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Are TV soaps setting a good energy efficiency example?

British soaps are well-known for supporting charitable and humanitarian causes through storylines and canny advert-placements – but where do our fictitious friends stand on home energy efficiency?

Well if no-one else was thinking it, consultants TheGreenAge certainly are, and they’ve produced some analysis of the homes and energy behaviours seen in Eastenders, Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks – a ‘virtual Green Deal Assessment’, no less.

Going against the traditional grain of soap storylines, let’s start with the good news. The best energy performer was Tony Hutchinson and his 1980s flat in Hollyoaks, with modern insulation and heating following renovation after a fire in 2010 – to bring things back to a more predictable drama. Tony’s place scores 7/10 and gains an EPC rating of C, so say the virtual experts.

Solidly in lower-mid table in the energy soap saga were Tyrone and Fiz’s mid-terrace property on Corrie and Debbie Dingle’s Emmerdale cottage. Both received a relatively lowly 4/10 for energy efficiency efforts and a D on their EPC, but the cottage had further to go in terms of potential improvements and higher estimated bills by almost £1,000, due to the hard-to-treat nature of the property. Green Deal and ECO support would certainly provide a lifeline here. The mid-terrace also had the potential option of solar gains from a south-facing roof.

So, to the worst offender – Dot Branning’s mid-terrace at 25 Albert Square in Eastenders. With an old boiler, no insulation, a draughty door and no insulation, Dot really seems to be putting her fingers in her ears in the face of rising energy costs.

So, there it is: adequately heated in Hollyoaks and energy inefficient in the imagined East End. It’s possible lots of you are already significantly outperforming the characters of our most-loved TV serials, but if you’d like to improve on your real-world energy issues, start with some free advice.

Gary Hartley is Energy Saving Trust's expert blogger. He has extensive experience researching and writing on a number of topics, with particular expertise in sustainable energy, policy, literature and sport. As well as providing regular blog content, Gary has also been published in numerous magazines and journals.

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