£393m: B&Q reveals the true cost of Christmas

The festive season could see the nation's annual energy bill rise by nearly £393m, according to new research from B&Q and the Energy Saving Trust.

Consumer electronics are currently the biggest contributor to electricity consumption in the UK

Consumer electronics are currently the biggest contributor to electricity consumption in the UK

Consumer electronics are currently the biggest contributor to electricity consumption in the UK, accounting for nearly a third (28%) of electricity used.

The research shows that 48% of people in Britain will receive tech gadgets for Christmas this year which will use up to £31 a year to run.

The Energy Saving Trust's home energy expert Joe Payne said: "It's amazing how many of us are in the dark about how much all the consumer tech goods we have around our house are impacting our energy bills.

"As we're about to add even more tech to our homes on Christmas Day in the form of gadgets and gizmos as gifts, it's never been more important for Brits to become switched on about switching off."

Carbon footprint

The main reason bills are increasing is that 60% of the public neglect to switch off their gadgets overnight. Nearly a third (30%) of people say this is because they forget, 13% don't see the point and 12% can't be bothered.

Senior brand manager of One Planet Home, B&Q's sustainability plan, Sarah Greenaway said: "Gadgets are so much fun and such an essential part of livening up our days, but it's important to be conscious of their carbon footprint. There's no reason, as a nation, we can't have fun and be responsible."

As well as extra tech gadgets given as gifts this Christmas, the research shows that almost a quarter (22%) of people will watch an extra 11 hours of television over the festive season, swelling next month's energy bill by up to £320,000.

More than half (53%) of people have at least two sets of Christmas lights and 31% leave them on overnight. B&Q suggest buying LED lights, which use up to 90% less energy than standard lights.

For more Christmas sustainability facts, click here.

B&Q scored a hat-trick for carbon management, sustainable packaging and stakeholder engagement at this year's Sustainability Leaders Awards.

A full report from the Awards, including case studies of each of the winners, what the judges said and photos from the night, is available here.

Lois Vallely


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