As Phillip Sellwood is away this week, Julian Roberts and Sara Neame – Joint Head of Communications at the Energy Saving Trust have written a guest blog in his absence.
The Financial Times today ran an article about B&Q stopping sales of patio heaters in all their stores as they are so environmentally unsound. The DIY store will stop selling the heaters after their current stock of around 20,000 runs out. The heaters have grown rapidly in popularity, in part due to the smoking ban meaning more people are sitting outdoors in pubs and cafes.
This announcement is great news for us at The Energy Saving Trust, as we have been pushing to get them banned due to their enormous C02 emissions. Patio heaters were the subject of our Green Barometer II report in July, which took the media by storm, creating debate up and down the UK. Our aim was to tell people the hard truth about patio heaters – and we certainly identified some shocking statistics. Ownership of domestic heaters is set to double from 1.2million currently to 2.3million in the near future, according to our Green Barometer II report. As 50 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions come from what we do in the home as well as our domestic transport choices, this is really bad news for the environment. 2.3 million domestic patio heaters would emit the same amount of CO2 in a year as driving from Lands End to John O’Groats 200,000 times. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that the average patio heater uses the same amount of energy as a gas hob uses in six months and emits around 50kg of CO2 per year! But while a hob is an essential item used every day in most kitchens, patio heaters clearly are not! It seems insane to attempt to heat the air outside; surely it’s far easier to stick on a jumper?! Most of the heat simply disappears up into the atmosphere anyway; you can actually easily see the heat emanating upwards from the heaters on a cold night.
The problem is both domestic and commercial – with the smoking ban forcing people outside, pubs and restaurants are increasingly using patio heaters. With 60,000 pubs and 25,000 restaurants in the UK- not to mention the thousands and thousands of clubs, hotels and cafes – this is a very large scale problem! B&Q’s decision to stop selling patio heaters is therefore a huge step forward. As one of the largest suppliers of patio heaters, they are playing a lead role in reducing the use of energy-guzzling patio heaters. The Energy Saving Trust is working hard to encourage the removal of all energy inefficient products from sale. We also have an Energy Saving Recommended scheme, which promotes the most energy efficient products on the market, giving consumers the option of choosing products better for the environment and better for their wallet.