Is Green Lane a bit of a green wash?

Mon Dec 1, 2008 8:55am EST
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By Nick Rosen

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A 34-year old housewife from the Northern English city of Leeds has become the unlikely star of a campaign by British Gas to reduce home energy consumption.

Rebecca Neysari, who lives on the appropriately named Green Lane in Leeds, was one of a group of residents on streets with the name green in them, selected by the energy company for an energy reduction competition which was launched with a fanfare earlier this year.

"We've been turning lights off, installing the efficient light bulbs, put foil behind the radiators, and turned the central heating down low," said Neysari, who lives with her husband and two young children.

"Now I wear cardigans over my t-shirt," she said.

"I use lids on the saucepans when I am cooking vegetables so I use less gas. I use the top oven -- the little oven -- more, and I try to dry my washing on the clothes horse - not the tumble drier."

As a result the Neysaris have slashed their in-home energy consumption by more than anyone else on Green Lane - 53.7 percent over the past nine months -- not quite in line with the 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions which environmental campaigners say is necessary, but impressive nonetheless.

Or is it?

The Neysari family were given over 8,000 pounds ($12,340) worth of energy improvements by British Gas. The company gave a total of 30,000 pounds of improvements to the eight houses they selected on Green Lane.   Continued...

<p>An energy saving light bulb is illuminated within a lamp shade in an office in London January 5, 2008. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor</p>