Millions of Brits turn to social media for energy advice, but could be overestimating savings by up to 51%
- New study finds a third (31%) of Gen Z and Millennial renters and homeowners are using social media platforms for advice on how to cut down their energy bills.
- The top trending pieces of energy-saving video content include how to bleed a radiator, only boiling as much as you need in the kettle and drying a bed sheet over a clothes airer by a radiator.
- However, online advice could be misleading - with Brits overestimating how much they are saving by up to 51%. EDF’s free Energy Hub shows customers where they are using the most energy, giving personalised insight to help control energy costs.
10 May 2023: Millions of Brits are turning to social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram and Chat GPT for free energy saving advice, according to new research.
The poll of 2,000 homeowners and renters, responsible for paying energy bills1, found a third (32%) of Gen Z are using social media platforms for advice on how to cut down their energy consumption, closely followed by Millennials (29%). Brits think, on average, they have saved £164.88 in the last year by following energy saving tips seen on social media. This rises to £241.06 amongst the Gen Z age group and £184.92 among the Millennial age group.
However, 42% of those turning to social media believe that there is so much conflicting advice they are unable to tell what is fact from fiction. Despite this, two fifths (42%) admit they are happy to trust any advice they find on social channels, even if it does not come from energy professionals, rising to 72% of Gen Z social users and 56% of Millennial social users.
Conversely, 66% of the ‘silent generation’ (aged 78 and over) and 50% of ‘boomers’ haven’t turned anywhere for energy saving advice, despite the energy crisis.
Analysis conducted by EDF of the top 50 trending pieces of energy-saving video content across TikTok, Instagram and Chat GPT2 revealed that bleeding a radiator gained the most traction, followed by only boiling as much as you need in the kettle and drying a bed sheet over a clothes airer near a radiator - with tips such as lathering up your body before entering the shower also making the top 102.
Following such advice could be leading to a misunderstanding of the level of savings made on energy bills and a potential focus on less effective measures. When analysing some of the more outlandish tips, it appears that Brits believe they will save more money than is possible.
Energy Saving Measure
National Estimated Annual Saving
Millennial Estimated Annual Saving
Gen Z Estimated Annual Saving
True Potential Annual Saving
Instead of a tumble dryer, hang clothes up on the wall with hooks and place a dehumidifier next to them
Switching off appliances that are normally left on standby
Not overfilling a kettle
Turning down boiler flow temperature
Bleeding your radiators
Minimise time in the shower by lathering up before getting in, then use the shower for a minute or less to wash off
Using a clothes airer near the radiator with a bed sheet over it to dry quickly
Average saving per tip9
With data from the Energy Saving Trust5 highlighting draught proofing gaps in the home is the number one way to help reduce energy bills, potentially saving £125 annually, followed by turning your boiler flow temperature down to 60°C, potentially saving households £112, the research revealed that only a quarter of people (27%) have implemented these measures.
Philippe Commaret, Managing Director for Customers at EDF, said: “There’s a lot of energy-saving advice online and it can be confusing for people to know what to believe. Although we were pleased that for the most part content creators are passing on relatively sound advice, we would suggest people double check with a source verified by energy experts, to ensure they are implementing effective energy saving measures.
“Although in most cases giving these tips a try isn’t going to do any harm, some of the hacks suggested will only lead to minimal savings. At a time when bills are expected to stay above where they were before the energy crisis, we’re committed to supporting our customers by helping them to identify which energy-saving measures will make a real difference to their bills and help the nation to achieve Net Zero.”
Despite over two thirds (67%) being concerned that bad energy saving advice on social media can be dangerous, 12% admit that they followed an energy saving tip from social media ‘as it was trending, ‘so I thought it must work’. Gen Z are the most likely to give social content creators the benefit of the doubt, with over half (54%) admitting they would try an energy saving tip seen on social media they were uncertain was going to work, compared to the national average of 25%.
The most popular reasons for following energy saving tips on social media were a desire to save money (32%) and being persuaded by positive comments (29%) from people online. Another fifth (20%) are more likely to believe a ‘real person’ than information they receive from a larger company.
EDF has found that customers using verified insights from its Energy Hub platform10, which gives them comparisons of how energy is being used around their home with their annual energy consumption and tips on how to reduce it, can actively reduce their bills by up to £6311. It is calling on more customers to install smart meters so they can benefit from these insights in their homes, as well as see if they are eligible for The Great British Insulation Scheme12 through EDF, set-up to help more customers insulate their homes.
Getting a smart meter installed is simple, with no upfront extra cost for the meter or for the in-home display it comes with. Readings will be taken automatically, and customers can choose for these to be sent every 30 minutes, every day or every month. EDF will then use smart meter data to give customers a personalised view of their energy use in the Energy Hub accessible via MyAccount online or via the EDF app, with tips on how to save them cash and carbon.
The Great British Insulation Scheme is designed to be complementary to the current ECO scheme, which is known as ECO4. The scheme will help install energy efficient measures that will lower your energy usage and save you money on bills. The scheme will launch by Summer 2023 and run until March 2026. The government believes the scheme will save households around £310 a year.
For more information contact:
EDF Press Office: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors:
- Research conducted by OnePoll between 5th and 11th April 2023, of 2,000 homeowners and renters, at least partially responsible for paying energy bills
- The research conducted by EDF analysed the 50 most engaged videos on social media across the UK that were tagged with the search term 'energy saving' over the past six months (October 2022 - March 2023). Through this analysis, popular trends and strategies for conserving energy that were gaining traction among social media users were identified.
- Videos sourced from TikTok were tagged with the terms 'energy saving tips' and 'tips to reduce energy bills'. Videos were then filtered to show the most viewed content from the last six months, with the highest viewed videos used to form the dataset. This ensured that the most relevant videos, which would appear when a normal user would search for similar topics, were used.
- For Instagram, the search terms 'energy saving tips' and 'tips to reduce energy bills' were utilised to contrive the 'Top' content viewed over the last six months. It is not possible to filter content based on impressions and so videos analysed are those that are those that the Instagram algorithm orders as the most relevant when users search those terms.
- For ChatGPT, trending search topics provided by Google Trends were utilised to compile the ‘most searched’ content over the last six months.
- The top 10 most engaged videos covered the following energy saving tips:
- Bleed your radiators
- Only boil as much water as you need
- Using a clothes airer near the radiator with a bed sheet over it to dry quicker
- Unplugging appliances from walls
- Draught-proofing the house
- Minimise time in the shower by lathering up before getting in the shower then use the shower for a minute or less to wash off
- Slow cooker meals are cheaper than using an electric cooker
- Turn off your Xbox, as standby has a high energy consumption
- Instead of a tumble dryer, hang clothes up on the wall with hooks, and place a dehumidifier next to them
- Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy - avoiding use of a tumble dryer saves £70 per year, minus cost to run a tumble dryer using comparative energy usage (period of 82.35 hrs) of £13.99 = £56.66 (https://www.idealhome.co.uk/property-advice/how-much-does-it-cost-to-run-a-dehumidifier-298272)
- Gov.uk: Energy saving tips to save money
- Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy
- Department of Energy & Climate Change: How much energy could be saved by changing everyday household behaviours? - The 'most likely' energy saving per kwh/y to regularly maintain heating system: use chemical inhibitor to reduce sludge and scale in the heating circuit and bleed radiators regularly is 389 kwh/y. When multiplied by £0.34 (national average price (as of October 2022) per pence/kWh of electricity) = a saving of £132.26.
- EST: Quick tips to save energy - taking a four minute shower saves £95. Saving divided by 4, to give saving made by taking a 1 minute shower = £23.75
- Energy Saving Trust: Quick tips to save energy: Assumes using existing heat from radiator used to heat home, rather than heating being turned on specifically to dry clothes
- Average figure of the tips outlined in the table taken from the top 10 list of most engaged videos on social media across the UK tagged with the search term 'energy saving' over the past six months (October 2022 - March 2023)
- Energy Hub is accessible via MyAccount and the EDF mobile app. It's available to residential customers who have; gas and electricity smart meter and are on a single rate EDF tariff or an electricity smart meter on a single rate or Economy 7 EDF tariff. Multi-rate smart meters are currently not supported in Energy Hub. To see your energy use within Energy Hub, your smart meter must be commissioned and maintain connectivity with us.
- Savings estimated on a sample from Apr 20-Apr 22 of 1500 customers who started using Energy Hub with Energy Breakdown and logged in 5+ times between April 2021-April 2022. Costs based on Ofgem's typical annual consumption positioned against projected Standard (Variable) consumption costs of April 23-March 24. Ofgem estimates the typical household in Britain uses 2,900 kWh of electricity, 12,000 kWh of gas or 4,200 kWh for E7 annually. https://www.edfenergy.com/smart-meters#footnote-save-70-energy-hub
- The Great British Insulation Scheme is designed to be complementary to the current ECO scheme, which is known as ECO4. The scheme will help install energy efficient measures that will lower your energy usage and save you money on bills. The scheme will launch by Summer 2023 and run until March 2026. The government believes the scheme will save households around £310 a year. To see if you’re eligible for the scheme visit: https://www.edfenergy.com/energy-efficiency/the-great-british-insulation-scheme
EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission, electric future and tackling climate change. It is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity(1) and supplies millions of customers with electricity and gas.
It generates low carbon electricity from five nuclear power stations and more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farms.
EDF is leading the UK's nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, and there are advanced plans for a replica at Sizewell C in Suffolk. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will provide low carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand and power around 12 million homes.
EDF is one of the UK’s largest investors in renewables, with more than 1GW of renewable generation in operation and over 4GW in construction, planning and development across a range of technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage. We are constructing our largest offshore wind farm in Britain – the 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe project in Scotland.
EDF is helping its customers, both in business and at home, take their first steps to sustainably powering their lives. Whether it is buying an electric car, generating and storing electricity, selling energy back to the grid or installing a heat pump. EDF is one of the largest suppliers to British business and a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping businesses become more energy independent. In addition, the company’s energy services business, Imtech, is one of the largest technical service providers in the UK and Ireland.
EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK, the company employs around 11,000 people at locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.