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Could Using Tech at Home be the Key for Scotland’s Net Zero Targets?

David Paul

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Smarter Living Challenge
The BT Smarter Living Challenge has explored how tech can help people to cut carbon emissions, save money and live smarter.

The BT Smarter Living Challenge has revealed how Scots can use tech to reduce their carbon footprints as they become more environmentally focused.

BT’s Challenge looked at the use of technology in supporting simple, sustainable lifestyle changes which could help to cut carbon emissions, save money and live smarter.

According to recent data, 40% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from households, a number which has likely increased during the pandemic as people spend more time at home.

This means that, as we emerge from lockdown and move towards the lowest level of Covid restrictions, saving money on bills and ‘doing our bit’ for the environment at home is more important than ever.

In December 2020, environmental organisation Hubbub partnered with BT to carry out a three-month challenge with 61 households. They adopted a variety of new technologies, including apps, smart home tech and other tips to manage their energy, food and water use.

The project found that when seven small, but sustainable actions were combined with technology, an average household could save £938 on their bills and up to 1.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per year if adopted on a sustained basis.

Switching to smart LED lighting, for example, could save 65kg of CO2 emissions per household, while changing to a renewable energy tariff can save the average household around £270 on bills.

Just under half of Scots said they already have a smart technology appliance in their home, with nearly two thirds (63%) believing that advances in smart tech are helping their household to be more environmentally friendly.

Many of those taking part say they are now using tech to help run their home, and 76% of households say they plan to stick with the changes they’ve made.

According to the results, the 1.7 tonnes of CO2e saved will provide 6.6% of the carbon reduction UK households need to make to play their part in achieving net zero by 2050.


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Commenting on the results, Andy Wales, Chief Digital Impact & Sustainability Officer at BT, said: “In the run up to the COP26 climate talks later this year, we want to show people up and down the country that it’s not just politicians and corporations who can make a difference in the fight against climate change, everyone has a part to play.

“At BT, we connect for good. Our technology, networks and products will underpin many of the solutions needed to become a net zero carbon economy and will act as a catalyst for a smarter, greener future. That’s why we would encourage all of our customers, colleagues and communities to make their own ‘climate resolutions’ because we know when small sustainable steps are supported by technology, they can make a huge impact.”

Among the most popular appliances were a smart meter (56%), smart lighting (27%) and smart thermostats (37%). Among those that do not use smart tech, 37% cited cost as a reason for avoiding adoption, while 20% said that belief that it can’t make a substantial difference and a perceived lack of understanding on how it works were among the top barriers to installing.

David Paul

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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