Reducing Your Carbon Footprint

We all produce carbon emissions by driving, heating/cooling our homes, watching TV and even eating. An average person in the UK produces more than 11.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is over 15 percent more than an average European as most EU countries produce less than 10 tonnes of CO2 per person. But it also means that we are still far from reaching the UK Government’s goal to produce no more than 3 tonnes of CO2 per person by 2050. It is impossible to reduce your carbon footprint to zero but there are ways to reduce it to the minimum.

Here is how you can make the most difference:

Turn down your heating thermostat. The UK households emit most carbon emissions by heating and as a result, you can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint by turning down your heating thermostat for one degree. You won’t be any colder but you will dramatically reduce your energy consumption as well as lower your energy bills.

Insulate your home and replace poorly sealing windows. Inadequate insulation and poorly sealing windows a major energy loss because in order to keep your home warm, you need to keep your heating thermostat at a considerably higher temperature. During the summer, on the other hand, you need to run your air conditioner longer and at a lower temperature. Speaking about air conditioning, you can make a big difference in terms of reducing your carbon footprint by increasing the temperature for one or two degrees on your air conditioning temperature settings.

Buy home appliances wisely and use them wisely too. It is highly important to watch for energy efficiency when buying new home appliances because the more efficient they are, the less carbon dioxide they emit. But you can have the most energy efficient appliances available and you won’t significantly lower your energy consumption if you don’t use them wisely. So wash you laundry only when the washing machine is fully loaded, don’t place refrigerator next to the oven, used correct size pots on the burners, etc. Also, don’t leave your TV and other electronic devices on the standby mode but turn them off completely. A 2006 study has shown that devices on standby mode account for up to 8 percent of domestic electricity consumption in Britain.

Drive economically. The less petrol you burn the less carbon and other greenhouse gases you emit while driving. To learn how to reduce your carbon footprint without giving up your vehicle, please read our article “Ways to Save Energy on the Road”.

Recycle and buy recycled. It is not just the energy we consume that determines our personal carbon footprint but the choices we make as well. For example, a lot less energy is needed to recycle materials such as paper, aluminium, glass and other recyclables than for production of virgin materials. Choose local carpet cleaning and curtain cleaning services rather than buy new. So sort your waste and buy recycled products whenever possible. Also, donate old clothing, toys, pieces of furniture, etc. rather than throwing them away. Besides reducing your carbon footprint, you will also help people who are less fortunate than you and I.