UK utility National Grid has introduced a new energy-efficient light bulb ‘the Green Light Signal’ as part of efforts to address climate change in partnership with its customers.
The new light bulb glows green when the electricity supply at home is cleanest in a bid to help Brits to understand where the energy is coming from. This is expected to help consumers to make smarter energy choices including reducing energy use for grid stability, a development that will enable National Grid to expand its capacity from renewables onto the grid.
The technology has the potential to help National Grid cut customer churn as the number of consumers seeking green services expand.
The technology is powered by National Grid’s carbon intensity API (carbonintensity.org.uk), a carbon intensity forecasting tool with a regional breakdown, and was built by National Grid ESO, WWF and The University of Oxford and The European Defence Fund.
John Pettigrew, chief executive of National Grid, said: “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.”
Consumer awareness on climate change
The launch of the new technology follows new research from National Grid finding that Brits feel hopeless about climate change. This feeling seems partly fuelled by an ‘energy awareness gap’ in people’s knowledge regarding the positive steps Britain has undertaken to be less reliant on fossil fuels.
Up to 42% of Brits incorrectly believe that Britain only gets up to 10% of its electricity from renewables yet clean energy sources produces an average of 55% of the country’s energy.
Consumer knowledge around the country’s reliance on fossil fuels is outdated and not helping as one in ten of Brits think the country gets between 71% and 90% of its electricity from fossil fuels. Nearly a quarter (23%) mistakenly believe that Britain generates between 51% and 70% of electricity from fossils. Britain generates 36% of its electricity from fossils.
Carbon jargon is another factor preventing people from engaging on the issue of climate change. According to the survey, Brits haven’t heard of terms like decarbonisation (77%), carbon capture (74%), net-zero (61%), green tariffs (49%) and carbon-neutral (42%). And just 10% have heard of COP26 – the UN climate conference to be hosted in the UK this November.
Addressing climate change
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 majority of the consumers surveyed believe their individual energy management efforts can play a key role in addressing climate change. 70% say they believe their individual efforts and clean energy use is vital to addressing climate change.
Moreover, increased coverage of climate change as a news topic has led to 89% of Brits being more mindful about the way they consume energy.
Some of the top ways Brits are making smarter energy use choices 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.
There are also 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.