Mind The Green Gap

What do people in the UK really think about climate change and green living?

With climate change being such a pressing issue, we have done some research into people’s environmental attitudes and priorities, and it has produced some surprising findings. We have identified a serious ‘green gap’ when it comes to being green at home. More people would be prepared to be taxed according to their sustainability levels (26%) than use green energy (15%), despite the latter being recognised as a priority in tackling climate change.

On top of that, whilst nearly 60% of Brits are willing to pay more for a product or service if it is better for the environment, only 4% apply this logic to energy – only 4% of people would use a green energy supplier that cost more than a standard supplier.

Clearly the nation isn’t putting its money where its mouth is, so what could be causing this green gap?


Part of the problem could be confusion. It makes no sense for homeowners to be prepared to pay more for fair trade food for instance, but not choose their energy supplier on the same basis.

The truth is that green energy is easy to find, simple to switch to and one of the cheapest energy options available. Right now, 5 of the top 10 gas and electricity deals on the market are green, as are 13 of the top 20. Yet, only 15% of those we surveyed use green energy.

52% of people say they would switch if prices were the same, and our message to them is that they are the same, and often less! The fact that people aren’t switching, despite this reality, demonstrates a knowledge gap around green energy – something we at Homebox are keen to address.

This confusion also feeds into the nation’s lack of understanding about the impact that lifestyle choices have in the wider scheme of climate change – 50% of Brits feel they have some understanding, but not enough, and more than one in 10 say they have almost no clue at all about how their own choices contribute to climate change.

Guilt and doubt

Our research shows that many of us feel guilty about our role in climate change, feel self-conscious when using something we know isn’t eco-friendly, and sometimes pretend to be more sustainable than we actually are. This behaviour is most apparent among young people who are, however, more likely to be pessimistic about their ability to tackle climate change. 76% of 18-34-year olds doubt the effectiveness of household choices such as using energy efficient light bulbs, growing food, or switching appliances off instead of keeping them on standby.

Despite the confusion and doubt, our findings show that the British public takes reducing its energy use and carbon emissions seriously enough to regularly make some effort to be eco-friendly:

  • 73% have installed energy efficient light bulbs
  • 26% have changed appliances for the most energy efficient versions
  • 24% holiday in the UK to avoid air miles

It is also apparent that as a whole, the nation is committed to recycling waste and saving on water use:

  • 56% have multiple recycling collection boxes to make sure everything is recycled
  • 30% collect rain water in an outside butt for use
  • 16% take their own reusable cups to coffee shops – more than use green energy

How can Homebox help?

At Homebox, we want this realisation of the green gap to be the light bulb moment when people start to make some new, easy and effective environmental choices in their homes.

One of the best things we can do for the environment as a society is to narrow the green gap and use green energy in our homes. You’ll find plenty of great green energy tariffs on Homebox that we can help you to switch to without any hassle or added cost. Unlike traditional price comparison websites, we help people not just switch, but to stay on the best deal for all their household bills, taking away the nuisance of always having to shop around. So, if you haven’t already done so, why not take that first step today and find a greener energy deal

Looking for some sustainability tips to do your bit to beat climate change?

1. Ditch the gas

To meet the UK’s national carbon budgets, it won’t be long until households will have to stop using gas for energy entirely. There is a ban on gas central heating in new build homes from 2025. Why not get ahead of the curve and invest in alternative technologies such as Air source heat pumps (ASHPs)? These work by absorbing heat from the outside air in order to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, warm air convectors and water. The heat they extract from the air is constantly being renewed naturally.

2. Focus on style over fashion

The fashion industry is contributing to serious environmental destruction. Water is a significant part of the problem. Textile manufacturing processes require huge quantities of water, much of which ends up depositing contaminants including dyes, inks, bleaches and acids.

As a society we need to buy less and buy ethically. Resist buying ‘fast fashion’ items. Instead, invest in a capsule wardrobe of quality classic items that will stand the test of time.

Consider what materials your clothing is made from – clothes made using petroleum-based synthetics and chemicals shed microfibres when washed, polluting rivers and oceans. More sustainable fabrics do exist – such as organic cotton, linen, silk and wool.