Helen Skelton, together with Smart Energy GB, is encouraging everybody this summer to get a smart meter. Celebrating communities across Great Britain who are creating a more sustainable future, the new index from Smart Energy GB - 'Areas for a Beautiful Future' - is recognising families and communities who are taking simple and positive steps to pave the way for a greener, smarter future for everyone.

We got the chance to have a quick chat with Helen Skelton all about her sustainability tips, as well as her career to-date, and more!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Something exciting. I liked the idea of being a pilot, but my eyes are terrible.

How did you get your break?

I started in local radio after a friendly sports journalist agreed to let me shadow him and do work experience. From there he helped me get my foot in the door. His name is Mark Macalindon. He’s still a journalist now.

What has been your career highlight so far?

The Rio Olympics. Nothing unites a country like sport and I was lucky enough to be involved in the swimming coverage. The team were winning, performing and the atmosphere was unreal. I was lucky to be part of that.

What are you working on right now?

Lots of different things, my main focus is working with Smart Energy GB, celebrating the small steps people are taking towards a sustainable future, such as getting a smart meter installed. If everyone makes a little effort, here and there, we can make a huge difference and hopefully protect and preserve our glorious planet.

What does sustainable living mean to you?

For me it’s about being aware of the things we eat and use and knowing where they come from and where they are going. It’s about showing an interest in where everything comes from and understanding the consequences of using it. It’s about thinking of the small ways you can use less natural resources, use more renewable energy, and recycle, reuse. There are lots of ways you can do this and apply to your everyday life. When we think about sustainable living, people usually think big but that shouldn’t always be the case. I’m passionate about creating a sustainable future for our planet and encouraging people to appreciate the small steps we can all take to achieve that, such as recycling and getting a smart meter installed. Small steps that people take can collectively make a big difference.

How can people live more sustainably?

There are a few simple things people can do. These are some of the things I do in my home:

  • I’m always conscious about keeping an eye on my fridge. An empty fridge uses more energy than a full fridge. Even if you fill empty space with bottles of tap water – this is one small thing I had no idea about before working on this campaign! Now that I know, it’s one small step that I’m taking all the time.
  • We have a smart meter, which is another example of a small step that everyone can take hey to contribute to a more sustainable future for everyone. You can see your energy usage in near-real time which can nudge you to make small changes to be more energy efficient. Smart meters are an essential upgrade to our grid, creating a greener, more efficient smart grid that will lead to cleaner air, use of less fossil fuels and ultimately, protect our environment. It’s so easy to do, just contact your energy supplier to request yours
  • I’m very aware of food waste and I’m teaching the children the importance of this too. I’ve found a fun way to do this is to regrow vegetables from old scraps – so either using potato peelings with lots of eyes, lettuce stems or tomato seeds. It’s also fun for the children to track the progress too.
  • Another way we try to save energy in our home is by using a slow cooker. It’s so easy to whip up delicious meals with minimal effort. I just chuck everything in before we head out to watch Ritchie play rugby and by the time we get home, it’s ready for us to tuck into. Less mess and stress!
  • Upcycling is one of my new favourite hobbies. I repainted an old wooden chair at home, which we’d debated throwing out and even got the kids to help. A fun, but messy, couple of hours over the weekend. My next project is to turn our old metal BBQ into a herb garden.

Who do you consider good role models in the media?

Julia Bradbury. Charlotte Smith. Alastair Humphreys. Gaby Roslin.

What advice would you give to anyone aspiring to work in the TV industry?

Develop a thick skin. You’re entering a world where people judge you on your hair, skin, accent, background and you have to be okay about that.

What are your next big plans?

I want a small holding - I grew up on a farm and I miss the space. I am selling the idea to my family by saying “imagine if we could be self-sufficient.” It’s a long way off and will require a lot of money and elbow grease but I am working on it.

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