A new study from the Centre for Low Carbon Futures shows that UK cities could cut their energy bills by billions if they consider green investments. Charlotte Reid has more.
The report, which focused on West Yorkshire including Leeds, Barnsley and York, issued a warning on how much was being spent on the area’s energy bills. It says 10% of a city’s gross domestic product (GDP) goes towards electricity bills each year. And the cost of these bills is only expected to rise.
Instead the report suggests that investing just 1% of a city’s GDP for ten years into energy efficient measures for households, public buildings, companies and transport would be more beneficial. This will bring in savings, create jobs and cut carbon footprints.
The lead author of the study, Professor Andy Goulson from the University of Leeds, said, “There is a lot of uncertainty about the best way to cut energy bills and carbon footprints at the local level.
“There are thousands of low carbon options, but there is often a lack of reliable information on their performance.”
Goulson said that this lack of information can be a “major barrier to action“. He said this just means “major opportunities for cost and carbon reduction are left unexploited“.
Centre for Low Carbon Futures director, Jon Price, said finding ways to “decarbonise our homes and businesses and the places where we live and work should be central to our global climate change strategy“.
Price added, “This research demonstrates that investing in low carbon solutions now is not only financially possible but also makes absolute economic sense”.
Although the report shows how UK cities can adapt to renewable technologies and green investments, Masdar City has been created around green principals. This is a project in Abu Dhabi, which involves creating a city that relies entirely upon solar energy and other renewable sources.
Expected to be completed in 2015, Masdar City is designed to have low environmental impact, a high quality of life and it will also be economically sustainable.
But we could be about to see big changes in the UK.
The study has already made an impact, as Leeds City Council chief executive Tom Riordan told The Yorkshire Post that the results of the report were “win-win-win” for the city. The local paper says that Leeds is now expecting an influx of park and ride schemes and home insulation initiatives.
Riordan said, “What this report demonstrates very clearly is that rather than being a ‘nice to do’, this [green investment] is a ‘must do’ for an economy which wants to become more competitive and at the same time help its poorest people into jobs and to cope with very difficult and stretching financial conditions”.
The report is due to be launched on January 12th at Portcullis House in London.
You might not be able to make your entire city green but you can take steps towards making your home more efficient and environmentally friendly. Contact Good Energy to find out more.
Your own green investments could make a big difference too. Speak to your IFA if you have one or let us help you find a specialist ethical IFA to make that step.
Photo: Jules Li via Flickr