With climate change and the consequences of carbon emissions being discussed more and more frequently. It’s now come to a point when even the most reluctant environmentalists are asking themselves how we can reduce waste and save energy at home, and with energy prices raising this is a greater concern than ever. For someone new to green behaviours, switching to renewable energy and using only local and ethically produced products are daunting first steps, but taking baby steps to reduce our waste and improve our energy efficiency may be the best start to going green. Here are a few tips to help start you off.
1. A lot of heat is lost through windows and doors, so if you don’t have double glazing, place draught excluders or weather stripping to fill around windows and doors. You could also opt for some insulating honeycomb or cellular blinds; their honeycomb structure traps air, and keeps rooms warm in the winter and cool in the summer. These blinds are specifically designed to keep heat in a room, but any heavy window coverings will do the job – just make sure you keep them open while the sun is shining to let it warm the room, and close them before it gets dark so the heat can’t escape!
2. Try and cut your water consumption down by taking baths instead of showers and making them as short as possible. Little things like turning the tap off when brushing teeth or doing dishes can add up and make a difference, too, but the simplest way to save water by far is to put a “water saver” in your toilet cistern. You’ll use up to half a gallon less water per flush. Water companies will usually provide you with a water saver if you ask, but if not, an unused brick or a plastic container with a lid, filled with stones or gravel, will do the same job.
3. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Standard light bulbs have just gone out of production (in the EU at least), so this is about to get far easier! They might be slightly more expensive, but they more than pay for themselves over their lifetime in terms of energy costs. Don’t just rely on energy saving light bulbs and energy efficient appliances to cut down on your electricity consumption, though. Basics such as turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use, and not leaving things on standby or unused chargers plugged in can all make a massive difference.
4. Recycle or re-use left-over packaging and containers whenever you can, and try to avoid buying excessively packaged goods in the first place. Use a lunchbox instead of buying pre-packing sandwiches or wrapping everything up in disposable cling-film. And if possible, bring your own mug and coffee to work to avoid endless plastic and paper cups that just end up in the bin- you’ll notice the difference in your wallet as well!
5. Keeping the heating on a low setting (if it’s on at all) can go a long way to saving energy and money, and doing the same with the hot-water thermostat on your boiler is a lesser-known way of reducing your energy consumption. Having the hot water temperature anywhere above 140F is a waste of energy as your boiler has to work harder to keep it hot, and turning it down means your baths and showers will be a far more pleasant temperature.
Image credit: Master isolated images/FreeDigitalPhotos.net