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Money matters

Fully Charged’s Dan Caesar explores the cost of switching to clean, green tech
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Dan Caesar with his all-electric MG4

This article first appeared in our Earth Day 2023 issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 22 April 2023. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Oscar Wilde defined a cynic as someone who knows ‘the price of everything, and the value of nothing’.

It’s easy for us to extol the virtues of seemingly ‘expensive’ technologies like electric cars, solar panels, batteries and heat pumps, but we are acutely aware of the economic anxiety gripping the nation.

You will often hear us talking about cheaper options like insulation, draught-proofing, energy efficiency, thermostats and aerated shower heads – but not today.

In this article, I’m going to actively talk about some of the more ‘expensive’ options that are available right now, and encourage you to look at them through a new lens: as a valuable investment.

The payback fixation

On average, homeowners regularly invest £5,000-10,000 in a new kitchen or a new bathroom, and ‘what is the payback on that?’ is not a question you are likely to hear.

Perhaps when you come to sell your house, your fixtures and fittings might add some value; we never really interrogate that though, and the ‘payback’ will in no way match the outlay.

Similarly, holidays abroad (and often at home, too) are not inexpensive; when we return we might have warm memories, but let’s not pretend that we will see a return on our investment.

So why are the tabloids so sniffy about us spending money on cleaner, greener technologies?

EVs cost less

I couldn’t possibly comment. But what I will say is this: yes, the forecourt price of an electric vehicle (EV) is typically higher than that of a pollution-pumping hybrid, but from then on – in every aspect – a comparable EV is cheaper. Much cheaper.

If you can charge from home on a cheaper overnight tariff it is cheaper still.

And what if you can afford solar panels? Well, that could not only cut your energy bills, but also your fuel costs.

If you have a battery it gets even better. You can store sunlight, sure – but you can also ‘fill up’ during the cheaper tariff times, use that energy when it is at its most expensive and pocket the difference.

Get that warm glow

When it comes to heating, electrification will ultimately overthrow the humble boiler, and multiple options are available – ranging from infrared heating and zero-emission boilers to ground-source heat pumps.

The ‘super efficient’ air-source heat pump will be the best option for most households across the UK, and a generous £5,000 grant is available right now.

Then there’s the intangibles – I am talking not about smugness, but the comfort in the knowledge you are free from the vicissitudes of fossil fuel prices, and better protected from power outages, too.

And when, over time, you put all of these things together – electric car, off-peak charging, solar, batteries and heat pumps – you will be sitting pretty.

So how much will all that set you back?

How to invest in clean tech

If you’re interested in this as an investment project, I would recommend starting with the electric car. 

The truly affordable EV is not quite here yet; there won’t be too much longer to wait, and until then the excellent MG4 (starting price £25,995) is a vehicle I can personally vouch for.

Evidently, you will (if you have off-street parking) need your own charger, and if you want one to be future compatible with solar, myenergi’s Zappi is an excellent choice for around £700.

As for heat pumps, Octopus Energy is working hard, in conjunction with the aforementioned government grant, to get the cost of a heat pump install to parity with a boiler (so around £3,000).

One final thought: progress never stops. In the near future you may be getting excited about wireless charging, vehicle-to-grid and even turning your home into a virtual power plant.

But first of all, take a look at your EV options. One day ‘EV’ might become as synonymous with ‘excellent value’ as it is with ‘electric vehicle.’

Almost every EV, plus all of the other tech mentioned above, will be at our Fully Charged LIVE South and North shows this spring.

Alternatively we have more than 1,000 TV-quality episodes on our YouTube channels – click here for more.

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