One of the most common talking points with “green” experts is all about tackling the myth that green equals expensive, and that green is for the rich.
To the contrary, simple home adjustments can save homeowners of any economic status lost of money. And now there is research to prove it.
The 21st Century Living Project took a sample of 100 representative families in London and gave them 500 euros to spend in any way they wished; the only caveat was that it must be spent in order to reduce their environmental footprint.
The project, which was carried out by retailer Homebase, Cornwall’s Eden Project, green consultancy Acona and the University of Surrey, found that over 80 per cent of the households took action to curb their energy use, while average recycling rates for the group rose from 58 per cent at the start of the project to 63 per cent by the end.
Speaking to BusinessGreen.com, Rosi Watson, head of corporate responsibility for Homebase’s parent company Home Retail Group, said the project also revealed that households took a similar degree of action regardless of their attitude towards the environment.
“The big conclusion from the research is that this is a mass market opportunity,” she said. “There’s always been this big confection that this is a niche middle class market, but we found over 80 per cent took some action to save energy and it was actually lower income households that took the most action.”
The study also found that households delivered the most significant improvements when they received personalized advice from energy efficiency experts and were supplied with a thermal image of their home revealing where the most energy was being wasted.
“People really wanted personalized advice tailored to their home,” said Watson. “The challenges vary so much from building to building that generic advice can be pretty ineffective.”
This is the sort of project I’d like to see around this area… it’s a practical and real way to reach the middle class that the green movement really needs to catch on.