How eco-friendly is your home? 27% of the UK's total greenhouse gas emissions comes from the home so this is a sector that clearly needs to be addressed and instead of relying on the government to take the lead we as homeowners need to take some initiative and make a few small changes ourselves to ensure that the UK reaches its emissions reduction target and sets a good example for the rest of the world to follow. At the moment we are greatly lagging behind the Scandinavian and Germanic countries so we need to act now.
Within our homes there are several key sectors that contribute most to our carbon footprints. These are heating, electronic appliances and waste. Heating accounts for around 60% of the carbon emissions from the home. This is due to inefficient boilers and poor insulation. If everyone in the UK switched to an energy-efficient condensing boiler with a full set of heating controls, we would save enough energy to heat almost two million homes for a year and save almost seven million tonnes of CO2.
If you are still using an old boiler it is about time you upgraded, but make sure you choose an energy provider that is doing its bit to help the environment too, so your good measures are complimented by its green initiatives. British Gas for example is offering money off new energy-efficient boilers and it will invest £750 million in sustainable energy and £1.5 billion in wind farms over the next five years and under their recent energy efficiency commitment, it invested over £96 million on subsidising products such as cavity and loft insulation for around 2.5 million homes. Take a look at the British Gas website for more information on the greenest gas supplier in the country.
Electrical products are very wasteful, particularly when left on standby – over £910 million is wasted in the UK just because we leave things on standby. By switching to energy efficient versions you will not only save money as they require less power but less greenhouse gases will be emitted when they are turned on. For example, if everyone in the UK upgraded their fridges and freezers to energy efficient products we would cut our energy usage, saving over £700 million and the equivalent CO2 emissions of nearly half a million homes.
Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in the dustbin could be recycled. Recycling can make a big difference. Not only does it reduce the amount of waste put into landfill giving off harmful gases such as methane, if recycled correctly, it can be turned back into energy. One recycling tin can will save enough energy to power a TV for three hours! By making small changes to your lifestyle and appliances you can have a bit impact on climate change.