Mrs Green says no to the environment

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renewable-energy-solar-turbineI pride myself on putting my money where my mouth is in order to meet my green expectations.

We prioritise organic food, have installed solar panels at our own expense and have bought a more energy efficient woodstove.

In a recent survey over on Reduce Footprints, we were asked “What’s your criteria for purchases?” and I smugly breezed past the ‘price’ choice.

But now I realise I could be wrong.

You see I love to be frugal too. I have some disposable income but I need to make careful purchases. And there’s nothing better to me that combining saving money with saving resources.

And this week’s “Change the World Wednesday” challenge has highlighted this very issue for us again.

Small Footprints is asking us to beat procrastination and take action. She writes “This week, consider that one, green-living practice which you haven’t quite gotten to and … just do it! Take that first step, and give it a try!”

What a great challenge and one to really keep you on your toes.

For the past two years I’ve started the year by writing a list of ‘green goals‘ I want to achieve.

But for some reason the 2014 list hasn’t been created.

So Mr Green and I had a chat about what we could do.

“We could buy an electric car” was Mr Green’s first idea with a smile across his face.

I’m guessing that was tongue in cheek as we don’t exactly have the finances for that hanging around.

But then I thought we could look into a hybrid. A friend of ours recommends the Honda Insight which is fulled by electric and petrol. He loves his.

I checked them out on eBay, but even these start at around £8000.

So that’s a no-go too.

So then I thought about our electricity supplier. One thing I would love to do is switch to a green supplier. I’m aware my electricity is fulled by goodness knows what. I’m guessing coal, oil or nuclear.

And here’s where I realise ‘putting my money where my mouth is’ doesn’t always ring completely true.

And thinking about it; I know why.

When I buy organic food I benefit from the taste and the health benefits. I prefer the taste (in most instances; I admit you can’t always tell), and my body certainly prefers the way I feel when not overloaded with toxins.

With solar panels we have instant reductions to our electricity bills and that lovely feeling of bit of self sufficiency – when you get a power cut we are unaffected.

With the energy efficient woodstove we get lashings of hot water and we use less wood; this has reduced stress from having to source and collect a few tonnes of wood each year.

But an electricity supplier? There are no instant gratification benefits if I’m honest. There’s no tangible pleasure to me

It’s just a utility bill I’d rather not have to pay at all, so up until this point I’ve been swayed by price.

I know! My sense of altruism and ‘doing the right thing’ just isn’t kicking in.

Then I figured I hadn’t actually checked the figures for a long time, so here goes…

I’m currently paying 10.86p/ kwh with the Co-operative. They are not a green supplier, but at least their ethics as a company makes me feel like I’m doing my bit. Kind of.

I found three green suppliers in the UK and checked out their prices:

Ecotricity 15.11p / kwh

Good energy 15.45p /kwh

Green Energy 16.45p /kwh

Sadly, when I crunched the numbers, it wasn’t a pretty sight:

Putting aside standard charges, say we use 12 kwhs per day.

With the Co-Op, this costs us £39.10 per month or £469.20 a year

With Ecotricity it would be £54.40 or £652.80 a year

Good Energy would cost £55.62 or £667.44 a year

Green Energy would cost £59.22 or £710.64 over a year

All these prices EXCLUDE VAT and daily standing charges.

Mr Green and I discussed whether we would be prepared to spend an extra £200 a year on electricity to support a green supplier and…

I’m afraid the answer is no.

So as to “that one, green-living practice which you haven’t quite gotten to” just yet; we still haven’t decided.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Would you spend an extra £200 on electricity per year to support renewable energies?

I must admit, I’m still feeling a bit unsure about this. A huge part of me *wants* to…

Ho hum; it’s not easy being green…


  1. Zoe @ecothrifty on February 18, 2014 at 7:56 am

    Great article and very honest. We are in a similar position, we have solar panels but don’t have a green energy supplier. We have looked into buying a battery so that we could store some of the solar energy we are generating but it would have cost us around £10,000 and didn’t make financial sense. Hopefully at some point it will become affordable as that would be great.

  2. Eco-Remodeling on February 18, 2014 at 3:17 pm

    It’s interesting that you have a choice for your electrical utilities. Here in Canada (BC) our electricity is provided by the province (a government monopoly) if you will. We don’t have a choice. And now they just shoved the “smart” metering system into our faces.

    There are homeowners who try and supplement their power with solar or wind setups and live “off-the-grid” but these systems are generally out of reach for the average homeowner as the prices are still too high and the time for the system to pay for itself is generally many, many years.

  3. Lois on February 19, 2014 at 6:19 am

    This is a hard one. I don’t have an option who my provider is being that I rent and my utilities are included in the rent As for a hybrid car I have heard they are very bad during manufacturing on the environment. Plus to put that kind of money into a vehicle I guess you would have to do a lot of driving and keep it for many many years to see a return on your investment.

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