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24th March 2017
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Bad habits burning energy and money
With energy bills hitting new highs, new research by uSwitch.com, the independent price comparison and switching service, reveals that 30 million of us (62%) are throwing money down the drain by wasting energy.
Almost two thirds (62%) of consumers are leaving their electrical items on standby, using up more electricity and money than needed. When asked "which of the following do you do when it comes to your electrical items?" 9.7% said: "I always leave items on standby", 52.3% said "I occasionally leave items on standby" and 37.7% said "I never leave items on standby".
Our biggest culprits are our set top boxes, with almost six in 10 people (59%) admitting to at least occasionally leaving it on when not in use, while just over a quarter (26.2%) said they leave it on all the time. A total of 16.1% said the leave it on "most of the time", and 16.8% said "sometimes /occasionally".
Consumers aren't much better when it comes to other home entertainment - half (50%) leave their TV on standby. A total of 13.3% said they leave it on all the time, 9.4% said they leave it on most of the time and 26.5% said they leave in on occasionally. Surprisingly perhaps, almost three in 10 (28%) keep their games console on when it's not being used. When asked "Do you turn your games console off at the mains when not in use?" 29.5% said "yes - all of the time", 8.8% said "yes - most of the time", and 4.9% said "sometimes".
Shockingly, one in 13 (8%) people believe as long as they don't use an electrical item, it doesn't use electricity even if it is still plugged in and turned on. Further to this, 5% also think switching an item off by remote control means it's off so won't be using electricity! When asked "Which of the following do you believe is true?" 95.6% said "If there is a red light showing on your TV it means it's on standby", 7.5% said "as long as you don't use an electrical item, it doesn't use any electricity, even if it is still plugged in and turned on"; and 5% said "Switching your item off by remote control means it's off".
Leaving a mobile phone to charge overnight may appear to be the sensible thing to do, but once it's fully charged, leaving it plugged in wastes as much energy as watching a week of TV! However, more than half (53%) of us plug our mobiles in to charge up when we go to bed. When asked "Do you leave your mobile phone to charge overnight?" 7.7% said "Yes, all the time", 10.2% said "Yes, most of the time" and 34.1% said "sometimes / occasionally".
The experts explain their reasoning:
"When charging a phone overnight, it will be charged in an hour and then left connected unnecessarily for a further seven hours. The overcharging will use 2 Watts an hour for seven hours when the battery is full, but the device is still connected to the charger. This equates to 5.11KWh. A day's typical use of a 32" LCD TV (four hours a day, 170W TV) uses 0.69421 KWh. Therefore overcharging is the equivalent of 5.11/0.694121 = 7.36."
In the final part of the survey, over half (53%) of consumers admitted to leaving the lights on when they leave a room. When asked "Do you turn the lights off when you're not in a room?" 44.2% said "Yes - most of the time", 7.6% said "sometimes / occasionally", and 1.5% said "No".
Kevin Sears, energy efficiency expert at uSwitch.com, comments: "In the face of rising energy bills and our increasing love affair with gadgets, consumers can no longer afford to throw money away by wasting energy. Being more energy efficient is a simple and painless way to cut your bills, which many will be worried about this winter.
"Energy efficiency can start with simple steps such as turning things off when they are not in use or using a standby saver, while using an energy monitor will track your usage and help you understand where your energy goes. The bigger steps, such as insulating your home or installing a new energy efficient boiler are more costly, but arguably deliver a greater return. However, before taking these steps it's worth speaking to your energy supplier to see what advice they can give and to find out whether you would qualify for any financial support to help you with the cost."
16th September 2011