We all have a responsibility to reduce our carbon footprint (personal CO2 emissions). Data shows that transport and household emissions account for a significant proportion of UK's CO2 emissions.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Most of these measures will help you save money, too. For more information visit the Energy Saving Trust website (related links, right).
- Replace conventional light bulbs with energy-saving bulbs.
- Low-energy light bulbs last up to 12 times longer than conventional ones. It is estimated that the use of one of these low energy bulbs can help save each UK house £9 and 40kg of CO2 emissions a year.
- Don't leave appliances on standby
- The standby function in most appliances uses about 10-60 per cent of the energy that is needed to power an appliance when in use. You save energy and reduce household emissions when you switch off from the socket.
- Home insulation
- Double-glazed windows help to cut down heat loss and result in energy savings. Also as a cost-saving measure, you can invest in draught excluders for your doors and windows. Investing in loft insulation and cavity wall insulation will help to cut heat loss from your home and reduce your energy bills.
- Recycle and compost more
- These measures help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced from landfill waste. Find out from your local authority what recycling and composting facilities are in place if kerbside collections are not provided. You can also request a full list of items that can be recycled.
- Central heating/hot water boiler checks and replacement
- Old conventional boilers waste about 40% of their heat and need to be serviced regularly. If you can, consider replacing your old boiler for one of the newer energy-efficient condenser boilers which should be fitted by a gas installer registered with the Gas Safe Register.
- Generate your own electricity and heat
- The burning of fossil fuels such as coal and gas to produce mains electricity and heat is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. By installing renewable technologies like solar panels, wind turbines and wood-fuelled heating systems (also called 'biomass systems') you can generate your own energy and heat and significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
- Shop online
- Eat less meat and dairy products
- The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that livestock production (rearing animals for food) is responsible for 14.5 per cent of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of emissions from this sector are from raising cattle for beef and from dairy farms. The Meat Free Monday campaign aims to raise awareness of the environmental and health benefits of reducing meat and dairy consumption, by encouraging people and restaurants to have at least one meat-free day a week.
On the move
- Walk, cycle or use public transport for journeys that don't need a car.
- Take part in a car-sharing arrangement, especially during peak traffic times.
- Consider replacing your car with an electric or hybrid car.
- If you have a petrol or diesel engine car, try and fill up during the cooler hours of the day and keep your fuel-tank lid tightly sealed. This helps to reduce emissions caused by evaporation.
- Accelerate gradually instead of over-revving. Use cruise control when on the motorway.
- Do regular engine tuning and car maintenance, e.g. change your oil filters regularly and repair any fuel leak.