new meters to be cleaner and greener with their energy use.
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