UK householders cutting back on energy saving measures

Nearly half of UK householders would prefer to bank money saved on greening their homes, rather than reinvesting in further energy savings measures as the cost of living rises.

That is the conclusion of a new survey by ICM Research for the independent energy saving body the Energy Saving Trust, which asked 2,086 UK householders what they would do with £400 saved by implementing energy saving measures at home as part of Energy Saving Week (October 24 – 28).

Despite the fact that energy prices have almost doubled since 2004, the results found that 49% of respondents said they would save the money, rather than implement further energy saving measures as households tighten the purse strings.

According to the Trust, the survey findings are a warning sign that people are choosing to save money rather than cut their carbon emissions as the UK faces tough times ahead.

Energy Saving Trust chief executive Philip Sellwood, said: “We are currently in austere times so it’s no surprise that UK householders are trying to make every penny count.”

As well, the findings show just one in ten (11%) of respondents said they would reinvest the money in additional energy efficiency measures, while the same number admitted they would use the money to purchase new consumer appliances and gadgets, such as a flat screen TV, washing machine or smartphone.

In response to the findings, the Trust has claimed that if everyone in the UK invested their £400 savings towards additional energy efficiency measures, collectively nearly £2bn could be saved on their annual fuel bills – enough money to power London for three years – and prevent nearly nine million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year.

Mr Sellwood added: “We are missing a trick by choosing to bank our cash from energy saving measures or spending the money saved on more gadgets. If we chose to reinvest the money saved in further greening our homes we could make even bigger savings in the face of rising energy costs.”

While, the survey also revealed that three quarters of UK householders (73%) want to use gadgets and household appliances as efficiently as possible in a bid to save money on their fuel bill, just 13% know how much appliances cost to run.

The study concluded by predicting that the UK will miss its 2020 target of a 34% reduction in domestic appliance electricity carbon emissions from 1990 levels by up to seven million tonnes unless attitudes to energy consumption in the home is tackled.

Carys Matthews

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