A Guernsey perspective on why Earth Hour is important

March 21st, 2011 by Anne Sandwith

Earth Hour‘ focuses people’s mind on the vital importance of energy conservation and energy efficiency. We need to reduce the base load to the absolute minimum before embarking on new power stations of any description.

You only have to look around Guernsey after dark to see houses with every room in the house lit up regardless of whether every room is occupied or not, and many appliances switched on or left on standby with no-one using them.

When replacing an old appliance at the end of its life, people should be positively encouraged to buy the most energy efficient model. How many people actually take this into consideration? I think most give it a low priority, and look primarily at factors such as price, design and colour.

The rising price of electricity may help to make people more aware, although the majority of Guernsey’s population are relatively well off and the cost of energy may not have much impact on the use of energy.

High minimum standards of energy efficiency must be imposed on manufacturers of electrical appliances.

The initial capital cost is often the main reason for people not choosing the most energy efficient model. When my 11 year old gas condensing boiler gave out, I replaced it with an air source heat pump, but it cost me about four times as much as an equivalent new gas boiler.

I was fortunate to be able to afford it and I am now being rewarded with much lower bills for central heating and hot water, but I will have to wait five years or more until I get the ‘pay back’ on my initial investment.

We must make it easier for people to make such choices.

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