The global recession is achieving what years of environmental debate hasn’t, making more consumers go green, according to new research from utility services comparison provider uSwitch.com.
The survey found that 78 per cent of households say they are more energy efficient today than a year ago, with the main reason being the high cost of energy (36 per cent) rather than environmental concerns (9 per cent).
While 60 per cent of those surveyed agreed it’s import to buy Energy Saving Recommended white goods, 35 per cent said the product’s price will always determine their purchasing decisions. And a full 43 per cent of those queried said they believe energy saving costs money.
Among the energy-saving strategies consumers have adopted are switching off lights when not needed (91 per cent), filling the kettle with only as much water as needed (79 per cent), running washing machines and dishwashers only when full (78 per cent) and no longer leaving electrical appliances on standby (69 per cent).
Based on the survey’s findings, uSwitch.com concludes that “consumer cost consciousness could derail the drive for Britain to go green, with households shying away from anything that will eat into their tightened budgets.”
“This is a double-edged sword,” said Ann Robinson, director of consumer policy at uSwitch.com. “Consumers are reacting to the recession and the high cost of energy by cutting back on energy usage. They are taking simple steps, but they are not buying into the major energy efficiency measures because they are worried about the costs involved, are confused about what is available and don’t understand the savings they could make. As a result they could miss out on the longer-term savings to be made from investing in making their homes more energy efficient. This caution is natural, but it smacks of a missed opportunity.”
Robinson added, “The Government will also be concerned as the cost of going green could stop consumers getting behind its drive to make Britain’s households more energy efficient and reduce carbon emissions. The Government should work with the energy industry and particularly with individual suppliers to ensure that consumers are getting the information and reassurance they clearly need to make them feel confident about making the investment.”