Popularity of DAB Radios, Flat Screen TVs and Laptops Increases threat of Climate Change
A report released today by the Energy Saving Trust reveals the dawn of a new â€˜ICE (Information, Communication, Entertainment) Ageâ€™ as a proliferation of home electronic equipment across Northern Ireland undermines efforts to manage domestic energy demand in the fight against climate change.
The Ampere Strikes Back report identifies the energy burden of this new set of products that, combined with the hoarding of old products and unwitting wastage, means that, by 2020, â€˜ICE Ageâ€™ technology will account for an extraordinary 45% of electricity used in Northern Ireland households.
Noel Williams, Head of the Energy Saving Trust in Northern Ireland commented:
â€œNorthern Ireland consumers will be surprised to hear just what their home entertainment equipment gets up to. While ownersâ€™ backs are turned, gadgets like televisions, computers, set top boxes and video recorders are spending billions of hours sucking up electricity.
â€œWith trends such as listening to the radio through TV and PC on the increase, itâ€™s highly unlikely that consumers realise that this uses far more energy than conventional means, or that digital radios use almost as much energy in the Standby Mode as they do while switched on. Whatâ€™s more, a new flat panel TV can use up to three times more electricity than a â€˜traditionalâ€™ TV.â€
The Energy Saving Trust is calling on consumers to do their bit for the environment while saving themselves money. Noel Williams explained:
â€œThe Ampere Strikes Back shows just how easy it is to lose track of what is sucking up energy in our homes and costing us and the environment dear. Think about how you are using appliances and turn equipment off when not needed, as well as reining in the impulse to hoard equipment that has already been replaced. By being more â€˜switched onâ€™ ourselves with our appliances the average household could save Â£37 a year through avoided standby use alone and some of the 2020 energy burden projections could be curbed.â€
For further information please contact GrÃ¡inne Walsh on 07990 517783 or 028 9087 2800 or Noel Williams on 07739 191958.
Notes to editors:
Standby refers to the electricity consumed when the equipment is not in use. This includes other modes such as sleep mode, as well as consumption when in off mode.
Standby and in-use costs supplied by the Market Transformation Programme (MTP) and assumes a current electricity price of 10.41p/kWh.
Techno-loving Northern Irish lead the trend for spreading â€˜ICE Ageâ€™ technology around the house
Kids in Northern Ireland have the best kitted out bedrooms: 40% have the latest technology, such as DAB radios and set top boxes – compared to UK average of 29%
58% of Northern Irish have techno kitchens compared to UK average of 42%
The average annual spend on technology in Northern Ireland is Â£490, in line with the UK average of Â£500
58% have sound systems
26% have LCD TVs
9% have Plasma TVs
Northern Ireland compared to England Scotland and Wales
While Northern Ireland reflects overall typical UK patterns in terms of how long home electronics are left on or on standby when not in use, what is noticeable is that Northern Ireland is actually more switched on to switching modern technology off when itâ€™s not on use:
15% leave their TV on or on standby for more than three hours a day when not using it compared to the UK average of 30%
While other areas of the UK demonstrate a trend of people leaving products on or on standby when not in use for longer than they believe to be acceptable, in Northern Ireland what people say is acceptable tends to be in line with actual behaviour
35% leave set top boxes on or on standby for more than three hours compared to UK average of 46%
HOWEVER (contrasting to the above)
28% leave laptops on or on standby for more than three hours compared to UK average of 24%
A bigger proportion of people in Northern Ireland (36%) arenâ€™t interested in owning eco-friendly technology compared to a UK-wide average of 16%
The Energy Saving Trust has identified a number of simple ways consumers can cut consumption and running costs:
Look for the logo… Look out for the Energy Saving Recommended logo when you’re buying new electrical appliances. The logo appears on a growing range of products â€“ from fridge freezers to light fittings – indicating the most energy efficient in the market place. Computing equipment is set to be included as the scheme expands its categories.
Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk” www.energysavingtrust.org.uk for the Energy Saving Trustâ€™s Buyersâ€™ Guide and details of the most energy efficient products.
For further advice, contact the NI Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre, which offers consumers advice on the sustainable use of energy, be it Renewables, Energy Efficiency or Transport. For free and impartial advice call freephone 0800 512012 or visit HYPERLINK “http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk” www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.
Help us to help ourselves
Whilst the report encourages consumers to do their bit, it also calls on retailers and manufacturers to do more to help them achieve this aim. This is borne out by the EST research which reveals that nine out of ten consumers want to see A – G energy efficiency ratings on consumer electronic goods to help them improve their buying decisions, while eight out of ten would like manufacturers to develop â€˜intelligentâ€™ energy saving items which power down after half an hour.
A new â€˜ICE Ageâ€™
The growing popularity of technology such as DAB radios, set top boxes, laptops, LCD and plasma TVs means that the annual UK spend on consumer electronics has soared to over Â£12 billion, making UK consumers the biggest spenders in Europe. While the average UK household spends Â£500 a year on â€˜ICE Ageâ€™ products, one in 10 UK householders spends between Â£1,000 and Â£10,000 a year on these kinds of goods.
When the unwitting wastage of these â€˜ICE Age offendersâ€™ left on, or on standby when not in use, is combined with the impact of this equipment in use, the environmental and financial costs escalate further.
Purchase of new kit doesnâ€™t mean consumers are getting rid of their old equipment however â€“ far from it! One fifth of householders are thrifty hoarders, relegating their old equipment to a second division to be used in other rooms in the house and adding to the overall energy burden.