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Christmas Lights To Add £20 To Electricity Bill. Survey Reveals Third Brits Haven’t Switched To LEDs

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A simple switch to energy saving fairy lights for your tree and outdoor decorations could knock a staggering £20 off your electricity bill during the festive period. That is according to research carried out by electricity company Good Energy.

The renewable energy company has calculated that replacing old, incandescent fairy lights with LEDs could save you up to £20 on your electricity bills.

This comes as a new survey reveals that people are needlessly wasting electricity and cash at Christmas time. Figures show that 1 in 3 Brits (32%) still don’t use energy efficient fairy lights whilst a sizeable 41% also confessed to leaving their lights on for more than six hours a day over the festive season.

Juliet Davenport OBE, founder and CEO of Good Energy, said: “It’s surprising how much electricity Christmas lights use up. Switching to LED lights, and being more careful about how long you leave them on for, will save you money, and is good for the environment too.”

To help you have a more eco-friendly holiday season, Good Energy has produced some top tips to help people have a greener Christmas this year:

Lighting and Decorations

As well as switching fairy lights to LEDs, other steps you can take include putting lights on a timer, turning off other lights in the house when fairy lights are in use, or even just using fewer lights.

For decorations, try making or using ornaments made from natural materials such as holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine cones or poinsettia. They’re a great way to decorate a room, look perfect in wreaths and are fun to make with all the family.

Christmas Trees

Christmas trees are the staple of every household during the festive season. However more than 6 million Christmas trees are thrown away each year with almost all of them ending up on landfill.

For a much greener option, always make sure to buy one that’s UK grown by finding a registered retailer on the British Christmas Tree Growers Association website, before recycling it afterwards.

Many local councils now offer Christmas tree collections in early January with old trees composted or shredded for use in local parks or woodland areas.

Or why not grow your own tree or even rent one instead.

Having your own sustainable tree allows you to grow it outside, pot it up at Christmas, re-plant it in January and then use it again next year. Not only is this cheaper in the long run, it also has much less of an environmental impact.

If you don’t have the space required for growing your own tree, some areas offer a great initiative where you can choose a tree to rent over the holidays. They will deliver and collect it, and you can even rent the same tree next year!

Food

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without having lots of delicious food to indulge in over the festive period.

But try keeping it green and source your ingredients from local producers. And for the turkey, buy from a local farmer or visit the Big Barn Turkey Map to find all the organic and free-range turkey suppliers in your area.

For the big day, here are 5 handy hints that make for an energy-saving Christmas dinner:

Roast your vegetables alongside your turkey and potatoes instead of boiling unnecessarily on the hob.

Only cook the right amount of food that you need. Cooking excessive amounts means much more energy is wasted.

Put lids on pans when boiling to help keep the heat contained.

Defrost your freezer before Christmas. It will run more efficiently and create space for any leftovers.

Make items like mince pies in advance and cook them when using the oven for something else.

Cards and Wrapping Paper

Staggeringly, us Brits throw away around 83 square km of wrapping paper every Christmas and in 2014 bought over 900 million cards.

E-cards are continuing to grow in popularity and are a much more environmentally friendly way of sending festive greetings. They cut your carbon footprint, save trees and cost a lot less. But if you still prefer to send traditional cards, you could make your own or buy eco-friendly cards made from recycled materials.

When choosing your wrapping paper, try to buy from sustainable sources and recycle it again once you have finished. Better still, try using reusable bags or stockings to wrap presents. Use offcuts of paper or old cards to make gift tags or even try hiding presents around the house instead of wrapping them!

Other steps you might also like to think about include:

Putting on a Christmas jumper or wearing some extra layers to keep warm instead of turning up the thermostat

Travel greener by sharing lifts to go Christmas shopping or when visiting family

Turn off the TV or games console and have fun the old fashioned way – play games, read a book or go for a refreshing winter walk

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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