Workers need financial incentive to cut energy

It may seem self evident that people are less likely to try to make savings when they are not paying the energy bill but, according to research from an electricity company, the gap in behaviour is even bigger than might be expected.

A survey of over 1,000 individuals working in the UK showed that over a third of employees admit to being more likely to waste energy in the workplace than at home and one in five say they do nothing at all at work to attempt to reduce their environmental impact.

The survey, carried out by corporate electricity supplier Opus Energy, also showed that women were marginally more likely to take energy saving measures at work than their male colleagues.

It took everyday scenarios and asked whether there would be a difference in behaviour at home and at work.

In some cases, the gap was huge – 74% said they’d unplug their phone charger when not in use at home, for example, whereas just 30% would do so at work. 69% said they might overfill the kettle at work but only 20% admit to doing so at home.

The survey is not the first to compare the gulf between behaviour when individuals are responsible for paying the bill and when the employer is footing the bill.

But it is the first to suggest that employees need to be given financial incentives to change their behaviour.

Louise Boland, Director for Opus Energy who is in charge of renewable energy sourcing commented on the findings:

“It could be the case that employees feel less pressure to be green at work because they are not directly accountable for the energy bills each month,” said Louise Boland, director for renewable energy sourcing at Opus.

“Companies that wish to reduce their carbon emissions and cut costs should encourage their workforce to ensure they take basic steps towards saving energy.

“Switching off PCs overnight and using double sided photocopies and printouts are just a few of the ways UK businesses can be more energy efficient, as well make financial savings.”

Sam Bond

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