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Scilly Isles get serious about energy saving

  • Story Highlights
  • UK's Scilly Isles take part in a day-long experiment monitoring electricity consumption
  • Islanders being encouraged to switch off all non-essential electrical appliances
  • E-Day is the culmination of a four-day long Earth Summit on the islands
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The days are getting shorter, the nights colder, but that doesn't mean that your electricity bill needs to go through the roof. In a unique experiment, the residents of Britain's Scilly Isles are hoping to show that reducing your electricity consumption doesn't have to be difficult.

The Isles of Scilly is switching off power to promote energy efficiency.

The Isles of Scilly is switching off power to promote energy efficiency.

As part of E-Day, homes, schools and businesses on the Scilly Isles are switching off all non-essential electrical equipment to promote energy saving. The results of the experiment are being posted online in real-time.

E-Day organizer, Matt Prescott said: "The Isles of Scilly are like a miner's canary for the rest of the UK, because of their vulnerability to sea level rise, to violent storms rolling off the Atlantic and to any major changes in the Gulf Stream."

The islands, which lie 28 miles off Land's End, the UK's most westerly point, are connected to the UK mainland by a single electricity cable which means that power usage in the experiment can be measured efficiently.

All of the 2000-strong community who are spread across five islands have been encouraged to join in.

The energy savings made will be compared against the previous day's usage with updates appearing online regularly.

The E-Day Web site keeps track of costs and kWh usage providing up-to-the-minute information about how much electricity is being used in island-wide as well as individually monitoring Five Islands School on St Mary's Island and the electricity consumption of one family.

"We've fitted the family and the school with special energy monitors so they can accurately monitor what appliances use the most electricity," Prescott told CNN.

Studies suggest that families who use these sorts of energy monitors can cut their electricity bills by up to 20 percent.

At the time of writing, the family's consumption had dropped dramatically, down 35 percent on the previous day, which Prescott estimates is a saving of around £300 ($475) on their annual electricity bill.

Sadly the figures for the school and the island as a whole weren't quite so impressive. The school was up six percent on the previous day, while the island as a whole saw a two percent rise in usage.

Prescott put these small rises down to the notoriously fickle British weather. "Yesterday was lovely and sunny," he said. "So far, today it has been rainy."

The damp and gloom have meant more lights being switched on but despite these meteorological setbacks, Prescott remained upbeat about the success of the experiment.

"Before the family left home this morning they turned off everything they could, so their reduction in usage is a fantastic result," he said.

Visitors to the the E-Day Web site can also play the"5 Things" game to find out what all sorts of household appliances cost to run and how much they cost you and the environment.

"The E-Day experiment will hopefully prove that the small things can make a big difference, especially when we work together and try to save energy," Prescott said.

Prescott is also the founder of "Ban the Bulb" -- an energy efficiency campaign which is helping phase out the use of incandescent light bulbs in 30 countries.

The event has been organized as part of a four-day Earth Summit event which has seen the Isles of Scilly play host to fellow islanders from Samoa, The Galapagos Islands, Madagascar and the Carteret Islands -- whose inhabitants are some of the first people being displaced by rising sea-levels.

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