Carbon dioxide emissions that are released when we burn fossil fuels such as petrol, gas, oil and coal are having an alarming impact on climate change. Global warming is an important environment issue that affects everyone and it is becoming apparent that unless measures are taken to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, climate change will only worsen.
Our carbon footprint is the amount, in tonnes, of carbon dioxide leaked into the atmosphere by heating our homes and powering our cars, thereby contributing to global warming. On average, each person in the UK creates around fourteen tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year. Now is the time to make some vital lifestyle changes in order to reduce our carbon footprint.
Know your stuff
Most homes and businesses will have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). An EPC will clearly display how energy efficient the building is on a scale from A (very efficient) to G (not very efficient) and will contain information regarding energy costs. An EPC will also provide recommendations on how to improve energy efficiency.
Smart meters are another effective way to keep track of energy usage within the home. The government-backed scheme to put a smart meter in every home and business by 2020 means that each property will have a display device showing how much energy is being used, when it is being used and how much it costs. Able to provide real-time information and past usage figures, smart meters will enable everyone to see exactly where energy is being used and will assist in helping us to reduce both emissions and utility bills.
Start at home
The average household is responsible for ten tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year, with heating being the main cause. By making energy efficient changes in our homes, this can be dramatically reduced. Wall and loft insulation is a good place to start, as almost a quarter of the heat produced in our homes will escape through the roof. Loft insulation lasts for up to forty years and will save you a lot of money in energy costs. Wall insulation is also recommended as the average household could save up to £140 every year. Double-glazing is another energy efficient way of keeping the heat inside and taking care of any draughts will also help.
Use energy efficient light bulbs and only heat and light the rooms in the property that are being used. Switching plugs off at the wall and investing in energy efficient appliances will also contribute to reducing your carbon footprint. Other ways of creating an eco-friendly home are using your washing machine at only 30°c, making your own compost, growing your own fruits and vegetables and recycling your waste properly.
Leave the car at home
There is estimated to be one car for every two individuals in the UK. With each car averaging around nine thousand miles each year, it is little wonder why carbon dioxide emissions from cars and other vehicles contribute so greatly to our carbon footprint. The best solution would be to leave the car at home, however, that is not always a feasible option. Take care to drive safely as this will reduce fuel consumption, keep up-to-date with your car maintenance so it performs to its optimum best and where possible, take part in car share schemes when travelling to work and social events. Cycling is a more eco-friendly way to travel and helps to keep you active. If the journey is a short one, leave the car at home and walk.
Become energy efficient today
As climate change is a very real and serious threat to the survival of our planet, it is up to each of us to play our own individual part in reducing our carbon footprint. By making small lifestyle changes today, we can help to save tomorrow.
About our guest…
Sarah Rill is a freelance writer who covers climate change and other environmental issues.