A survey carried out in 2020 identified that two in three of us worry about climate change. But only one in five of us knows what to do about it. In this article, I’ll delve deep to find five ways to reduce your carbon footprint at home.
Carbon emission is a hot topic, going hand-in-hand with climate change discussions. But what exactly are carbon emissions?
When we talk about carbon here, we’re specifically talking about carbon dioxide (CO2). In nature, CO2 enters the environment in many ways. It’s in the ocean and atmosphere. And it comes from animals, plants and even the death process. This is completely natural: Carbon circulates through the air, soil and water, keeping everything in balance.
But human behaviour disrupts this balance. Extracting, refining, transporting, and burning fossil fuels releases extra carbon (and other greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere. And not only that. We chop down CO2-absorbing trees and replace them with agriculture and housing developments. Destroying these forests disrupts the natural systems that absorb and store oxygen.
What is a carbon footprint?
Your carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (not just CO2) generated by your actions. When you reduce your carbon footprint at home, you’re helping make the world a better place. You’re helping clean the air, water and food. And you’re sending out the message that you care about future generations.
There are loads of things you can do to reduce your energy use. So let’s discover five easy ways to lower your carbon footprint in the comfort of your own home. Chances are, they’ll probably save you money too.
Turn down the heating
Around 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from our homes. Things like heating, appliances and lighting all contribute to carbon emissions. That’s why you should always unplug unused gadgets. And familiarise yourself with the timer so you only use heating when you need it.
If you lower your temperature by just one degree, you could save up to £80 per year! One degree might sound small, but it can make a big difference. Personally, I’ve combatted this by using a hot water bottle in the autumn—I promise you, it’s really cosy!
Use LED lights
LEDs use 85% less energy than standard lights. On average, 5% of our electricity bill is for lighting. Changing to LED bulbs reduces your carbon footprint and saves you money.
Insulate your home
Insulating your house is a great investment. The government provides insulation grants and paybacks. But if you still can’t afford it, there are other tricks to make your place warmer. Line your windows with thick curtains and insulate your floor with blankets and rugs.
And to keep those draughts out, keep your doors closed, use draft excluders and put lining strips around your windows.
Switch to renewables
Several energy providers offer renewable energy tariffs in the UK. Pure Planet and Octopus are just two examples. But for an extensive list of providers, go to myenergi.com. Switching to solar, wind, or hydroelectric energy will reduce your household emissions in the long run and save you money on bills.
Use less water
Processing and delivering and heating water takes energy and resources. But it’s easy to save water. Turn off taps when brushing your teeth, have shorter showers and reduce the number of baths you have. You can even use bathwater or cooking water (where appropriate) to water your plants.
While big corporations must take responsibility for the majority of carbon emissions, we as consumers can still do our bit. If each of us reduces our energy consumption, even a little, that would add up to a huge reduction in our carbon emissions.