Ten things you can do at home to cut your carbon footprint
With home working fast becoming established as the normal way of working for many people, here are ten simple things you can do to help the environment and reduce carbon emissions from your own home.
1) Unplug your electronics – a simple but effect measure you can take right away. Try to build a habit around unplugging your devices when you are not using them and it will save you money on your electricity bills.
2) Use windows to regulate temperature – keep your doors and windows closed properly to avoid the loss of heat during the colder months and open the windows during the warmer months. The fresh air will keep you cool and will decrease stagnant air particles (indoor air is often significantly more polluted than the air outside). The use of fresh air to cycle through your home will also reduce the costs of running air conditioners if you have them.
3) Switch to LED light bulbs – simple and effective. LED technology is so efficient that one lightbulb can last as long as 22 years or 25,000 hours and uses 70-90% less energy than a standard bulb, thus limiting the need to burn that much more fossil fuels. If every household in the UK replaced just one light bulb we would save enough energy to light thousands of homes for a whole year.
4) Consider switching energy suppliers – choosing to switch to 100% renewable power isn't just a 'feel good' thing to do, it's something that has a positive impact on the environment and will benefit the whole planet. Nowadays it’s a simple process to switch and the money you spend on electricity will also fund investment in green infrastructure. Simply search ‘switch to renewable energy’ on a search engine for further information - there may even be a local community scheme you can participate in.
5) Leave the car at home – personal car usage often accounts for the largest portion of a household’s carbon emissions. Wherever possible, and if it safe to do so, try to walk or cycle to your destinations. You’ll reduce your fuel costs and increase your fitness, a win-win situation.
6) Eat less meat – switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet could make as much as a 20% difference to your overall carbon footprint. Cows and sheep emit huge quantities of methane, a powerful global warming gas, as do the farming techniques used to rear the animals. Even by cutting one meat dish a week you will be reducing your environmental impact.
7) Consume less – this sounds too obvious however by simply buying less you will lower your carbon footprint. For example, if you buy a cotton t-shirt the energy used to manufacture and transport it to your home could equal your household’s electricity for up to a month. Buying fewer and unnecessary items will help limit your effect on the environment and will of course save you money.
8) Avoid plastic - plastic is one of the greatest environmental concerns, not only does it pollute the earth’s oceans and waterways it also requires fossil fuels for its production, thus stimulating climate change. You can reduce your plastic consumption by buying reusable shopping bags, avoid single use plastic cutlery and switching to centralised cleaning dispensers. Small changes that benefits many.
9) Grow your own produce - growing food in your garden is a satisfying and rewarding way to reduce your household carbon footprint. In the long term you will save money, spend quality time outdoors, and grow produce higher in nutrients than what you would buy at the supermarket. Tomato plants are a great start, with delicious results.
10) Grow house plants - house plants reduce carbon dioxide levels, increase humidity, reduce levels of pollutants, reduce dust and keep temperature down. People who are surrounded with plants throughout the day and at home are proven to be less stressed, more productive, and all around happier.
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