Time and money biggest barriers to going green


Climate change

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Time, money and ignorance are the key barriers when it comes to Australians reducing their environmental impact at home, new research has found.

The findings, detailed in the inaugural environmental impact study Green Home and Motoring Index, reveal that a large bulk - 37 per cent - of Australian householders are only willing to reduce their environmental impact if it doesn't cost anything, while 12 per cent will only do so if it doesn't "take too much time".

While 18 per cent are eager to reduce their footprint but don't know how, and 5 per cent couldn't be bothered or concerned at all, 28 per cent, however, said they would go to "any length" to reduce their impact.

"While uncertainty about household finances has clearly impacted some people's enthusiasm for being [environment] friendly, our research shows most Australians are taking significant action to reduce their environmental impact," said Mike Sopinski, Corporate Affairs Manager for AAMI, which co-commissioned the report.

"Household efforts appear concentrated on reducing water and energy consumption, which has been made possible through widespread use of more efficient appliances, and through a basic change in attitude and behaviour that is seeing us using less of our resources."

Federal and state government campaigns to encourage less water consumption in the current drought have been working well, Sopinski said, with 75 per cent of Australians limiting their water consumption either by choice or force.

"Some people are also seeking out - and paying for - other sources of water to augment their savings at the tap," he said.

Among these efforts, 65 per cent of householders have installed water-saving showerheads, 24 per cent have installed a rainwater tank, 11 per cent have installed a greywater system and 31 per cent only use greywater on their garden.

The study also reveals that financial incentives to install solar panels have yet to fully resonate, with just 8 per cent of householders reporting their homes to be fuelled by solar power.

"But despite the low uptake of solar panels so far," Sopinski said, "people are very actively taking steps to reduce their consumption of artificial lighting - four in five householders have installed energy-saving light globes, and 90 per cent switch lights off when they aren't in use."

In their efforts to curb emissions, Australians are exercising moderation rather than imposing outright bans on consumption, with over 60 per cent limiting their heating and air conditioning use, for example.

A good deal of Australians are also using energy efficient appliances and installing ceiling insulation, while recycling bottles and paper remains the most popular way for householders to reduce their environmental impact (90 per cent of us engage in the practice).