Do you worry about your energy consumption? Would you like to try to make an impact on global climate change? Here are some simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
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What is your carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact that we have on the environment in terms of greenhouse gases, typically measured in units of carbon dioxide (CO2). CO2 is probably the most widely known and is generated through the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and also deforestation.
Other greenhouse gases include: methane, generated from landfills and agriculture; Nitrous oxide, produced by industry and the burning of fossil fuels; Tropospheric ozone, created by the reaction between sunlight and pollutants such as those from vehicles; and Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)– chemicals used in refrigeration and air conditioning.
Most of these gases are naturally occurring, but due to our lifestyles over the last 100 years or so, have increased at worryingly high levels causing global warming. According to research by the Met Office, last year was the warmest since records began and experts are blaming this largely on the increase in these gases.
By measuring your individual or family′s carbon footprint, you can assess your lifestyle and highlight areas that need to be improved. It may simply be a case of washing clothes on a cooler setting or as dramatic as ditching the car and walking to work.
Research carried out by the Energy Saving Trust shows that as a nation we waste a huge amount of energy. 71% of us are guilty of leaving appliances on standby and 63% of us forget to turn lights off in unoccupied rooms. So simply by breaking our bad habits we could easily reduce our carbon footprint. Here’s an online carbon footprint calculator you can use.
Whether its a tentative step or one giant leap, we all need to start reducing our carbon footprint for our homes.
So how exactly do our day-to-day lives affect the global environment and what can we do to reduce our impact?
The amount of electricity we consume and waste we produce all add up to create a carbon footprint and its this that we should be looking at reducing. Like charity, being environmentally friendly begins at home.
Simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint
These will start to reduce your contribution to global warming. The items in this list will cost you no money at all and will in fact save you money.
- Sign up to a green energy supplier, who will supply electricity from renewable sources (e.g. wind and hydroelectric power) – this will reduce your carbon footprint contribution from electricity to zero
- Turn it off when not in use (lights, television, DVD player, Hi Fi, computer etc. etc. …)
- Turn down the central heating slightly (try just 1 to 2 degrees C)
- Turn down the water heating setting (just 2 degrees will make a significant saving)
- Check the central heating timer setting – remember there is no point heating the house after you have left for work
- Fill your dish washer and washing machine with a full load – this will save you water, electricity, and washing powder
- Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need
- Unplug your mobile phone as soon as it has finished charging
- Defrost your fridge/freezer regularly
- Do your weekly shopping in a single trip
- Hang out the washing to dry rather than tumble drying it
- Go for a run rather than drive to the gym
You might also enjoy reading Top Tips for Energy Conservation for Your Family
Over to you now. Any other tips for how to reduce your carbon footprint? Tell us in the comments below.