Staying green during the credit crunch
Credit Crunch: Staying green
Staying environmentally friendly not only saves you money, it also looks after the Earth. Dr Keith Tovey from the University Of East Anglia explains how keeping green can benefit you during the credit crunch, while cutting carbon.
The credit crunch is proving to be a 'double-edged sword' when it comes to the environment and people need to grasp the opportunity to think for the future, according to Dr Keith Tovey, environment expert from the University Of East Anglia.
With purse string's tightening, people need to become more environmentally conscious to avoid finding themselves in the dark.
Metering your output
By buying a product such as a Owl or a Wattson meter, which links to the electricity supply in your home, you can read exactly how many kilowatts is being produced and spot problems you didn't know about.
"This meter is something you can take into your home, wander around and find out how much energy a particular appliance is using. You immediately find out what the cost is," said Keith.
"I have had this for about a year or so now and even though I am very green around the home, I've saved tremendously on my energy consumption.
"One way in which the meter helped me was by locating a dodgy fluorescent light. It was consuming three times as much as its neighbour, due to a faulty starter motor. I replaced it immediately and as a result saved," he added.
'Buying local' is a buzz phrase in 2009, but surprisingly it isn't always the most environmentally friendly.
"I think we have to be careful. Sometimes if we go too local we could find that the local manufacturing process might actually be consuming more energy than it would do somewhere else, because it is less efficient," said Keith.
"For each unit of electricity generated in the UK, our carbon emissions are noticeably higher than in France or Norway, for instance.
Buying local isn't always the greenest
"That means if the appliance was made over there, we would emit much less CO2. Sometimes, it's really not quite so simple," he added.
As a general rule, Keith feels people need to watch what they buy and change their lifestyles only very slightly.
"We don't have to go back to the Stone Age, we just need to have a little rethink in our attitudes towards what we do and the products we purchase," said Keith.
"Generally we should purchase things locally and look out for new products. There's even products such as carbon-neutral beer these days," he added.
Amenity prices in decline
The credit crunch has provided a welcome relief to homeowners, with electricity and gas prices taking a decline.
Keith tells us that even though prices are lower at the moment, supplies of gas and oil are running out and amenity prices will eventually increase once again.
To ensure long-term relief to the pressures of rising bills in the future, people should invest their credit crunch saving in energy-efficient devices.
"It is anticipated that there will be a further fall in amenity prices in the next two or three months of 2009, bringing them to price levels last seen in early 2008," said Keith.
"People should therefore make a new year's resolution that when the price goes down, put aside the saving to invest in energy-saving products.
"That means when the price goes up again, you'll be well equipped to see an overall drop in bills," he added.
last updated: 06/01/2009 at 11:36