Families energy use under scrutiny
There is growing concern over the energy consumption by UK households, both from an economic and environmental standpoint. A recent study, carried out by the Energy Saving Trust and two departments of the government, shows that families on average waste more energy than previously believed. In fact, simply by failing to unplug devices on standby, British families waste on average £86 each year. According to the study, devices and gadgets such as computers and television sets which are on but not used stand for 16 percent of the average electricity bill.
When looking at the entire UK, the total cost per year from devices not properly turned off is over a billion pounds, and could well be £1.3 billion. Additionally, the study showed that the previous estimate for how many hours the average family spends in front of the television set each day is too low, and is in fact six hours rather than five.
While one hour might not seem like such big news, when seen at the national figure, one more hour per family and day equals to more than 10 billion more hours than previously estimated, and a total increase to energy bills of £205 million.
The study also discovered that single-person households were much less energy efficient than family households, as single-person households were found to use as much or sometimes even more electricity for basic needs such as cooking and washing clothes.
Almost a third of all households in the UK are single-person ones, and the current trends points to single-person households increasing in numbers. This has lead the authors of the report to worry about efforts to reduce energy consumption, as families are much more energy efficient than single persons.
This trend worries both environmentalists, concerned about how increased energy consumption affects the planet, and experts worried about the state of the economy. Families all over the UK are hurting right now, squeezed in between high unemployment, increased cost of living and an uncertainty about the future.
When it comes to computers, laptops use a lot less energy than desktop computers. On average, families spend £35 per year powering computers. For other entertainment devices, such as television sets, radios and DVD players, the average bill amounts to £68 per year. However, those with a big, new “home cinema” will face a much larger bill than the average family, in many cases running up a bill of more than £300 per year.
The government is currently working with the EU to provide a clearer labeling of electronic devices. The thought is for families to in the future to be able to make more informed purchases, and know how energy-efficient their devices are right in the store.