A new report by BC Hydro finds that baby boomers—those born between 1946 and approximately 1964—think of themselves as the more energy-conscious generation, despite using more than double the electricity of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996). This means that boomers’ average annual electricity cost is about $500 more than that of millennials.
The report—titled “Generation Gap: How baby boomers and millennials stack up in their perceived and actual energy use” (available online at http://bit.ly/2TjDfej)—found that baby boomers have a less favourable outlook on the electricity use habits of younger generations, with 53 per cent thinking millennials use more electricity than them.
Only 40 per cent of millennials think boomers use more electricity.
Boomers use more electricity than millennials because they typically have larger homes, more appliances and luxury amenities, and more energy-consuming home habits. Forty per cent of boomers live in homes that are 2,000 square feet or larger, while 42 per cent of millennials live in homes half that size or less. In fact, millennials are three times more likely to live in homes smaller than 500 square feet.
Boomers’ bigger homes also mean they are likely to have more electronics, appliances, and luxury amenities inside. For example, boomers are:
· Twice as likely to have a pool and three times more likely to have a hot tub;
· 53 per cent more likely to have a wine or beer fridge and 60 per cent more likely to have heated floors, and;
· 25 per cent more likely to have a home entertainment system.
Boomers’ lifestyle and habits at home also contribute to higher bills. More than one-third of boomers cook dinner seven nights a week, and a lot of those meals are cooked in the oven, which is 80 per cent higher than millennials. Boomers also love traditional TV, with 85 per cent still subscribing to a cable service.
A TV, PVR, and a home theatre system: taken together, these items use significantly more electricity than the tablet or laptop that the majority of millennials use to stream shows and movies.
While baby boomers may use more electricity on average, this also means they have more opportunities to save. For those looking to reduce their home’s electricity use, BC Hydro recommends:
· Taking advantage of BC Hydro rebates on energy-efficient home improvements, including up to $1,200 for insulation upgrades.
· Opting for ENERGY STAR certified models when shopping for new appliances.
· Using a smart strip for older electronics and home theatre equipment to combat “standby power”. This occurs when the electronics are plugged into a wall socket but are not in use: even though they are turned off, they are still drawing power. A smart strip can be turned off to prevent this.
· Unplugging and recycling a second fridge in the garage or basement.
· Cooking with smaller appliances, such as a microwave, toaster oven, or slow-cooker when possible; they use up to 75 per cent less energy than an electric oven.
· Using BC Hydro’s free electricity tracking tools to track how daily habits can impact a household’s electricity use (and the costs).
For more ways to save energy and money, visit www.powersmart.ca.