Green Lane in Cookridge, north-west Leeds, has been crowned one of Britain’s most environmentally friendly roads.
Residents of the street won a prize of £50,000 for cutting their energy use by 35%. Experts hope that similar challenges could eventually help homes across the UK save an average of £200 each year.
The prize will be spent on making a community building of the residents’ choice more energy efficient.
It’s not a coincidence that the winning street is called Green Lane. Over the past 12 months, eight families on eight roads, all with the word ‘green’ in their address, followed simple instructions – such as not leaving televisions on standby and taking showers instead of baths – in a bid to reduce consumption.
Each street was also given a budget of £30,000 to spend on energy efficiency measures.
Overall, the 64 families who took part in the British Gas Green Streets competition cut their energy use and carbon emissions by a quarter.
Paul Atkinson, who lives on the winning street, Green Lane, with his wife Karen and two children, said he was ‘astonished’ after cutting £1,000 off his annual electricity and gas bill.
To see how you can cut your home’s emissions and save on energy costs visit the interactive Which? green home. Try Which? Switch to see whether you find a cheaper energy supplier.
Matthew Lockwood, from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) which analysed the results, said: ‘The UK has steep carbon reduction targets of 80 per cent on 1990 levels by 2050.
‘We were surprised at the commitment of the green streets householders in showing how we might meet them.Nine in 10 of the homes we will live in by 2020 have already been built, so we will need creative approaches to keep carbon reduction front of mind during a recession.’
Despite the success of the challenge, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises public spending, warned that the government was relying heavily on building regulations to deliver its targets for saving energy in homes despite knowing little about whether the construction industry is complying with them.
The committee also said that householders were confronted with a ‘confusingly wide range of advice’ on energy efficiency from the government, energy suppliers and others, and simpler ways to communicate the energy performance of appliances should be used, such as a ‘traffic light’ system or a website to compare performance.
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