The Green Light Signal

National Grid launches a light bulb that glows green when the electricity supply at home is cleanest so people can make smarter energy choices

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 20 April 2021

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, yet a new study by National Grid reveals one in 10 UK adults believe we will never solve it.

More than a third (37%) believe we have reached a tipping point and have passed the point of no return.

Our ‘energy awareness gap’

The main cause of helplessness seems to be down to an ‘energy awareness gap’ in people’s knowledge about the positive steps Britain has undertaken to be less reliant on fossil fuels.

42% of Brits incorrectly believe that Britain only gets up to 10% of its electricity from zero- and low-carbon energy sources.

In fact, clean energy like wind, solar and nuclear account for an average of 55% of Britain’s electricity mix.

Outdated views on our reliance on fossil fuel also aren’t helping. One in 10 (11%) think Britain gets 71-90% of its electricity from fossil fuels, whilst nearly a quarter (23%) mistakenly believe that Britain generates 51-70% of its electricity from fossil fuels. The actual average figure is 36%.

COP what?

Carbon jargon is another factor preventing people from engaging on the issue of climate change. Brits haven’t heard of terms like decarbonisation (77%), carbon capture (74%), net zero (61%), green tariffs (49%) and carbon neutral (42%).

Just 10% have heard of COP26 – the UN climate conference to be hosted in the UK this November.
 
However, over half (51%) of Brits said they would feel more hopeful if they knew the steps Britain is taking towards using more zero carbon energy.

41% said they would feel better if they knew the best time of day to use energy whilst 47% said they would feel more positive if they knew how much of their energy came from renewables.
 

The Green Light

In a bid to help Britain understand where it gets electricity from, National Grid has launched the Green Light Signal – a low-energy light bulb designed to glow green when the electricity supply at home is cleanest so people can make smarter energy choices.

The clever gadget is powered by National Grid’s carbon intensity API, a carbon intensity forecasting tool with a regional breakdown, built by National Grid ESO, WWF and The University of Oxford and The European Defence Fund.

‘Climate change is the biggest crisis humanity faces. As a Principal Partner of COP26, we want to give people hope by making them aware of the transformational changes taking place in the energy sector as we move towards a clean energy future.

‘Great Britain’s energy system hit a new green record earlier this month with almost 80% of electricity coming from zero carbon sources, and in the last seven years we have cut carbon emissions from the electricity system by 66 per cent.
 
‘We know there is still lots to do, but by showing people the progress that’s been made and bringing them together to better understand energy consumption with tools like the Green Light Signal, collectively we can make a real and significant impact in the fight against climate change.’

JOHN PETTIGREW
Chief executive of National Grid

People power

70% of Brits believe that individual efforts to save electricity and use greener energy sources can make a difference in the fight against climate change.

Increased news coverage on the topic has led a whopping 89% to be more mindful about the way they use electricity at home.
 
Top ways Brits are trying to make greener energy decisions at home include filling the kettle with only the amount of water they need when boiling (52%), wearing more layers to negate the need to heat the home (44%), having short showers over baths (43%), reducing the amount of laundry washed (31%) and leaving the oven door open to heat up the home after use (28%).

However, 15% of Brits do not believe that individual efforts to save electricity will help fight climate change.
 
The research suggests there are things we will not contemplate giving up in the fight against climate change – using computers less (50%), eating less meat (45%), eating less fish (43%) and drinking less coffee (42%) top the list.

For millennials, streaming services like Netflix (42%) just could not be sacrificed whilst giving up eating avocados to help fight the climate crisis proved a bridge too far for a further quarter (25%) of Gen-Z and millennials.

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