WREN was the subject of a tweet a while back, from a Richard Waters who said: ‘@wrenuk So much for saving energy - having a TV on 24/7 in your shop window is hardly "green" #practisewhatyoupreach.’ Do you know what? I don't agree.
There’s a few assumptions buried in that tweet and therefore a few reasons to dissent once you unpack those assumptions. If you take Mr Waters’ argument just a little bit further, you could say that if WREN were to undertake no activity whatsoever, it could save even more energy. But then, the people WREN has helped to install zero-cost home insulation over the last few months quite likely wouldn’t have heard about this government scheme and would still be wasting energy through their badly insulated roofs and walls. Not to mention all the others WREN has previously helped with insulation, home solar panels and biomass boilers. I reckon that a house properly insulated because someone saw the offer on WREN’s TV when they passed by would ‘pay’ for running that TV for many a night.
The second reason is that WREN does not preach energy reduction as an end in itself. It doesn’t like wasting energy (who does?), but our society relies on energy usage and WREN has never preached the collapse of civilisation as a means of ‘saving the planet’. WREN’s thrust is about using renewable energy – and particularly community-owned renewable energy – rather than fossil fuels to do the things you and society want and need to do, be they social, domestic, charitable, or commercial. There isn’t a unified hair-shirt ‘green agenda’ to which all groups with ‘renewable’ in their name have to sign up. WREN exists to help people, not stop them doing things.
As it happens – actually, not as it happens, but by deliberate choice – WREN’s electricity supply comes wholly from renewable sources, but that would not make it okay to waste. A turbine turning in the darkness is saving that little bit of gas from being burnt and that little bit of CO2 being emitted.
The writer, Kevin Smith, is the communications director of WREN, but the views and opinions expressed in this blog are his own and should not be interpreted as the views of WREN.