A report initiated by the UK government has discovered that “UK homes are consuming much more electricity than previously estimated,” reported the BBC’s Mark Kinver.
The chief culprits apparently still being fridges and freezers and the standby mode.
The study, based on 250 households, also discovered:
Up to 16% of households’ energy bills are spent on devices left on standby, twice as high as the 8% figure often used in official models and policy assumptions.
It is estimated that domestic energy use accounts for more than a quarter of the nation’s CO2 emissions.
The modern home contained an average of 41 devices, compared with a dozen or so in the 1970s.
Typically, people use their washing machine 300 times a year but some people use it three time a day.
Only two previous studies of its kind have been carried out before (in 2008, Sweden detailed the electricity consumption of 400 households, while a study in France considered the use in 100 homes during 2007).
People living alone tend to use far more power per head than people living in shared accommodation.
The emergence of electric cars could place an additional strain on the National Grid.
VIEWS ON THE NEWS:
“It is crucial that households across the nation make informed decisions by having the right advice to help them reduce their energy usage and fuel bills. This research shows that there’s still more work to be done with consumer advice, product innovation and take up of energy-efficiency labeling.” Philip Sellwood, chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust (EST).
“The government and households cannot control the rising cost of energy but could play a part in ensuring that it was used more efficiently. Our study has found that homes can save up to £85 by just switching things off and not leaving them on standby. Some savings can be made by us, as individuals, by just being more sensible in the way we use energy.” UK Environment minister Lord Taylor.
“The fridge and the freezer in a house are the real energy eaters. They are the ones that can make a real difference, and it is easier to target the consumer on buying a better appliance. It is areas like this where you can make a difference and influence people. But we have never had the evidence down to this level of detail before, so it gives us an insight into what we can target and how we target it.” Rosalyn Foreman, energy adviser for the EST.
A typical European house equipped with a selection of 25 traditional light bulbs (averaging, say, 50 watts), which runs those lights for 20% of the day, is paying about 440 euros a year to its electricity company for the privilege (assuming 20 cents per kilowatt hour).
To install low consumption LED lights would cost that typical household about 300 euros and reduce the annual lighting bill thereafter to less than 150 euros a year.
The total amount of carbon saved in the process, if multiplied by the 100 million households in Europe, could amount to 114 million metric tons.
The technology is there, the financial sense is there. What’s missing, as usual, is access to finance (to pay the 300 euro bulb replacement bill) and the motivation to actually do it.
About time the ‘traditional’ light bulb was just phased out surely?