At a time of great uncertainty and concern about climate change, it behoves us all to do all we can to reduce carbon emissions wherever we can. Of course, reducing our carbon footprint to zero is impossible. But with just a few changes to the way we run our homes, we can, collectively, make a real difference — and perhaps slow down that rate at which climate change progresses.
You don’t need to drastically change your living habits to do your bit, however. Just a few tweaks here and there will make a considerable impact on the net carbon consumption of your home.
1. SWITCH TO ENERGY-SAVING LIGHTBULBS
Perhaps the easiest way to reduce your carbon footprint is to switch to energy-saving, fluorescent bulbs. Not only will doing this drastically reduce the carbon your home consumes, it will save you a considerable amount of money on your electricity bills over the course of a year.
It is thought that a single compact fluorescent lightbulb can reduce carbon emissions by up to 1,300 pounds during its lifetime. This is a staggering statistic, which is why making the switch in as soon as possible should be a priority.
2. STOP LEAVING ELECTRICAL GADGETS IN STANDBY MODE
Leaving satellite receivers, TVs and computers in standby mode when they’re not in use consumes a surprising amount of energy over the course of a year. Switch off your electrical appliances when they’re not in use by fully disconnecting them from the power outlet. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of energy, you could save up to £70 a year on your electricity bill by implementing this change in your home.
3. DITCH THE DESKTOP
The hugely inefficient electrical systems and cooling fans of desktop computers guzzle energy at an incredible rate. If you’re one of the ever-decreasing number of people who still use a desktop computer, switch to a laptop as quickly as you can.
The latest laptops are designed to save energy through efficient batteries and processors. In addition, LCD screens and laptop hard drives are far more efficient than those used by desktops. The average, top-of-the-range laptop is now thought to be 80% more efficient than the average desktop, so making the switch now could make a huge difference to your annual carbon consumption.
4. SWITCH TO ENERGY-EFFICIENT ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES
If you have old electrical appliances in your home, they might be costing you far more than they need to. A series of EU directives and changes to domestic law have forced manufacturers to make their appliances fulfil challenging efficiency targets. You can check the energy efficiency of a new gadget by looking for the ‘energy guide’ on the packaging. This is usually a small diagram with ratings listed as letters — A+++ is highest standard.
Shark vacuum cleaners have been engineered to deliver exceptional energy efficiency — exceeding minimum EU requirements. Indeed, most Shark cleaning tools are A-rated, so you can use them in the knowledge that you’re minimising the resultant carbon emissions.
5. STOP THE DRAUGHT!
The easiest thing you can do to eliminate unnecessary draughts in your home is to close all internal doors and draw the curtains. Investing in some thick, lined curtains that extend all the way to the floor will help you to retain more of the warmth in your home.
Other measures you can take to stop warm air from escaping include using draught excluders on doors, the careful positioning of furniture and ensuring all your external doors and windows are in good working order. Anything you can do to keep your home warmer for longer will help you to make a significant difference to the carbon it consumes.
6. SAVE WATER
The average home uses between 8,000 and 12,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity every year. Just one kilowatt-hours takes around 25 gallons of water to produce, which means up to 300,000 gallons of water are needed simply to supply a home with the energy it needs for a year.
The processes involved in getting clean, drinkable water to your tap involve a huge amount of energy. So, use less water, and you’ll use considerably less energy.
7. PLANT TREES IN YOUR GARDEN
You will probably never be able to reduce your home’s carbon footprint to zero. However, you can mitigate your carbon consumption by planting trees, which absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and create oxygen. A tree can absorb up to 50 pounds of carbon dioxide a year, which may not seem a lot when you consider the average person consumes 20 tons of CO2. However, with a concerted effort to plant trees and forests around the world, we can all play our part in tackling climate change.