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91% of Brits held back from embracing 'green' technologies

Figures from Electricity North West reveal cost is main barrier in adopting new renewable energy technologies

91% of Brits held back from embracing 'green' technologies

A revealing survey from Electricity North West, which looked at consumer attitudes to energy saving and the adoption of renewables, has found that Trafford is the least savvy in the region when it comes to deploying renewable energy technologies, with 97 per cent of residents stating they have none and 55 per cent citing cost as the main barrier to adoption.

Despite Blackburn having the highest levels of adoption (13 per cent) in the North West, the incredibly low figures suggest the region is far from switched on to renewable energy technologies.

Although Trafford lacks renewable energy technology adoption, the findings did reveal that it was leading the region on energy saving, with 40 per cent of respondents from the borough switching off electrical appliances as a means of reducing their energy consumption.

Commissioned by the North West’s power network operator, the YouGov survey, of 1,539 UK consumers, also found that Stockport residents are most likely to save energy by taking less time in the shower (40 per cent) while Boltonians are the cleanest but not green, with only 24 per cent stating they’d cut down on their shower time to save energy.

Those living in Bolton were also the worst offenders for switching off their appliances, with less than half of those surveyed (46 per cent), doing this in order to conserve energy.

“With continued growth of electrical devices, including vehicles, it’s quite clear as a nation, we’re using more electricity. To counter the effects of this, it’s critical that we take a combined approach; investing in renewable technologies to create more sustainable power, while making small changes to our consumption of energy so that we save what we can, wherever we can,” comments Steve Cox, Director of Engineering, Electricity North West.

“We particularly welcome the recent announcement from the Government, that major changes in the way electricity is made, used and stored is due to be rolled out over the next year, which could mean billions of pounds worth of savings for British consumers.

“Alongside these new rules, our research has highlighted that British consumers can do more to save money and increase efficiencies in relation to energy consumption and we would encourage people across the region to act now.”

"Our research has highlighted that British consumers can do more to save money and increase efficiencies in relation to energy consumption and we would encourage people across the region to act now"
Steve Cox, Director of Engineering

The findings suggest a lack of motivation to embrace renewables and low-carbon energy technology. This sentiment is echoed by Ipsos Mori research which revealed that, out of Germany, France and Norway, UK citizens are least concerned about climate change, with only 20 per cent very or extremely worried, and 15 per cent not worried at all.

Despite this, there does appear to be a growing appetite for change, with the Government recently confirming that new diesel and petrol cars and vans will be banned in the UK from 2040.  The number of electric vehicles on Britain’s roads predicted to reach nine million by 2030, up from around 90,000 today, according to the National Grid. This follows France’s pledge to ban sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and is supported by Electricity North West’s findings, which revealed 27 per cent of respondents expect to own an electric car by 2050.

Steve Cox adds: “With the anticipated adoption of electric vehicles, it is critical to start planning now for smarter use of energy; in all reality, effecting savings on existing domestic energy consumption now could fund renewable technologies of the future.”

‘Easy’ Steps to Energy Saving

Findings from the research also revealed there are still some variances amongst UK consumers when it comes to understanding their energy consumption, with 15 per cent of Manchester residents believing that cookers/ovens use the most energy compared to 33 per cent of those living in Rochdale. The reality is that in fact, A-rated fridge freezers are the worst offenders.

When asked whether they feel able to heat their homes adequately enough to suit their needs, it seems where you live impacts on your response, with 88 per cent of Preston residents agreeing compared to just 61 per cent of those living in Manchester.

Maria Wardrobe, Director of Communications at National Energy Action (NEA), concludes: “While awareness of energy efficiency has grown in recent years, further education is needed to empower more British consumers to make the right choices regarding their energy consumption. Given that 70 per cent of survey respondents have never sought advice on how to save energy at home, it’s important that we continue to help consumers to make the right choices.

“NEA has worked for over 35 years to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the UK and enable consumers to reduce their energy bills. It would appear from these findings that our work is still very much needed.”

 “For too long, the focus has been on switching energy suppliers to reduce bills however, with three easy steps consumers can change their energy consumption such as; showering for a minute less each day, switching electricals to standby and using less water when boiling a kettle,” concluded Steve Cox, Director of Engineering, Electricity North West.

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