It’s been a while since the intricacies of climate change and long-term consequences of carbon emissions were reserved for scientists and experts, and these concepts are now discussed readily by the general public. This combined with the fact that energy prices are spiralling and waste is fast getting out of hand, means that even those who were usually reluctant to be involved with any sort of green activities are now seeking out ways to save. A move in this direction can be intimidating for some, but by taking small steps towards a bigger impact on the environment and your wallet is an easy way to get started.
1. As many people probably already know, windows and doors are the main offenders when it comes to heat loss in the home, but it isn’t always essential to invest in double glazing if it’s an option that is simply not viable. Draught excluders, silicon insulation and weather stripping will all help, and another year-round solution is honeycomb or cellular blinds, which act like a flask in that they keep heat in rooms during the winter, and out during the summer. The structure inside traps air, and as long as you remember to open them during daylight hours and close them before dusk, heat energy should be kept in the room.
2. When it comes to saving water, it’s the little things that count. Turning the tap off whilst brushing your teeth and washing pots adds up, and putting a ‘water saver’ in the toilet cistern can save nearly half a gallon per flush. Your water company may send you one if you ask, but a house brick or Tupperware container with a lid filled with pebbles or stones will have the same effect. Another big one is taking baths instead of showers – but only really if you have a power shower.
3. Switching to energy saving light bulbs is not only an easy change of shopping habits, but will also pay for themselves over their lifetime in electricity costs, outweighing their original higher price compared to standard light bulbs. Another rarer occasion to save energy is making sure that any new appliances you decide to buy have a good energy efficient rating, which is nowadays prominently displayed. And lastly there are of course the old favourites of energy saving, like turning off the lights and appliances when not in use, making sure electrical goods aren’t left on standby, and turning off plug sockets when not in use.
4. Make sure that all left-over packaging is either recycled or re-used, and avoid buying goods that over-use packaging in the first place. In order to save on packaging and money, bring a lunchbox and flask to work instead of wrapping up in cling-film and using paper cups that end up in the landfill.
5. Turning the thermostat down just a few degrees on both the central heating and water heater are two ways of cutting down your energy consumption, , as anything above 140F on your water heater is wasting energy by making your boiler work unnecessarily hard.