Climate change is a pressing issue for the planet, and it means we’re paying more attention than ever to our individual carbon footprint.
The UK is currently working towards a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, and we’re all playing our part to reach this goal. In our personal lives, one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases is our homes.
Household emissions contribute around 15 of the UK’s total carbon footprint. The good news, however, is that there are many things we can do to lower our homes’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Here, we discuss easy and cost-effective ways to make your home greener.
4. Don’t leave appliances on standby
We’ll start with an oldie but a goodie. Energy Saving Trust found that between 9 per cent and 16 per cent of UK household energy usage is from devices plugged in on standby.
It is estimated that this could be costing us around £86 (€100) a year. By switching off your appliances when you’re not using them, you’re not only making a positive impact on the environment, but you’re also saving money.
This research also found that the older an appliance is, the less energy efficient it is. If you’re on a budget, replacing all your devices such as kettles, TVs, and speakers probably isn’t possible.
Simply unplugging them – or, better yet, switching the plug off when they’re not in use – is an easy way to make a difference.
3. Consider your fuel sources
We know that some fuel sources are more environmentally friendly than others. What you might not know is that a home emits an average of 2.7 tonnes of CO2 a year solely from heating. That’s a lot of greenhouse gas.
New build homes will be required to fit a non-gas boiler from 2023 as part of the gas boiler ban. While there’s currently no ban on gas boilers in existing homes, we may see this implemented in the future on the roadmap to net-zero emissions.
Electric boilers are significantly more eco-friendly because they don’t burn fossil fuels in order to create heat. This is hugely beneficial to the environment. What’s more, electric boilers are extremely energy-efficient. Most will have an energy efficiency rating of 99 per cent, which is better than any gas boiler.
If your gas boiler is coming to the end of its life, now is the time to consider an environmentally friendly alternative. However, if you’re not in a position to do that right now, ensuring you have it regularly serviced by a Gas Safe boiler engineer will ensure it’s as energy-efficient as possible.
2. Think about energy efficiency everywhere
Your boiler isn’t the only thing in your home that you can make more energy efficient. In the same way that your heat source impacts how energy efficient your home is, so does your home’s insulation.
A report from Nottingham Trent University and the IET found that insulating homes in the UK is critical if we’re to meet our target of net-zero emissions. Insulation will not only save you money by trapping heat inside your home, but it will also prevent greenhouse gases from leaking out into the environment.
Energy efficiency can also be applied to some of your other key household appliances. If you use your washing machine more efficiently and fill it effectively instead of running multiple small loads, you’ll use significantly less energy and water. Similarly, if your home has a dishwasher, don’t switch it on until it’s full.
1. Make your home green…literally
If you’ve followed these tips, you’ll have dramatically reduced your home’s greenhouse gas emissions. Now, what about putting something good into the environment?
If you have a garden, plants and flowers that positively contribute to the ecosystem work best. Flowers that provide pollen to bees, like foxgloves and lavender, are a great additional way to contribute to the environment. Bonus points if you have some holly plant hedging around for small wildlife to make a habitat in.
Inside your home, we recommend choosing plants with the best oxygen-boosting benefits. Spider plants are common in the UK, and for good reason. Not only do they produce plenty of clean oxygen, but they can also help remove harmful gases including formaldehyde and carbon monoxide.
Aloe vera is another great choice, especially for your bedroom because it produces oxygen overnight. As well as clearing the air of benzene and harmful aldehydes, its gel can be used for anything from skincare to wound healing.
The fight against climate change is one we all need to play our part in. Our homes emit a lot of greenhouse gases, but there are ways we can not only reduce these harmful emissions but also introduce cleaner oxygen.
An added bonus of making your home greener is that you’ll save on a lot of unnecessary costs too – win-win.