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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

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

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

xxxkadzxxx Tue 01-Oct-13 22:26:21

I think it should be taught in schools and i think children should learn about it at an early age so it becomes a way of life and natural to them, like a habit.
I do talk to my children and try to explain it to them to teach them how to be greener and understand the importance of it. Although, its very difficult as i dont think their school enforces it as much as they could/should so i feel like i am hitting a brick wall and worry that they will think i am nagging at them when they dont recycle their rubbish, turn the TV off, turn taps and lights off etc when they see their teachers and friends doing it and getting away with it!
I do try to pick them up on it everytime as they do know but tend to forget... but not half as much as my bad influence fiancee!

VerySmallSqueak Tue 01-Oct-13 22:30:31

I think our children should be brought up to question whether we should be trying to meet our energy requirements,by means such as fracking and nuclear,or whether we should be simply trying to reduce our energy requirements.
It really is that fundamental.

SaltySeaBird Thu 03-Oct-13 09:12:22

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?

I think it is very important to teach our children about creating a greener environment, which includes energy waste and carbon emissions. My DD is too young but it is something I will discuss with her as part of everyday life.

Then again, a lot aspects about creating a greener environment will be part of her everyday life. We have numerous different recycle bins (something I didn't have growing up), we make an active decision to walk on short journeys rather than take the car and we don't leave electrical things on / taps running etc.

I think it should be taught in schools as part of learning on energy in general.

CMOTDibbler Thu 03-Oct-13 10:00:19

Non tester - I try to make ds think about our use and waste of resources in our everyday life, and he's pretty good. Though his idea of what is a reasonable bike ride is slightly further than mine (and further than he could ride on the road yet!)

poorbutrich Thu 03-Oct-13 17:28:57

Non tester here!

It is vital that children are taught to be as green as possible - it's good for them as well as being essential for the future of the planet.

My son isn't yet two but we're trying to bring him up to have as little impact on the planet as possible.

Rather than recycling, we don't buy disposable items or purchase more than we need. We've got to the point where seeing people buy meaningless gibber (such as the woman I saw buying 20 Easter eggs a few months ago) and putting it into carrier bags from the supermarket (rather than simply bringing your own) is becoming sickening and unsustainable. We've sectioned off part of the garden which is for DS to grow vegetables. He already understands that this is his and loves looking at the vegetables and (over!)watering them!

He has his own trike and a seat on my bike so we don't use the car unless necessary and most of his toys and clothes come from other family members or boot sales.

I really hope this doesn't sound annoying or that he is being deprived of anything - we'd rather live like this by choice rather than find in a couple of years that such things as landfill and oil are rationed.

janekirk Thu 03-Oct-13 17:38:02

My little ones teach me as much as I teach them about the environment and recycling. We do our bit in order to improve things, but I do worry that Governments will always put money first.

csmony Thu 03-Oct-13 17:53:46

Non tester

Yes I think it's absolutely essential to create greener environment and this should be taught as a part of curriculum in schools too.

I have taught my 4 year old about importance of recycling and had touched a bit on subject of global enviourment in story time.

I used to have discussions with older children of my friends about importance of sustainability and quite amazed by their interest in this subject.

Greener the environment ,brighter the future,let's work together for it

helcrai Thu 03-Oct-13 19:37:04


Must admit it is not something that I bother to talk to my kids about, but I think it is important that they have informed views from both sides about the green issues. Schools should play a big part in Educating them from an early age. My kids take part in a "walk to school" scheme to reduce carbon emissions and they have set up an Eco Council which gets involved in recycling and reducing waste in the school.
Personally I think there are still some questions to be answered about the causes of global warming and this side of the coin should be explored too. However it surely can be no bad thing to keep our planet clean and green, whether it has a long term effect or not and this is the message I hope my children will learn for their future.

daisybrown Thu 03-Oct-13 22:41:36

We try to lead by example. Although we do get a few grumbles about cutting out short car journeys! Schools seem to be more tuned in to environmental issues nowadays, recycling and the outdoors being two points which spring to mind. We enjoy many comforts by living within a capitalist system but does a capitalist system really care about environmental issues?

stephgr Fri 04-Oct-13 03:51:38

Non tester. I do think it's essential we try to create a greener environment and children should be taught at school about energy waste and carbon emissions. I discuss it with my children and saving energy and protecting the environment is something they want to do. When I was a child in the 70s and 80s I had very little knowledge about protecting the environment but my children and their friends seem to know so much.

Tammylucy Fri 04-Oct-13 17:43:43

I think that all the children should be educated about using energy wiser. We should educate them that in a country that the temparatures in the summer do not go higher than 30 degrees there is no need to use air conditioning in every shop and every building. We should teach them to think about all the people in countries like Africa and India that suffer of extreme heat conditions.

poopoopoo Fri 04-Oct-13 19:33:19

Hi all at Mumsnet, What is the challenge for month 2?

Igmum Fri 04-Oct-13 21:08:19

Agree with gingercat - I'm trying to teach my DD to wear a cardigan when it gets cold rather than wandering round in T-shirts, we recycle and re-use.

BadlyWrittenPoem Fri 04-Oct-13 21:37:36

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 that children should be taught not to waste things generally - not just energy/fossil fuels although obviously with fossil fuels being a finite resource it does make it particularly important not to waste them. I'm not sure whether it should be considered the responsibility of schools - it seems like something that comes under a parent's responsibility. I discuss not wasting things with my child.

peronel Sat 05-Oct-13 06:42:59

Walk or cycle as much as possible.
Encourage a healthy respect and understanding of the environment by growing your own fruit and veg as much as possible. Give the kids their own plots and/or get them to help with yours. As well as getting them outdoors this means you can grow organic produce much more cheaply, encourage them to eat more vegetablesgrin - and reduce air miles to zero. What's not to like?

ataraxia Sat 05-Oct-13 12:10:49

Non tester - Kids should be educated about energy saving but not necessarily about carbon emissions per se (except in science) or even future environmental impact but present consequences, including money saving!

cluttered Sat 05-Oct-13 16:25:08

Non tester:
Yes I definitely think that it's important for the next generation to know about this and I am trying to do my bit. DS2 is really on board with turning everything off and knows that standby is not the same as turing off at the wall, teenaged DS1 is less bothered about the environment but goes along with it purely because he realises that less money on fuel bills means more money in the budget for fun stuff (probably not the most environmentally friendly message).

However, I am a bit hampered by DP's attitude that it's uptight to always be turning stuff off. He grew up in a home where it was expected to be able to walk around in short sleeves during the winter, whereas I believe you should put a jumper on if you're cold and not turn the heating up. Also my DSis works in a very environmentally unfriendly industry and is really sceptical about global warming, the importance of reducing our footprint etc. Hence it is important that kids learn the true facts in school otherwise they may see it as merely a matter of opinion.

ChocolateMama Sat 05-Oct-13 19:08:08


I always get the children to switch lights and things off when they are not in use. They are pretty good and always say, "Yes, because it is a waste and bad for the environment isn't it?" We also re-cycle as much as possible and again, it is the norm for them and they always put things to one side to go in the recycling.

I think the schools are pretty good to be honest. At my children's school they talk about the environment a lot and the children understand that things should be re-used if possible and re-cycled.

Punkatheart Sun 06-Oct-13 23:05:15

I have heard of a school called The Willow School that uses green values throughout - even in the design of their school. This sounds the way all schools should be going. The next generation will be so much more savvy.

Willemdefoeismine Tue 08-Oct-13 10:30:03

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?

I think our generation is the first to truly embrace it. I've certainly gone from being unaware as a teen to a total 'green' fanatic as an adult and particularly since becoming a parent. DP and I do everything possible to be 'green' although we possibly are a bit over-reliant on 'technology' to be totally green hmm - I wonder how 'green' Tom and Barbara from the Good Life would have been in the 21st Century?

Both DCs have been eco-warriors at school and loved the role but I have to say that they are less good at home. They often need reminding to turn off lights, turn off plugs at the wall rather than using stand-by etc....

They are, however, pretty good Wombles with recycling, putting litter in bins etc.....DP always puts extraneous litter in bins as we are walking along and he sees it - I am however rather less keen at the children following his example with strangers' litter.

We also are a car-free family so are majorly green in that respect. Again though I think the children would prefer us to be less so!

I think it is important to assimilate 'green' behaviour into every day life so it is a habit rather than a chore particularly where the children are concerned.

It will be interesting to see if our children's generation are more 'green' savvy though....I think our parents were in their behaviour, but more thro' thrift and the austerity of WW2 and the following decade, than from an awareness of the need to sustain a greener environment. I guess maybe our generation has embraced it so readily/easily because most of us were brought up by parents who practised 'green behaviour' unknowingly!

spicers1976 Tue 08-Oct-13 20:09:52


We had our meter installed on 21st August. Had a very friendly engineer who explained everything he was doing, and why he was doing it. He was in the property for just under two hours, during which some points we lost power and were advised to turn off any sockets such as the sky box to avoid loss of data through power failure. This seemed to be easier for the customer than I think I was expecting.

He didn't leave me a manual for the smart meter, but it looked very straight forward to use. I did wonder why the meter says "for illustration only" against the costs on the electric section of the meter, but I have been told it's fine.

Our first couple of months and I have been noticing looking at the meter often and seeing which appliances uses more electric than others.
I like being able to see the meter rise and fall in the graph of what uses less and more. It helps to remind me to turn the plugs off at the wall.

Month 1 challenge:

Three activities from my six year old daughter that she thought would use a lot of electric

- cooking dinner
- watching TV
- playing the computer

(well you can see her train of thought there can't you)!

We did test out a variety of activities, turning appliances on and watching to see what the meter did. I think this was a good activity for a small child as she is starting to see the spikes on the graph and realises that unfortunately watching TV doesn't eat the electric, but yet cooking her porridge in the morning, will use more.

My older daughter (18) thought her hair straighteners would use more electric, as well as the hair dryer and laptop.

She was right on the hair dryer and straighteners, so I hope this convinces her to turn things off when she has finished with them now.

RubySparks Thu 10-Oct-13 21:12:38

Non tester - yes children should learn about their environment and how to take care of it, both at home and at school. I was in high school when I read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson which was chilling reading and made a huge impact on me.

My kids are teens now and do jobs around the house which include emptying bins and taking out recycling. It is as much about a whole attitude to consumerism though, we really don't need all this stuff, less packaging would mean less need for recycling.

It is all just common sense to me, why wouldn't you look after your environment?

IncaAztec Fri 11-Oct-13 14:34:53

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?

Yes, but baring in mind some of the controversy surrounding climate change science - what is good for the earth today, might be bad for the earth tomorrow...

Do you think its something children should be taught about at school? Is it a topic that you discuss with your DCs or not?

Yes, but with caveats - energy waste takes in a variety of topics!

NannyPlumForPM Fri 11-Oct-13 14:36:35

Non tester:

I think it is INCREDIBLY important for children to be brought up with an awareness of what uses the most energy and how to save on this. For example a tumble dryer is an expensive tool to use, and has a large impact on the environment whereas drying on a rack is largely free!

The same with diswashers IMO, I think they are an impact on the environment that can be easily removed.

I think if children were taught about these impacts early on then they would be more aware than current climates

billybear Sat 12-Oct-13 19:21:29

I think we all think about food waste, cook what we will eat, turn off light, excerise walking when we can , saves petrol recycling rubbish it all helps, put rubbish in bins on street not on floor, pick up after your dog, we all try to save electric its getting more expensive, so I think as long as every body does their bit it all helps make the world greener,we can only all try

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