March 30, 2007 13:39 ET

UK Consumers in the Dark About Carbon Emissions and Energy Efficiency

WARWICK, UK -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 30, 2007 -- With environmental scare stories hitting the headlines on a daily basis, UK consumers are facing increasing pressure to be 'green.' But a new survey released today reveals that worryingly, most UK consumers still don't know which activities are the worst CO2 offenders, with 93% failing to rank everyday appliances correctly -- making it difficult for them to effectively reduce their own carbon footprint.

According to the YouGov(i) survey commissioned by leading energy supplier Calor, one in four people ranked patio heaters top for annual energy usage, ahead of plasma televisions (7%), mobile phone chargers (12%), keep-warm kettles (12%) and driving to a local restaurant (12%) -- all of which actually produce more annual CO2 emissions. Almost a third of those questioned stated they would never use patio heaters because they believe they are environmentally unfriendly and not energy efficient. Only tumble dryers ranked more highly, although just 34% of respondents identified them correctly, despite them producing nearly four times as much CO2 as a patio heater(ii).

In actual fact, televisions used in the UK produce an incredible 210 times more carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year than the population of patio heaters(iii). On standby mode alone they produce 828,000 tonnes of CO2 each year which is 37 times more than patio heaters. Even mobile phone chargers are surprisingly inefficient -- if left plugged in when not charging they can produce up to 70kg of carbon dioxide over a year -- twice the annual carbon dioxide output of a patio heater (35kg)(iv).

Andrew Ford, corporate affairs manager at Calor, says: "Patio heaters have been vilified over recent years so we were worried about the public's perception of them. We organised this survey to gauge how much people really knew about CO2 emissions as we felt it was our duty as a responsible fuel supplier to make sure that consumers were armed with the correct information.

"Unsurprisingly, one in ten UK consumers admitted to feeling completely overwhelmed by all the media coverage and that they still didn't know how to cut their CO2 emissions or improve their energy efficiency. Nearly a third said they would never use patio heaters due to their effects on the environment, yet most consumers still don't turn their TVs off standby which is responsible for 37 times more CO2 emissions in the UK than patio heaters.

"We understand how important it is to be aware of CO2 emissions and, as with any appliances, we advise consumers to be responsible and keep their usage to a minimum. We have partnered with carbon offset agency, Equiclimate, to allow our customers to offset all the CO2 produced by their patio heaters at As a company, we will also be funding offsets for the production and distribution of the 13kg Patio Gas™ cylinders used to fuel patio heaters."

NOTES TO EDITORS: Industry research accepted by the Government's environmental statistics agency suggests that patio heaters emit just 0.002% of all UK carbon dioxide emissions.

(i) YouGov survey of 2,423 people which provides a representative sample of the UK population. The survey was carried out between 13 and 15 March 2007. Full survey results and regional breakdowns are available on request.

(ii) A tumble dryer produces 134kg of CO2 each year.

(iii) The UK population of televisions produces 4.6 million tonnes of CO2 each year. Standby consumption is 18% of total.

(iv) The Market Transformation Programme estimates that the UK population of 630,000 domestic patio heaters produces 22,200 tonnes of CO2 -- which equates to 35kg per heater.

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