Treat them green, keep them keen: UK adults turned off by partners who leave the lights on as nation becomes more environmentally conscious

  • Adults in the UK that live with their partner pinpoint leaving lights on as the thing that shocked them most when they moved in together
  • The nationwide survey was commissioned by BT as part of their commitment to combating climate change and showing how tech can help the nation live more sustainably
  • Switching to an electric vehicle, recycling more and switching to a renewable energy provider among the top ‘climate resolutions’ Brits would make to fight climate change
  • BT’s Smarter Living Challenge recently uncovered the powerful impact UK households can have on their carbon emissions by using technology to support simple sustainable lifestyle changes

Leaving the lights on, switching the heating on unnecessarily and putting recycling in with general waste topped a list of things that shocked UK adults about their partner when they moved in together, research has revealed. The survey, commissioned by BT, showed that these more environmentally friendly concerns trumped the more traditional gripes, such as snoring, not tidying up after themselves and chewing loudly.

The findings suggest a trend of couples becoming more environmentally conscious: a third of those questioned believe they and their partner are doing more to live a greener life at home when compared to twelve months ago, prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, while more than half (54%) encourage each other to be more sustainable. Living a greener life has also brought more than a quarter (27%) of couples closer together. However, it is not always smooth sailing: 60% of those questioned admitted that they have had a disagreement with their other half about the environment.

While couples appear to be becoming more aware of environmental issues at home, the majority still think there is room for improvement, as just 38% believe they and/or their partner are sufficiently eco-conscious. When asked which ‘climate change resolution’ they would make to live a greener life, switching to an electric vehicle emerged as the top choice (15%). Recycling as much as possible (13%) and only using the heating while necessary (9%) completed the top three, closely followed by switching to a renewable energy provider (8%).

As part of efforts to combat climate change, BT is helping to equip the nation with the digital skills needed to be more sustainable at home. The company aims to provide households with the knowledge and motivation needed to make small but sustainable lifestyle changes and is highlighting the important role technology has in making the household shift to sustainable living easier.

Just under half of UK adults (47%) already have a smart technology appliance in their home, with more than two thirds (69%) believing that advances in smart tech are helping their household to be more environmentally friendly. Among the most popular appliances were a smart meter (64%), smart lighting (34%) and smart thermostats (33%). Among those that don’t use smart tech, cost (40%), the belief that it can’t make a substantial difference (21%) and a perceived lack of understanding on how it works (18%) were among the top barriers to installing it at home.

BT recently announced the results of its Smarter Living Challenge, a partnership with environmental charity, Hubbub which highlighted the powerful impact UK households can have on their carbon emissions by using technology to support simple sustainable lifestyle changes.

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.

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.”

BT has led on climate action for three decades and has pledged to become a net zero carbon emissions business by 2045. In 2020, BT completed the switch to 100% renewable electricity worldwide, which means citizens who buy mobile or broadband from EE, BT or Plusnet are now supplied by networks that are powered by 100% clean power.

To find out more about BT’s Smarter Living Challenge and the changes you can make to help fight climate change visit: https://www.hubbub.org.uk/bt-smarter-living-challenge

To find out more about what BT is doing to help fight climate change, visit: https://www.bt.com/about/digital-impact-and-sustainability


Notes to Editors

Top 10 things that shocked UK adults about their partner when they moved in together:

  • Leaving lights on when not in the room – 27%
  • Snoring – 23%
  • Leaving appliances plugged in when not in use – 19%
  • Puts recycling in the black bin waste – 17%
  • Not tidying up after themselves – 17%
  • Leaving the heating on unnecessarily – 16%
  • Wastes food – 16%
  • Opens the window with the heating on – 14%
  • Leaves the TV on when not in the room – 13%
  • Wastes water – 12%

Top 5 climate change resolutions for UK adults:

  • Switching to an electric vehicle – 15%
  • Recycling as much as possible – 13%
  • Only using the heating when necessary – 9%
  • Switching to a renewable energy provider – 8%
  • Eating more plant-based meals – 7%

The research was commissioned by BT and carried out online by OnePoll. All surveys were conducted between 10th June 2021 and 14th June 2021. The sample comprised 2000 UK adults who live with their partner/spouse.

About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2021, BT Group’s reported revenue was £21,331m with reported profit before taxation of £1,804m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about