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Energy saving myths cost Britons millions

Tahmina Mannan
Written By:
Tahmina Mannan

A study has revealed just how misinformed the British public is about how to cut down on their energy use.

The survey by the Energy Saving Trust found that half of all UK households wrongly believe it is cheaper to leave their heating on all day rather than turning it on or off and up or down when required.

Meanwhile, almost a third of Brits think that screensavers on computers save energy and 45% believe switched-off electrical appliances do not use electricity when they are plugged in at the mains.

The survey also found that 27% incorrectly said turning up their thermostat to a high setting heats the home faster, while 48% said that it was a hassle to change energy suppliers.

However, three quarters of those surveyed did know that energy saving light bulbs are compatible with traditional light bulb fittings, while a further two thirds said they knew that more heat is lost through the roof than the walls of the home.

Almost 70% said they understood that solar panels work during daylight hours regardless of whether the sun is shining or not.

Phillip Sellwood, chief executive at the Energy Saving Trust, said: “We commissioned this survey to bust some of the top energy saving myths we encounter on a daily basis. While for certain actions a portion of the UK public think they are saving energy when they’re not, it’s heartening to see that a lot of people are doing the right thing in the home to save energy.

“We know it’s important for the UK public to stay warm and cosy in their homes. But for the majority the most cost-effective way to do this is to turn the heating on and off or up and down when required rather than leaving it on all day at a lower temperature. This ensures that heat is not wasted and that your home will be at a comfortable temperature.”

The Energy Saving Trust said the UK could collectively save £4.4bn on energy bills if householders took three energy saving actions in the home.

Tips to save energy:

• Turn it off – Make sure you turn your lights, appliances and chargers off when you’re not using them. Virtually all electrical and electronic appliances can safely be turned off at the plug without upsetting their systems.

• Turn it down – Many households have their central heating set higher than they need, without even realising it. If it’s too warm inside, try turning your room thermostat down by one degree and see if you are still at a comfortable temperature. Every degree that you turn it down will make additional savings to your heating bill.

• Let there be light – Households can now get LED spotlights that are bright enough to replace halogens, as well as regular energy saving bulbs (‘compact fluorescent lamps’ or CFLs) for pretty much everything else. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings and can save households money on their energy bills.