More than a third of Britons miss out on bill savings by not being green

More than one third of British households are paying more than they need to for their energy bills, research has suggested.

Research carried out by Citizens Advice and the Energy Saving Trust found that 36% of homes have not changed the way they use energy in recent years, equivalent to 9.7 million households.

Home energy use is responsible for around 25% of carbon emissions in Britain, but researchers said changes such as filling the kettle with only the water needed could stop two million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released and save households £1.1 billion per year.

The survey was released to mark the start of Big Energy Saving Week, run by the two groups and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Nearly nine in 10 households (87%) surveyed said they thought making small changes would make little or no difference to their finances.

However, the research found by spending one minute less in the shower, a family of four could save £75 a year on energy and water bills – and replacing an inefficient showerhead with a water-efficient one could save £185.

Turning off lights when they are not needed could save around £14 a year, and changing all the bulbs to LEDs would nationally save £230 million.

Business and Energy Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “You’d be surprised at what small steps can make a big difference – both to energy bills and to your contribution to climate change.

“During Big Energy Saving Week, I’d urge everyone to contact the Simple Energy Advice Service to see what they can do, whether it’s changing lightbulbs, switching provider or turning down the thermostat when away from home, to cut their emissions and their bills.”

Cabinet meeting
Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom (Stefan Rousseau/A)

The research also found that if British households turned down thermostats by one degree, changed all lightbulbs to LEDs, used the right amount of water in the kettle and turned appliances off rather than leaving them on standby, it would save the equivalent of taking around three million cars off the road in carbon emissions.

Citizens Advice chief executive Gillian Guy said: “Our homes are responsible for nearly a quarter of British carbon emissions, so this is a great opportunity to really make a difference. Reducing the amount of energy we use cuts our household bills, so going greener can help you keep out of the red.”

During Big Energy Saving Week, more than 450 events will be taking place across the country, including at Citizens Advice centres, to provide advice and help households save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

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