[A] revealing survey from Electricity North West, which looked at consumer attitudes to energy saving and the adoption of renewable technologies, has found that a whopping 90 per cent of Carlisle residents have no renewable technologies in their home, with 70 per cent citing cost as the main barrier to adoption.
The research also revealed that a third (33 per cent) of those living in Carlisle do not intend to have any renewable technologies by 2050. However, a quarter do expect to have an electric car within the same time frame.
Commissioned by the North West’s power network operator, the YouGov survey, of 1,539 UK consumers, also found that 65 per cent of the city’s respondents have never sought advice on how to save energy at home, meaning a big opportunity for Carlisle residents to cut their energy bills and save the environment at the same time.
“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 Carlisle residents can do more to save money and increase efficiencies in relation to energy consumption and we would encourage people across the city to act now.”
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 all survey 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 31 per cent of Carlisle residents believing that cookers/ovens use the most energy when 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, 79 per cent agreed, while 13 per cent of Carlisle residents disagreed.
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 65 per cent of respondents from Carlisle 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.