As the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere increase, our planets climate is becoming increasingly unpredictable and the effects of climate change are being made clearer than ever. It’s becoming increasingly important to preserve our resources, reduce our consumption and lower our carbon emissions.
Don’t fret! There are a range of simple things that you could do day to day to reduce your carbon footprint! Many of these things will not only contribute to helping the planet but could also save you lots of money.
Energy Saving Measures
Simple energy efficiency measures around your home can reduce your emissions and lower your energy bills!
- Make sure you have energy efficient LED light bulbs instead of older models such as halogen. They can last twice as long and you can could save around £150 by replacing just one bulb in your home!
- Look for the Energy Star Label when buying new appliances or buy one that has a high energy efficiency rating.
- Using a dishwasher, providing that it is Energy Star certified and on a full load, instead of washing up by hand can use less than half as much energy and saves nearly 5000 gallons of water per year! It can also save you time and can clean dishes better. Also there is no need to pre-rinse, over 6000 gallons of water is wasted per household every year from pre-rinsing – just scrape instead.
- Close curtains over the windows at night to help insulate your room and reduce heat loss, having black out curtains works even better and can reduce heat loss by 25%!
- Fit reflective panels behind radiators. They reflect heat back into the room that would otherwise drift though the wall therefore keeping your home warmer and lowering your heating bills.
- Put a lid on your saucepan, it’ll heat up quicker and therefore use less energy in the process.
- Minimise the time your fridge and freezer doors are open: each minute a fridge door is open it can take 3 energy intensive minutes to cool down. Freezers take half an hour to regain its temperature once a door has been opened for 1 minute!
- A fuller freezer uses less energy than an emptier one as less energy is needed to cool down the warm air that flows in when you open the door. If you can’t seem to fill it up with food, fill in the gaps with newspaper or containers full of water!
- You can save a third of electricity per wash my washing on a full load and using a cooler temperature such as 40°C!
- Keep an eye on your fridge temperature settings, it can be easy to accidentally knock it onto a colder than necessary setting which uses more energy to keep it at that cooler temperature.
- Take part in Earth Hour or better yet, make a conscious decision to turn off all your electronics for an hour a week and spend the time playing board games, having a discussion or just reading a book!
Did you know transport is responsible for around a quarter of the UK’s CO2 emissions? Being more conscious of the environment when travelling can lower your carbon footprint!
- Cycling and walking produces zero emissions and is the most sustainable mode of transport! People in Greater Manchester make around 250 million car journeys of less than a kilometre each year, that’s the equivalent of a 15 minute walk or a 5 minute bike ride.
- Public transport networks are constantly being developed and improved so it is now much easier to travel by public transport than before. Choose this method over car or taxi!
- Switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle, even though they can be more expensive than diesel or petrol vehicles, they have much cheaper running costs saving you money in the long run!
- Keep tyres properly inflated as otherwise it can increase fuel consumption and consequently emissions.
Waste and Consumption
Resources on our planet are running out and some of them are irreplaceable. If everyone in the world lived how we do in the UK, we’d need 3 planets to support us! So reducing our consumption and waste is important for a sustainable future.
- Only buy what you use and need to avoid waste.
- Reduce your meat consumption or better yet, go vegetarian or even vegan! It is estimated 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions is as a result of livestock production.
- Buy organic, locally sourced and seasonal produce whenever possible.
- Grow your own food, it’s much cheaper!
- Be more conscious of the packaging of the products you buy. Avoid buying heavily packaged items and aim to purchase loose fruit and vegetables instead!
- Cook from scratch instead of buying ready meals and processed packaged foods.
- Recycle everything that can be recycled. Check with your local authority for a guide on what can and cannot be recycled in your area.
- Compost your food to produce your own soil and reduce food waste!
- Try to reduce your use of single use products such as cling film, nowadays there are a range of alternatives for these types of products which can not only reduce your waste but also save you money in the long run!
- Many commercial cleaners are full of toxins and polluting substances which are harmful to the environment. Instead, make your own with common household items such as baking soda, lemon juice and vinegar which all have their own cleaning benefits! As an alternative, stick to buying environmentally friendly brands like Method or Ecover.
- Buy a reusable water bottle! The UK use 13 billion plastic bottles every year and only 7.5 billion are recycled, the rest is incarnated or sent to landfill which creates approximately 233,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.
- Take your own reusable bag when going shopping instead of buying a single use plastic bag – keep them in your car or near your front door so you don’t forget them!
Further Ways to Help
There are many other ways that can minimise your impact on the environment for example:
- Buy FSC and Fairtrade products. It means they are both socially and environmentally ethical and take into consideration sustainable production.
- Plant a tree or other forms of vegetation! They can improve air quality, encourage biodiversity and make an area much more appealing. They can also help with the shading and cooling of an area.
- Offset your carbon emissions. This means compensating for the carbon emissions you’ve made by preventing the same amount of emissions from happening elsewhere. You could do this yourself, for example by planting a tree, or by making a donating to a project by an environmental organisation.
- Use search engine Ecosia. This search engine uses the profit made from people making a search to plant a tree where needed most. So far, they have planted over 38 million trees with the number growing every second!
- Take part in Meat Free Mondays – a campaign that raises awareness of the detrimental environmental impacts of eating meat and promotes the health benefits by eating no meat one day a week.
These are only a few of many things that you could do! If you would like further help and advice, go to our energy advice page: www.stockporthomes.org/advice-and-support/my-money/energy-advice/