According to research, a third of UK adults have made New Year’s resolutions that involve living more sustainably this year. More people than ever before are realising that they need to play an active part in combating climate change.
A survey of 2,000 adults by the National Grid found that reducing food waste, using less plastic, recycling more, using colder washing cycles and generally curbing home electricity use were among the most popular resolutions. 44% say that combating climate change is the main reason that they have made these resolutions with 41% hoping to have a positive impact on local wildlife.
Duncan Birt, chief sustainability officer at National Grid said that the polling suggests warnings about the advance of climate change have hit home with consumers over the last year.
“2021 has been a challenging year but also a big year for the climate change agenda and we’ve seen people becoming more engaged and vocal. The research shows that many are considering their day-to-day behaviours and looking for changes that can tackle this issue.”
Other changes people are making for 2022 include always carrying a reusable water bottle, taking shorter showers, growing their own veg and reducing their meat consumption. A quarter of people surveyed with green resolutions plan to try and do less driving and 37% say that they want to buy food with less packaging, but these resolutions are considered the hardest to keep.
The survey revealed that more than half of UK adults thought that having a better understanding of how their central heating works would help them to live a greener lifestyle. Three in 10 respondents said that their resolutions include turning their heating off or down when they go out with some realising that a smart thermostat can help take care of that for you. Many more people now have smart meters that can help them to keep track of their energy usage in real-time as well as help them identify opportunities to make savings.
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75% of the people with green resolutions said that they wanted to stick to them, so that they could do their bit to help save the planet, admitting that they wouldn’t normally keep to their resolutions.
Understandably, in the current energy crisis with many people seeing their energy bills escalating, 4 in 10 people are looking to reduce their energy costs by going greener and 37% of those surveyed believe their green resolutions will be good for their health.
Marc Robson, Smart Energy Expert at British Gas, which commissioned the study, said:
“It’s great to see how many people recognise the benefits of living more sustainably, not just for the planet, but in making our everyday lives healthier and more cost-effective. There are so many small steps we can take around the home to be greener and save on our energy costs and being energy-efficient is also getting easier with the help of technology.
9 out of 10 people with green resolutions think that the small steps they are taking to live more sustainably in 2022 will lead to bigger changes in years to come. They believe they have a role in bettering the world. More than half of those polled went as far as to say that they believe 2022 is the last chance the world has to start reversing the effects of climate change.
Marc Robson, from British Gas, said:
“We know that most people with green resolutions have been thinking about them for a while. And now is the perfect time to commit to them. It’s best to start small with a resolution you can stick to and then you can add to or extend it when you’re ready. Everyone needs to take responsibility for reaching net zero, and it’s our job to make sure that’s inspiring, not daunting.”
It is perhaps fortuitous that as more people in the UK are understanding the importance of reaching net zero by 2050 the government are launching the Boiler Upgrade Scheme which aims to help existing small domestic buildings transition to low carbon heating systems for heating their homes. The scheme will come into effect from April 2022.
Grants of up to £6,000 will be given to households as part of the Boiler Upgrade Scheme to promote clean heat from low carbon technologies such as heat pumps. The main aim of this scheme is to reduce carbon emissions emitted by homes that are still dependent on fossil fuels to heat their homes and enable the phasing out of fossil fuels in the coming years.
Currently, fossil fuels used in our homes for heating, hot water and cooking are responsible for more than a fifth of the UK’s carbon emissions and are one of the greatest contributors to pollution in our everyday life. 85% of homes in the UK use natural gas boilers at the present time so replacing them could make an enormous difference to the environment and help combat climate change.
There has never been a better time to consider installing renewable energy technology such as solar panels or heat pumps as costs are continuing to fall and the performance of renewable energy solutions improves all the time. At the same time grants and subsidies are still available for homeowners to benefit from installing renewable energy for their homes. With the right advice consumers can benefit from renewable energy whilst also reducing their carbon footprint and supporting the drive towards net zero and a brighter, greener future for all of us.