This week, Ikea announced its support of Big Clean Switch – a social business that helps people move to 100% renewable and clean energy – and its ‘collective switch’ project. In a nutshell, customers can join the project and switch energy providers to ones that are committed to cleaner energy, together.
For many of us, it’s easy to forget where our energy comes from and the environmental impact it has when we switch a light on, have a hot shower or warm up leftovers from the night before.
But in fact, switching to a green energy supplier is a really easy thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and it can make a huge difference.
According to Friends of the Earth, by switching to a green energy supplier you could be saving around a tonne of CO2 per year, which is the same amount of carbon as would be emitted driving from Inverness to Istanbul and back.
The task can often seem quite daunting (and a lot of effort), but switching to a green energy provider is a great sustainable step. Here’s everything you need to know about doing it.
It’s actually really easy to do
Although switching your energy provider may seem like a bit of a minefield, a number of the well-known price comparison websites already provide green energy information (such as Money Supermarket and Simply Switch) and there are also websites geared around green energy suppliers specifically (such as Green Electricity Marketplace).
Clean energy comes from a variety of natural sources
Power can be generated from wind, water, sunlight and plant-based fuels, not just fossil fuels.
Turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric dams and biofuels all feed into the National Grid, which in turn then end up powering your home.
The more renewable electric energy you use, the cleaner the energy industry becomes
When you commit to a green energy supplier, what you’re essentially signing up to is a like-for-like swap. So for the amount that you use, that supplier then guarantees that the same amount is then put back into the grid from renewable energy sources.
So the more people who switch, the better it is for the planet.
It’s not necessarily more expensive
The Big Green Switch’s collective switch project with Ikea is expected to save a typical UK household £300 a year, according to both companies.
Plus, with renewable energy sources becoming more common there are more deals becoming all the time. So it can be good for your pocket and the planet.
A number of green energy companies use a commission from the money you pay to give back
One third of the commissions that Big Clean Switch collect from their partnership with Ikea will go directly to community projects in the local area of Ikea stores.
Green energy provider Ecotricity even uses earnings from its mobile phone service Ecotalk to buy up new land for endangered animals.
Cleaner energy is available for both gas and electricity
While green electricity is much easier to generate than gas due to the burning process needed to produce gas, both are still available in greener form, and green suppliers are transparent about the availability of both when you sign up.
For instance, 12% of Ecotricity’s gas is currently green, but they are working on generating their own gasmills to increase this percentage.
By switching, you are actively supporting an important movement towards ‘cleaner energy’
Aside from the cost benefits of joining a collective switch to a green supplier, your decision could have a knock-on effect countrywide.
We are quickly hurtling towards the deadline for the Government’s renewable energy target. Seeing as we are supposed to be using renewable energy for 15% of the UK’s overall energy consumption by 2020, we need to get a wriggle on.