Energy Saving Generation Gap to be Bridged by Green Deal & ECO

11 September 2013

The older generation may consider itself to be greener but it the younger generation that is taking long-term solutions to looking after the planet and saving money, according to energy giant NPower.

The company conducted a survey of 2,010 homeowners and found that 56% of those aged 55 and above thought of themselves as “green”, compared to 42% of those under 24.

The baby boomer generation is quick to point out that it was brought up on recycling bottles, repairing damaged goods, and hand–me–down clothes, all of which have a direct positive impact on the planet and all of which are today being touted by advocates of the other three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The younger generation has emerged from a world where milkmen are scarce, electronics are cheaper to buy new than repair, and clothes are made so cheaply they're unlikely to make it to a younger sibling.

According to NPower, while 85% of the over–55s made a conscious effort to limit their energy use, only 61% of under–24s did likewise. There are several possible reasons for this, the main one being that those that have retired or are heading for retirement generally look to save as much money as possible, but that is not to say that younger householders aren't thinking about saving cash. In fact, the opposite is true.

NPower found that while 40% of the over–55s questioned believed their actions would not make a difference when it came to energy saving and looking after the planet, only 12% of under–24s felt the same way. This suggests that the younger generation has a more long–term view on the issue.

This point is further strengthened by NPower's findings that 16% of under–24s had installed solar panels, while only 6% of over–55s had done the same. Solar PV is a long–term solution to cutting the cost of energy bills, and gets a big thumbs up from the Government.

The Government is in fact attempting to bridge this generation gap with its energy efficiency initiatives, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) and Green Deal.

The elderly and the unemployed are amongst those that may benefit from an ECO grant, which pays for energy–saving home improvements such as boiler replacement, Loft Insulation, and Cavity Wall Insulation. These are long–term money–saving measures that could still benefit householders now.

The Green Deal allows any UK householder to take out a loan to pay for energy efficient measures, again including boiler replacement, Loft Insulation, and Cavity Wall Insulation, as well as several energy generation measures, such as the installation of solar panels, biomass boilers, and air source heat pumps.

Regardless of the apparent generation gap and differing viewpoints on long–term and short–term solutions identified by the NPower survey, the Government hopes these schemes will save energy and money for millions of properties across the UK.

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