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British Gas smart meter reviewer feedback thread. Non testers: Share your thoughts on creating a greener environment for your DCs to be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers NOW CLOSED

(115 Posts)

MNHQ have commented on this thread. Read here.

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 17-Sep-13 13:52:52

This thread is for the 3 Mumsnetters and 2 Mumsnet Bloggers who are testing the British Gas smart meters in their home.

Non testers: Share your thoughts on creating a greener environment for the next generation how important or not, do you think it is to educated younger generations on energy waste and carbon emissions? Do you think its something children should be taught about at school? Is it a topic that you discuss with your DCs or not?

Everyone who adds a comment to this thread by 18th October will be in with a chance of winning £100 worth of John Lewis vouchers

Testers: We'd like you to post at least 3 sets of feedback on this thread - once a month for 3 months.

Below are a few questions for you to answer but please also add any other comments you may have to the thread. You may want to answer some questions now and some at the end of the trial period.

General questions

- How did you find the installation of the smart meters? Was it any more or less complicated than you were expecting?
- What are your first impressions of being upgraded to smart meters and having a smart energy monitor?
- Has the smart energy monitor that comes with smart meters helped you keep track of your energy consumption?
- Has the smart energy monitor helped your children to understand/be more interested in energy? If so how?
- If it came up in conversation, would you recommend getting a smart meter upgrade with British Gas to your family/friends? If so why? If not why not?

Month 1: Finding the activities that use the most energy
This task is all about educating the future generations about the cost of energy wastage to both the environment and your household bills.
This month we'd like testers to try to discover which activities in your home use the most energy:

- Have each member of the family write down the 3 activities they think use the most energy in the home. What were these?
- Ask your children to guess how much gas or electricity they think each activity involves - please let us know what they said.
- Ask your children to turn on various domestic appliances in turn and record how much electricity is consumed and how much it actually costs by looking at the smart energy monitor. You can do the same for gas appliances, but it takes a bit longer (30 minutes - due to the way gas volume is measured and translated into kWh) for the figures to be displayed on the smart energy monitor.
- Which activity used the most energy? Did this surprise you? Will you and your family change how you use gas or electricity appliances in the future or not? If so, how? If not why not?

Thanks and good luck,

Katie @ MNHQ

manfalou Tue 17-Sep-13 20:08:43

Non Tester:

I think that creating a greener environment is something our children should learn about but in a very relaxed, innocent manor. Schools could make this a very fun topic through various activities instead of leaving the subject until secondary school when its all very serious and factual.

We don't discuss this with our children atm (they're only 5 months old and 3) but we have solar powered batteries etc that my eldest knows we charge our phones up on and we need to put it in the sun to work, plus we've taught him to turn lights off as he leaves the room and turn toys off he's not using to save power which is a step in the right direction.

I do think that the majority of people are making the environment greener, perhaps not purposefully, but because of the rising cost of things in general. I know I don't drive as much as I used to, we don't waste as much food and we recycle as much as possible. I believe that it is important to try and preserve the planet as it may be for the younger generations but we need to make it fun for them to understand and follow. Getting them interested in the subject is what is going to be the future of our greener planet.

sharond101 Tue 17-Sep-13 22:05:32

Ds is only 16mo so too young to understand but with DH in a job which considers energy waste it will be something we discuss with him when he is older and of course encourage him to be energy efficient. I believe it should be in the school curriculum as not all parents will know enough to tell their children about it.

gazzalw Wed 18-Sep-13 09:51:19

Non-tester: I think it is incredibly important to be teaching the next generation about everything to do with saving power. DD has 'eco warriors' at school and is generally quite good at saving energy whereas DS (12) tends to leave everything on 'stand-by' if indeed he can be bothered to do that. DW is obsessive about not leaving energy-guzzling gadgets on (comes from having a father with an OCD about turning stuff off!) and goes around the house in a flurry checking that things haven't been left on stand-by.

I do think though that financial implications aside, it is very difficult for the children of now to understand quite how their careless habits might impact adversely on energy availability in years to come.

We grew up with miners strikes and three day weeks and homes lit by candle-light. This generation of youngsters knows nothing about not having energy on tap 24/7.

Yes, I do think it's every bit as important a part of children's education as PHSE and Citizenship. It really taps into a lot of areas of the curriculum including the-soon-to-be-obligatory financial education lessons.

Spirael Wed 18-Sep-13 10:02:15

Non Tester.

The best way to help create a greener environment for the DC is to start young with them, working together towards a greener environment as they grow up. It'll hopefully then just become second nature to everyone.

Things like turning off lights/appliances when not needed, wrapping up warm instead of relying on central heating, recycling where possible, not creating more waste than needed, changing to energy saving bulbs, adding simple insulation, etc. All stuff you can do at home without considerable lifestyle changes. Some things can even be made into a game!

If they're interested and when they get a bit older, you could then get involved in further projects. Things like planting trees, creating a home solar/wind powered battery, etc.

DifferentNow Wed 18-Sep-13 10:40:12

Non tester

Share your thoughts on creating a greener environment for the next generation how important or not, do you think it is to educated younger generations on energy waste and carbon emissions? Do you think its something children should be taught about at school? Is it a topic that you discuss with your DCs or not?

I think it's an extremely important topic for children to be educated on. I'm amazed and delighted at how much they already know and understand about this subject and we discuss it regularly at home. It's an easy concept for children to grasp because lots of the lessons they learn follow the pattern of, 'if you do X, Y might happen, what could we do differently?'.

InkleWinkle Wed 18-Sep-13 13:16:05

Just marking my place on this thread so I can find it.
SMART meters installed yesterday & I am obsessed with them. (and ever so slightly worried about the winter!)

HALA Wed 18-Sep-13 13:44:13

non tester

I think its important to teach your children never to throw their rubbish on the roadside. Also, to recycle everything that they use, and last but not least, to walk everywhere whenever its possible.

dahville Wed 18-Sep-13 14:51:41

Non Tester

Share your thoughts on creating a greener environment for the next generation how important or not, do you think it is to educated younger generations on energy waste and carbon emissions?
Yes, it is important to educate our kids about these things, they need to be educated in an atmosphere where the problems and challenges are acknowledged. They need to be challenged to feel a responsibility to do something about this (as we should as well!)

Do you think its something children should be taught about at school?
Yes, they should be taught the science of it and the impact of decisions that have been/could be made.

Is it a topic that you discuss with your DCs or not?
We will do when he old enough. Right now we are just teaching him to respect nature and not litter!

MadMonkeys Wed 18-Sep-13 17:45:24

Non tester

Yes, I think it is important to educate our children about environmental matters. I talk to my 3.8mo about not wasting energy, not leaving litter behind, recycling etc. I think economic pressures will encourage some aspects of environmental awareness anyway, like the need for more sustainable energy sources etc.

Lent1l Thu 19-Sep-13 14:41:19

Non-tester: I've always been concerned about the energy we use. My DD is only 18 months so not yet old enough to be taught about energy consumption however, as she grows up she will notice that in our house you put a jumper on if you are cold, not turn up the heating. Taps are turned off when not in use (such as not leaving them running when brushing teeth), bath water can be recycled to water plants, the kettle is only filled as much as necessary. These are things I was taught and she will be taught as she gets older so they become second nature.

Whilst I agree that some of this can be taught in schools the fundamental points start at home.

Hopezibah Thu 19-Sep-13 20:41:21

non tester. We have always talked with our kids about greener living but tried to do it in a way that they might be able to relate too. eg. that we want the polar bears and penguins to still have ice caps to live on in the future and if we leave the lights on / fridge door open / don't recycle etc then that affects more people and animals and the planet more than we can imagine.

The kids also help with things like sorting paper / cardboard / plastic and help 'post' things in the recycling bank so they see that it is fun rather than a chore.

Showing my children the gas and electric meters and the numbers going up also helped make it real for them as I explained that it costs more money too (not just bad for the planet but bad for them as less money to spend on Christmas presents) and that seemed to help them understand too!

Bubbles85 Thu 19-Sep-13 21:41:15

Education about energy waste is very important and I do believe that this should form part of the school curriculum.

poopoopoo Fri 20-Sep-13 10:59:14

Installation was quick and simple and the lady who came to do it was friendly and helpful. The children were interested when they saw the screen showing how much energy we are using, it made it more obvious why we should turn off the lights and TV when they are not needed. It is helping us keep track of the energy we are using and we are trying harder not to waste energy to help the environment. If it came up in conversation I would recommend a smart meter.

poopoopoo Fri 20-Sep-13 11:13:09

Month 1: Finding the activities that use the most energy

- the 3 activities we thought use the most energy in the home.
Me: Tumble dryer, Hair dryer, Lights
Daughter (age 6) : TV, Lights, Cooker
Son (age 4) : TV, Cooker, Computer

- Ask your children to guess how much gas or electricity they think each activity involves - please let us know what they said.
They were confused by this question, so I asked how much money do you think it is costing, but we did look at the kW/h. They actually did not realise you are paying for what you use. 'ooh thats lots every day'

*- Ask your children to turn on various domestic appliances*: again we did this in £/hr. We found the amount went up as follows
0.11 with dishwasher, computer and 6 lights
0.36 when I turned on the washing machine
then variable from
0.62-
0.92 with the tumble dryer on!

- Which activity used the most energy?
The tumble dryer!!! ( I was right!) mother knows best ;)

Did this surprise you? therefore No.

Will you and your family change how you use gas or electricity appliances in the future or not?
Yes I will be more careful with the tumble dryer and only use it when really necessary. Also we have decided to make the best use of the oven when it is on and cook food to be eaten during the week; for example we put two chickens in when roasting at the weekend so we have a meal ready to eat for monday night. though I need to check on what the microwave is consuming!!!

Littlecherublegs Fri 20-Sep-13 15:51:04

My DS is only a year old so obviously way too young to understand about the environment etc. However, he knows where the recycling bin is and will put things in it if I ask him (too cute!).

Plus I always ensure lights / TV / radio etc., are turned off if we leave the room and try not to leave things on standby etc.

Having used a SMART meter before, I was surprised to find the electric shower was one of the most energy demanding things in the home - so I try to keep my showers brief now!
The iron was a big one too - great excuse for going creased!! wink

Snog Fri 20-Sep-13 15:55:43

I think the most important thing is to live within cycling or walking distance of 90% of stuff you need ie close to work/school!

Non tester. But a confused person who as tried to use British Gas....

It is a shame that a device that is such a good tool to show us the direct relation between leaving the lights on, tv, computers on standby rather than off, and how much it cost to tumble dry your clothes is so expensive.

£250 for the device, quoted to me by a local plumber who came to quote for my new boiler.

The British Gas person who came out to give me a quote, has managed to confuse me thoroughly by talking about loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, Green Deal, free smart meter, hydro flow requirements, all to the tune of 4k, but dont worry, British Gas will give you your cavity wall insulation for free, and your loft insulation, when you sign up with Green deal and pay it back at £73 per month over 10 years. Simples!

Not so simples. I was told I would get a call from British Gas about switching my dual fuel to them and get £150 cashback.

The person who called me could not give me a quote for switching based on knowing my current kw per hour deal with current supplier (perhaps he could not beat it?). Not possible to tell me if he could save me money based on my current rates, he would need to know how much I had actually paid. I am on a standing order deal, so he said Sorry cant help. hmm

I was told I would get a call back about Cavity wall insulation and loft insulation. The person who called me back told me I could possibly not get the Green Deal unless I am a benefits recipient. Would I anyway buy a Green Deal survey? £150 only! He could swipe my card there and then and send somebody out, no problem!
Erm, why would I do that when you have just told me I cant have the Green deal because I am not on benefits? So, he agreed that I should just have the free cavity wall survey for now.

So, the inspector came out. £450 for the work, done internally, so would have drilling holes everywhere. Unless I wanted to pay £800 for scaffolding. So, total £1250. He said "It is a shame you did not do this last year, when it was totally free for everybody, but there you go!"

Not quite sure where my free cavity wall insulation and loft insulation went. But it is sure as heck not Free from British Gas like the sales person who came to quote me my boiler said.

My quote then, as it stands, is 4 k, and includes Green Deal survey, Cavity wall insulation (which I have to pay extra for as I cant have Green Deal. Loft Insulation (which I wont be offered unless I pay for a Green Deal survey which there is no point having as I dont qualify) So what am I paying 4 k for? A Worcester Bosch boiler, at almost £1000, a Free smart meter, Hydro Flow, installations costs for 3k it would seem.

So, to look at these numbers. 1k deposit, and nothing more. 3k repaid by paying £73 per month for 10 years. This is 8760k! My new boiler will be paid off in 10 years, and will cost me a total of 9760.

Plus the cost of the cavity wall insulation. And loft insulation, should I decide to find a supplier to get a quote from on my own....

Having a quote from British Gas has resulted in 3 new people all telling me different things, I have so far dealt with 4 people, not a thing has been done, and all the work has become more and more expensive witch each person.

Will I use British Gas! Hell no!

I think I am going to use my local plumber.

katiewalters Fri 20-Sep-13 16:27:12

I think it's important for our little news to learn about a greener environment, which should be done at school and at home. I talk to my son about switching things off when we're not using them, now he knows to always turn the light off when he's leaving his bedroom, bathroom etc. I talk to him about recycling, and he helps me sort the rubbish into the correct recycling bins.

ouryve Fri 20-Sep-13 16:37:43

Non-tester. It's a no brainer that we should think about the environment and our energy resources in the longer term, way beyond our lifespan. I believe in buying well to buy once, but as consumers, our choices tend to be restricted, in this respect. I have clothes over a decade old, made from good quality fabrics, using natural fibres, which are still in good condition. It's a struggle to find anything that doesn't contain polyester, acrylic or nylon, these days - all of which use up oil resources. On top of that, clothes just don't last a decade, any more, because of the cheap fabrics they're made from.

Turnipvontrapp Fri 20-Sep-13 17:45:49

Non tester

Yes I think it is very important to talk about this and talk to my boys quite a bit about not wasting resources/ energy/ water/ food.

nextphase Fri 20-Sep-13 17:57:04

Two small people here, who sort of understand that the rubbish goes to make electricity - we drive past the incinerator, but that if we make too much it needs to go into a hole in the ground, which isn't good.

They also ask why we drive to tesco, yet walk to the park, which is next door. So they are starting to understand walking/biking where you can.

We need to keep up with things - I'm horrified by my generation who won't recycle, or dive 0.25 mile. We need the next generation to do what they can to protect the planet and its resources.

I remember learning about acid rain and the greenhouse effect when I was at school and I am 37 now so it's nothing new and of course our children should be taught all of this. Our children know the importance of reduce, reuse and recycle and we try to lead by example

MikeLitoris Fri 20-Sep-13 18:52:35

I agree that education needs to start young. We are a very energy efficient family and it something that we drum into the dc.

The amount of people that know nothing at all about their utilities is staggering to me. Even people that pay thousands of pounds on solar pv are clueless to how it actually works.

gingercat12 Fri 20-Sep-13 20:03:51

Non-tester

As a member of the generation who was brought up during the 1970s oil crisis, I try to instil strict energy efficiency ethics into my LO. He knows he needs to switch off the lights, but finds hard it hard to turn the tap off (because it is automatic in school). Recycling together is great fun. He even has his own recycling bins (little boxes) in his room, where he collects stuff and we are not allowed to throw them out confused

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