|A woman ignites a gas stove. Britain is the least energy-efficient country in Europe, according to an NGO survey of the habits of 5,000 people across the continent|
Britain is the least energy-efficient country in Europe, according to an NGO survey of the habits of 5,000 people across the continent published Monday.
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) found that Germany was the most energy-conscious nation, based on the average number of wasteful acts committed each week, followed in order by Spain, France, Italy and Britain.
Germany scored 14, Spain 16, France 19, Italy 25 and the UK 32.
EST singled out for criticism Britons' over-dependence on tumble dryers, with 32 percent of them avoiding using a washing line to dry clothes altogether.
Italians are worst in Europe at forgetting to turn off the standby button on electrical appliances -- 80 percent are regular offenders, according to the trust -- while the French are willing to wear a jumper rather than turn up the heating.
Only 16 percent of them turn up the heating at least once a week, the EST said.
But it praised Spaniards for their conscientious use of heating systems, with only 12 percent leaving air-conditioning or heating on when they go out, compared to 28 percent in Britain.
Germans, meanwhile, are virtual paragons of green behaviour. Some 78 percent always turn off their car engines when sitting in traffic jams and 60 percent regularly wash their clothes at an economical temperature of 60 degrees celsius.
The chief executive of the Energy Saving Trust, Philip Sellwood, predicted that unless Britons curb their habits by 2010, they could waste the equivalent of the annual carbon dioxide emissions of seven million homes.