£393million - the hidden cost of (UK) Christmas

By Email author - Fri, 19 Dec 2014 15:00:00 GMT
£393million - the hidden cost of (UK) Christmas

Here's an editorial on energy saving, with a topical twerk on xmas tree worms. Cheaper than the cost of a Xmas tree, but not if you have to find a marine aquarium to service their every coralline need.Worm image; Credit: © Shutterstock

True impact and cost of those tech gadgets under your Christmas tree revealed

New research out today from B&Q, the UK's number one DIY retailer, has revealed that for the half (48%) of us receiving tech gifts this year, we could be spending up to £31 a year on energy just to run one of these shiny new gadgets. In turn, this festive season will increase the nation’s annual energy bill by a staggering £393 million– an increase caused by a year’s worth of consumer electronics. That’s enough electricity to light 4.4 million UK homes for a year.

Consumer electronics are now the biggest contributor to electricity consumption in British homes, accounting for 28% of electricity. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that consumers across the country now spend £2 million more each week on our favourite gadgets. This will surprise the two-thirds of us (63%) who are worrying about rising bills over the Christmas - especially the 54% who are blaming the heating. So, as we unwrap, plug in and charge up more than ever this festive season, it seems that Brits are still not switched on to how much our love of consumer tech is costing us.

The research shows that one of the reasons our bills are increasing is because we never switch off. 60% of us leave our gadgets on overnight because we forget (30%); don't see the point (13%) or simply can't be bothered (12%).

Joe Payne, Home Energy Expert at the Energy Saving Trust, commented: It is amazing how many of us are in the dark about how much all the consumer tech goods we have around our house are impacting our energy bills. As we're about to add even more tech to our homes on Christmas Day in the form of gadgets and gizmos as gifts, it's never been more important for Brits to become switched on about switching off!

It's not only the extra tech goods and gadgets under the tree that are set to make for a costly Christmas. Over half (53%) of us have at least two sets of Christmas lights and a third (31%) of us admit to leaving them on overnight. Aside from turning off, the best way to save energy on your fairy lights is to buy a string of LED lights, which use 90% less energy than standard ones. As we take time to relax with our feet up, the energy in our homes will still be on the up as almost a quarter of us (22%) plan to watch TV for an extra 11 hours or more over the festive season. This half day energy extravaganza will impact next month's national energy bill by £320,000.

Sarah Greenaway, Senior Brand Manager, One Planet Home, said: “Gadgets are so much fun and such an essential part of livening up our days, but it's important to be conscious of their carbon footprint. There’s no reason, as a nation, we can’t have fun and be responsible.

Here are Lindsay Mineo's ideas on your household energy saving possibilities. It gives a different angle, but you still end up wondering whether you should buy something to save you more energy!