She’s sat there. She’d be blocking your view of the telly entirely if you hadn’t gone for that 60-inch widescreen. Despite all your best efforts in coaxing the elephant out of your living room, she’s actually getting bigger.
We’re not quitting the metaphor just yet. We’ve published the The Elephant in the Living Room, the successor to 2006 study Rise of the Machines – and on first glance, the reading ain’t too pretty.
Indeed, it suggests that the ‘elephant’ – our love of electrical appliances and gadgets, accompanied by inefficient behaviour in the home – could see the UK miss its carbon emission reduction targets for domestic appliance electricity of a 34 per cent reduction in domestic appliance electricity carbon emissions from 1990 levels by as much as seven million tonnes. Yikes.
In 2009 the average British household contained a staggering three-and-a-half times as many gadgets and appliances as it did in 1990, and three of the worst offenders are the large plasma TV; large fridge freezer with ice-maker; and tumble dryer.
The report also finds that despite householders’ best efforts to switch to energy-efficient products, we are actually consuming more energy than five years ago.
But, and this is a big but, it’s not all doom and gloom. The elephant may be casting a big shadow, but there has been good progress since 2006 in improving standards and legislation such as banning patio heaters and incandescent lightbulbs. And there’s a labelling-led fightback against making electricity-guzzling choices on the high street.
If every household in the UK replaced just their old fridge freezer, washing machine and dishwasher with the most efficient Energy Saving Trust Recommended models, they could collectively save £585M on their fuel bills, and cut two million tonnes of CO2 emissions – enough to fill Wembley Stadium 257 times!
Given the word limitations of the blog format, we’re very much just stroking the elephant’s skin here. If you want to find out more about the electrical beast and how to stop her weighing you down, download the report at our website. You can also see the Guardian’s take on our findings here.
But don’t think we’re signing off without pointing you in the right direction of some direct advice to get the elephant out of your living room. Our Home Improvements section should be a good place to start.