HOW SMART METERS CAN HELP TO REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
We all want to live in a world with cleaner air and cleaner energy. But what’s all that got to do with smart meters? Spoiler alert – there’s more to it than reducing your energy use…
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A smart energy system
Smart metering is crucial to a smart energy system. As a customer, you can be actively involved in the system, and can decide how you engage with it. This could help you to reduce your carbon footprint.
Customers use energy at different times, and there are ‘peak periods’ where energy usage is higher than usual. For example, there could be a peak period in the evening, as people get home from work and put the television on, or cook their dinner.
The energy system has to be ready to handle the highest peaks of energy usage. This means using power stations when the energy from renewable sources won’t be enough. And the system can’t rely on renewables as much for these peak times.
However, customers can use their smart meter and smart tariffs to reduce their energy usage at peak periods, where electricity is most expensive. This will help the smart energy system reduce our reliance on additional power stations, because they won’t need to produce as much extra energy at these peak times. Helping us make the most of renewable energy, such as solar or wind energy.
For example, smart time-of-use tariffs offer a different price for energy at different times of the day. So, if you put on your washing machine during periods of low energy demand (known as off peak periods), you can pay less for that electricity.
Choosing these tariffs remains entirely the choice of the consumer, and will mean people can be rewarded with lower bills for doing their bit to help reduce their carbon footprint.
Also, customers with solar panels could be paid for the excess energy they produce and export back to the smart energy system. They just need to ensure they’re on the Smart Export Guarantee.
SO, WHAT IS A CARBON FOOTPRINT?
We all want to do our bit for the environment. But it can be hard to know what effect you're having. So, what is a carbon footprint?
It's a clever way to measure our impact we have on the environment. It works out the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from our everyday activities – like driving, going on holiday or using single use plastics. These gases can be very dangerous for our environment.
Luckily, there's lots of things you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint! Like getting a smart meter. If we all used one, the CO2 savings Britain could make would be equivalent to the savings made by around 70 million trees. Now that's a lot of trees...
Watch the video below to see Einstein in a virtual forest, as he explains the impact of smart meters on the environment:
Roughly 70 million trees, that’s the equivalent in CO2 savings that Britain could make if everyone got a smart meter.
Oh! Hello little friend.
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Saving energy at home with a smart meter
Smart meters come with a handy in-home display (IHD) that shows how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence.
With a better understanding of your usage, it’s easier to see where you can make small changes to reduce your energy consumption and lower your energy emissions. This could lead to lower energy bills and a smaller carbon footprint – a double win.
But don’t just take our word for it. The video below shows how My-Yen has used her smart meter and IHD to bring down her energy use, and why she thinks this is important.
My name is My-Yen Butler I live in Cardiff currently with my husband and my small child. One of my favourite features of the in-home display on the smart meter is knowing exactly how much energy and money we’re using, because it’s so exact. So, for example, the kettle could be on for a few seconds and I can see exactly how much energy consumption it’s used.
For us it was a logical next step to get a smart meter because it ensured that we could bring our energy use down and help tackle climate change. It’s definitely had a positive effect because I know what I need to do in terms of saving energy in our household, and also saving money, and just knowing that there are things on in the house that don’t need to be.
I think that if more people in Great Britain were to get a smart meter it would definitely help to tackle climate change because it just gives a better insight into what energy you are using and how you can bring energy use down when you don’t actually need to use it.
It’s really important for me and my family to make these changes now. By having a smart meter I feel like it’s just a small step that we’ve made to help future generations to come, in particular, my son’s generation.
How smart meters will enable low carbon technology in the future
Smart meters also have the potential to unlock the development of exciting new technology that will make our homes more energy efficient in the future, which will also help reduce our carbon footprint.