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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

(116 Posts)

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

littlemonkeychops Fri 20-Sep-13 20:48:47

Yes of course it's important to educate (but as others have said environmental issues are taught at school already).

DD is only 2 so a bit young to understand why we recycle, etc, but we're teaching her by example and she loves helping put bottles in the bottle bank etc.

GetKnitted Fri 20-Sep-13 21:21:34

if nothing else, educating children about conservation and waste is a good lesson in economy.

maxmissie Fri 20-Sep-13 22:08:19

Non tester:

Very important to educate them on this, discuss it and bring them up to think it's the norm rather than having to adjust to it like most generations have been doing. At the moment as they are four and six the main things we encourage them to do are turn off the taps when brushing teeth, recycling, turning off lights, that we don't use the car to go everywhere, not to waste food etc. Yes I think it should be taught at school but also just incorporated into daily school life as it is at home (recycling etc) rather than just discussing it in a lesson.

kateandme Fri 20-Sep-13 22:34:34

i think it is very important.pehaps how they grow up thinking can change our planets future.who knows what they might come up with to help if they start learning early.
making it fun helps.recycling can be very fun especially for the young.
showing them beautiful places.taking them for walks in nature and around species that might be impacted if we dont look after the world.
having a fun candlelit evening can be vry rwearding.telling them why and then having the evening meal round the candles and then a game do they can see what its like without the elctricals and how effective it could be yo yhr also teaches them how lucky they are as in the past this is how people lived.the more time that passes the more years there are between when there wasnt all the resources that we have now.
our elder relatives lived in the times when ceritna electircals and resources weren around.but now our own children.they dont leanr much of that becasue it gets longer and longer ago.

Cherrygrape Sat 21-Sep-13 07:05:09

I think its important, to be aware of it and do what we can personally do to improve things. I think it should be taught in schools at some point. I worked in a primary school where it was taught at a simple level. Its great to be taught at school but I think it would have a greater effect if taught by parents, because it would be incorporated into daily life better. Walking/ cycling to school, energy saving light bulbs at home, turning things off at the plug, recycling, using less water, etc are all things parents can help make into habit for a child. My dd is too young to discuss it yet.

lottytheladybird Sat 21-Sep-13 09:21:14

Non tester

I'd like to see much less packaging on items which are solely added to make the item look more expensive.

Also, why do cucumbers have to sold in cellophane in supermarkets? Such a waste of plastic.

Anyway, less packaging would go some way to making the environment greener for our children, I think.

bealos Sat 21-Sep-13 09:50:15

I think our children are taught about the environment from primary age. My 7year old son seems to know lots about recycling, not wasting water, etc.

We talk about it at home too - he knows why we use cloth nappies for our baby, why we shouldn't leave the tap running or leave lights on, and why eating local or growing your own food is good.

It's about bringing all these discussions into the day to day, rather than it being a purely class room experience.

NotAFeminist Sat 21-Sep-13 11:30:58

Non Tester: My LO is not yet 1 so I haven't quite broached the subject of protecting the environment with him just yet! However, I do feel it important to teach children whilst they are young, and as they grow older, the importance of looking after the planet and not wasting resources. I am an avid recycler in our home and usually find a secondary use for EVERYTHING which is something I'd like to pass on to my son.

I agree with Manfalou that it should be taught in a fun, interesting, engaging manner to younger children at school and not how we see it as grownups on the news with the hysteria of 'we're going to run out of resources in 2 years and then we're all going to die!' etc etc. (Slight exaggeration!) In our home, we are very mindful of the water, energy and gas we use and make sure we don't use more than we need. We neither of us drive and walk/use public transport to get around. I would love to see our country one day be nearly entirely dependent on the likes of solar, wind and tidal energy, despite the ''''visual pollution'''' that wind farms may cause!

MummyBtothree Sat 21-Sep-13 13:09:04

All we can do is try our best and do our bit for the environment and teach our children to do the same and set a good example. Our children are the future so we should invest in educating them.

skyeskyeskye Sat 21-Sep-13 14:01:45

DD is 5. She helps me to recycle by putting cardboard in the green tub. She understands that she mustnt leave on lights, or leave the tap running.

she also understands that she mustn't throw rubbish on the floor and that it is better to buy penny sweets in a paper bag than to buy sweets in plastic wrappers.

I think that school should educate them and DD's school does. They have an eco section and they grow their own veg and discuss packaging etc.

AllSWornOut Sat 21-Sep-13 16:05:09

I agree with all those who daddy it just needs to be taught at school in an organic manner. As DC1's school they have pupils in charge of collecting recyclable rubbish and putting it into the right bins. It needs to be something you just do, naturally, rather than thinking, "Oh, I'm doing this to be less wasteful."

However parents/families must play a role in building good day-to-day habits.

loopyloou Sat 21-Sep-13 18:08:57

Non-tester here:

"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 extremely important to educate future generations about energy waste and carbon emissions. They are after all the future and we cannot afford to go on wasting energy the way we have. Children should definitely be taught about this at school, just as they also should be taught not to litter. We often discuss such matters at home and I take it for granted that my daughter is aware that energy should be conserved at all times. It doesn't stop her leaving her bedside light on at night though sad but she is aware that we use energy saving bulbs and that lights should be turned off when leaving a room, heating kept turned down and doors closed when possible to keep heat in. We have also spoken about not leaving car engines running when not required.

FannyPriceless Sun 22-Sep-13 11:16:39

Non tester: I think it's critical. I hope and expect that our children's generation will be even more committed than we are. I do think that school plays a part in this, in reinforcing the messages we are giving at home about reducing waste and being responsible with what we buy and how we recycle.

newfashionedmum Sun 22-Sep-13 17:23:03

really important. Leading by example is the best way for them to learn. think we tried a bit too hard with our daughter, she gets up in the middle of the night to check we've switched everything off!

whattodoo Sun 22-Sep-13 20:35:59

Non tester -
its pretty easy to teach children about environmental concerns while they're young. Our DD is 5 and has seen us turning the tap of while brushing teeth (for example) and after our explanation why, she takes it as the norm.
Yes, these issues should be discussed in school, and at home they should be led by example.

OddSockMonster Tue 24-Sep-13 16:50:17

Tester - meter's getting installed this weekend so will give proper feedback after that, but we reckon (without looking at the rest of the thread) our main uses will be:

DH thinks electric shower, washer-drier doing the washing, and kettle

I think washer-drier on tumble dry mode, oven and the kettle

DS1 (7) thinks microwave, lights and lego star wars

DS2 (3) thinks dishwasher, telephone and fridge

Should be interesting, especially how we change any behaviour as we consider ourselves fairly energy conscious.

KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 25-Sep-13 13:33:30

Thanks for all your comments so far.

QuintessentialShadows, British Gas have asked for this comment to be posted in responses to your post:

"I’m sorry to hear your experience with British Gas has left you confused and frustrated.

When you mention smart meters you point out that: “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”. I would like to confirm that smart meters are installed free of charge to our dual-fuel energy customers, as we’re rolling-them out as part of a free nationwide upgrade, mandated by the UK Government. The same goes for the smart energy monitor showing your gas and electricity use in pounds & pence, and that is offered at point of installation. No supplier can charge customers for replacing current meters with smart meters.

Please let us have your details through the Mumsnet network and I’ll make sure one of our Senior Energy Advisers gets in touch with you to chat through any questions you might have and provide assistance to help you make informed choices about your Green Deal options.

For more information on smart meters please watch this short video:

Dana – British Gas Smart Metering"

Please PM me if you'd like someone to contact you.

asuwere Fri 27-Sep-13 18:56:47

I do feel that children should be brought of knowing about responsibility for the environment they live in. I don't necessarily speak about 'being green' but my kids are brought up knowing that recycling is normal and to switch things off that aren't being used etc. I also try to teach them the monetary cost of electricity and running a car etc so they are put off wasting. We also speak about how walking is better for them as well as the environment rather than driving.

These things should be in school as well and then it just becomes part of normal life and not something they need to think about.

GoingGoingGoth Fri 27-Sep-13 19:21:34

The environment is an important part of our life style. DD (8) was only grumbling at me this morning about how many people drop litter. We have tried not to address the issues with her as being 'green' but just as part of a normal lifestyle.

We discuss where our food comes from, and how we should appreciate the work that goes into it and how much it costs, and therefore why we should waste any but only buy what we need and can use.

She is aware that humans are part of the environment, and that what we do has an effect. We only have a shared garden, but we do have a windowsill, so we try to cram as much on it as possible, bulbs, flowers, salad, tomatoes and even a butternut squash this year. We try to grow flowers to encourage bees, and we feed the birds.

We spend as much time as possible in the local park, and now DD cycles we try to cycle to as many places as possible.

We try to be as energy efficient as possible, as she's knows to put a jumper on first rather than turn the heating up. DM always has the mantra 'it's not green, it's mean!' grin

Theincidental Fri 27-Sep-13 20:00:27

A greener environment is one of the most important things we can educate our children on. Reliance on fossil fuels is doomed and damage to our environment is getting greater and greater.

We are destroying our Eco system and it's getting very late to still be arguing about it.

I don't think energy companies or the government are doing enough, so it is even more important to teach children so they can push through a generation of people who will act.

I do teach my son about not being wasteful, recycling and reusing and try to consume as little as possible.

We grow some of our food and recycle a lot.

Ds' nursery are very good on green issues with their own renewable technology (which they teach the children about) and a forest school.

Trills Sat 28-Sep-13 11:38:18

I definitely think that "looking after the environment" is something that children should be taught about, but children are wont to get a bit overly literal and fundamentalist about things, so it needs to be done in a more careful and gentle way than the way in which they are taught about healthy eating.

Daddy you just killed a penguin because you put that in the wrong bin
I can't have that, it's BAD food

poachedeggs Sat 28-Sep-13 21:29:08

how important or not, do you think it is to educated younger generations on energy waste and carbon emissions?

Really important - it needs to be part of everyone's consciousness.

Do you think its something children should be taught about at school?

Yes, definitely. Children can exert a lot of pressure on parents to live more greenly. I also think this is something which will affect future generations in terms of their careers so they need to be aware of these issues at an early age.

Is it a topic that you discuss with your DCs or not?

We don't make a point of it but we do talk about why we do certain things, what the pros and cons are of things, for example why it's better to take a train than drive, or why we need to switch off lights.

starfishmummy Tue 01-Oct-13 15:42:08

Non tester.

I think it is important to educate our children into becoming "greener". I try to lead by example so that my son sees the things I do and will just think they are normal and so Jeremy will continue to do them. It doesn't have to be something big because the small things matter.

I used to he a school governor and through my own interests introduced his special needs school to the "Eco Schools Project". This was embraced by staff and pupils alike - a lot of it was "baby steps" but hopefully making a difference and things the students will continue to do.

bluebump Tue 01-Oct-13 17:54:38

Non tester:

I think it's very important to educate and encourage our children into being greener. It's something that can be taught and put into practice at home and in school.

At home my 5 year old is aware of recycling, switching off lights, turning off taps and keeping doors closed in rooms to keep the heat in etc.

OddSockMonster Tue 01-Oct-13 18:35:12

Right, Feedback...

The electricity meter installation went fine, it was quick and the engineer was very polite and chatty. From the user point of view, the meter display unit is very straightforward to use and understand. I've tapped it out of curiosity quite a few times, as well as specifically for this challenge, and it's been interesting seeing the difference on days when the whole family is at home compared to school days.

The gas meter hasn't been installed yet as it needs a stand-alone regulator (must write that down now before I completely forget), and the engineer used his a couple of days previously; like buses, he hasn't needed one in ages and then two come along in two days. Am waiting to hear back from BG but can give them a call, KatieBMumsnet does it need to be in place for next month's challenge?

The monitor itself hasn't been that interesting to the DSs, though might be more so when we get enough data to use the graphs on the history function. They have been interested in what uses hardly any electricity at all compared to what uses loads.

If it came up in conversation, I don't know yet if I'd recommend one - it's interesting but I don't know if it'll actually reduce our energy use.

Month 1 Challenge

We turned on various appliances and this is what we found (all in kW):
Dishwasher: variable - short peak of 2.86 when heating water, 0.2ish for most of the cycle
Kettle: 2.33
Oven: 2.06 (while heating up, 0.02 when temperature reached)
Microwave: 1.32
All the lights in the house turned on at once: 0.337
Lego Star Wars (TV & Wii): 0.077
Background (fridge & meter): 0.012

Not very surprised over all as we thought it would take most energy heating things (especially water). I was surprised how much the oven uses though, I thought that would be lower. The boys were glad the TV & Wii don't take that much.

How will we change our usage - I intend to clean the oven door so we can look through rather than opening it to see if food is done. And will double up use of the oven, e.g. for baking sausage rolls at the same time as doing a roast. I'll probably use the microwave a bit more too.

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