MAKING CLIMATE CHANGE SIMPLE
We’ve noticed that the way we talk about climate change in Britain can sometimes be a little…confusing. But it doesn’t need to be. We’ve worked with author & broadcaster Simon Reeve to find out how we can simplify the process, and lose the complicated eco-jargon. So we can all understand what environmentally friendly changes we should make in our own homes.
What do these ‘eco-terms’ mean?
We asked adventure author Simon Reeve:
“The world is facing a climate crisis and we’re all keen to find ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle. But we are regularly hearing new words and phrases and it can be confusing, so we thought it would be helpful to explain what some of them mean.
“Whatever the complicated jargon suggests, helping the planet doesn’t need to be confusing. There are easy things we can all do, such as requesting a smart meter installation and using it to manage our energy use, which make doing your bit for the planet very simple.”
To help you become an ‘eco-term’ expert, we have teamed up with Professor Paul Ekins, Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources to define these words and phrases.
Watch the video below to see Simon Reeve explain the complicated terms we are all hearing about more everyday:
We all really want to do our bit to help the planet and be more eco-friendly, but when it comes to eco-jargon, frankly, we are struggling to keep up!
So today, I’ve teamed up with Professor Paul Ekins from the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, to explain some of those tricky meanings, so you don’t have to Google them!
These are statements, often made by large companies, about their environmental actions that are either misleading or not backed up by evidence.
This is a condition in which emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere are balanced by removals of GHGs from it. It's a term routinely used by countries and, increasingly, companies, that set ‘net zero’ as a target at some future date.
This is the mass of living, or recently harvested, organisms, plants or animals. Some biomass is used as, or grown to be used as, fuel, often to replace fossil fuels.
This is an activity or organisation that has no net emissions of greenhouse gases.
This is when individuals or businesses try to balance emissions of greenhouse gases from their activities, with the removal of an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
This means activities that restore the environment, especially in respect of agriculture that improves the soil and increases biodiversity.
This is the measure of carbon emissions associated with the consumption of goods and services by a person, organisation or country.
This is the ability of some process, organisation or condition to continue into the long term.
These are tiny plastic particles in the environment. Plastics don’t decompose, but instead break up into these tiny pieces, which accumulate in the environment and end up in the food chain after being eaten by organisms.
So, there you have it, now you never have to wonder what those words actually mean!
And remember, despite the confusing language often used, there are lots of simple steps you can take to help the planet, including requesting a smart meter installation from your energy supplier.
It comes with a handy in-home display, which shows you the cost and amount of energy you are using . This helps you to identify areas where you can cut down on your energy use to be more energy efficient, which in turn helps the environment.
What do these terms have to do with smart meters?
Reaching net zero by 2050, or reducing your carbon footprint. What do these phrases have in common? Smart meters could help to unlock their potential…
How are smart meters helping us reach net zero?
As Simon Reeve explained, net zero means the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases we emit, and the amount removed from the atmosphere. And if you’re not sure what greenhouse gases are, they’re gases in Earth's atmosphere that trap heat, for example carbon dioxide. We definitely don’t want too much of that.
To achieve net zero, we need to reduce the greenhouse gases we emit. Which means using less fossil fuels to generate energy, like coal, which emits greenhouse gases when burnt. We need to replace these gases with more renewable energy. And a smart energy system, enabled by smart meters, could help us make the most of this renewable energy, such as solar or wind energy.
How are smart meters helping us reduce our carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is a clever way to measure the 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.
To reduce our carbon footprint, customers could use their smart meter and smart tariffs to reduce their energy usage at peak periods, when electricity is most expensive. This will help the 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 to reduce our carbon footprint.
A smart meter can also help you spot where you’re using unnecessary energy in your home, to reduce how much electricity and gas you use…
How could a smart meter help you make your home more energy efficient?
Without a smart meter, we tend to use appliances and heat our homes without knowing exactly how much everything costs. Sometimes, we only find out we’ve spent too much when it’s too late and the energy bill has arrived!
With a smart meter, you’ll be offered a portable in-home display, which will provide near real time updates on how much you’re spending on electricity and gas. This could lead to behaviour changes to help you save money, and help the environment.
In fact, 69% of smart meter owners say they are more conscious of their energy use since getting one.
Below are some real-life examples of environmentally friendly household changes. With the help of a smart meter and accompanying in-home display, of course:
Switching appliances and devices off standby
Hina noticed her in-home display was still showing that energy was being used, even though no appliances or devices were being used at the time. After searching her house for what could be using energy, she found that it must be plugs that were left on at the wall with devices and chargers still plugged in (but not in use). The family now switches off everything at the plug when not in use.
Replacing a kettle with a one cup kettle
Lorna noticed on her in-home display how much energy her kettle was using every time she made a cup of tea or coffee. As she lives alone, she decided to switch to a ‘one cup kettle’ so she no longer overfills the kettle or wastes energy. But if you don’t want to buy a ‘one cup kettle’, you can choose to only boil the exact amount of water you need when you use your current kettle.
Getting a smart meter installed is one step towards better energy efficiency in the home, alongside actions like turning appliances off standby or washing your clothes on a cooler wash.
The Smart Future report
Your energy usage behaviours in your home play a vital role in the UK’s plan to reach net zero by 2050. If you want to know more, you can download the full report below:
Request your smart meter
Now that you’re an ‘eco-terms’ expert, you’ll want to put your new found knowledge into action. So, join the millions of Brits already helping to create a smarter future by requesting a smart meter.
Simply type your energy supplier in the box below and we'll redirect you to their website.
Want to find out more?
- About smart meters - find out more about smart meters and how they work.
- Benefits for Britain – 7 ways smart meters will help the environment and benefit Britain.
- 5 tips to tidy up your energy use – things you can do now to reduce your energy bills as well as your carbon footprint.