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Do you know what impact your everyday activities have on the planet? Carbon is a word that we are hearing more of these days but what is it and how does it affect us?
What is a Low-Carbon Life
Every single person on this planet has their own carbon footprint. Your footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide you release into the atmosphere as a result of the activities you undertake.
To live a low-carbon life you need to look at how you can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you personally create. The good news is that there are many ways that you can do this from using an electricity supplier that is backed by low-carbon generation to driving a low emissions car.
Below are 10 ways you can be more carbon responsible at home…
Low Carbon Electricity
It’s important to consider how and where your electricity is generated. Low-carbon power comes from technologies that produce power with lower than average amounts of carbon dioxide emissions.
Low-carbon electricity generation options include wind power, solar power, hydropower and from nuclear power, like EDF’s Blue tariff. EDF has committed to match every unit that their Blue customers use with electricity generated from low-carbon nuclear sources.
Related Post: 5 Best Ways to Power your Home with Renewable Energy
Insulate your Home
Heat loss can be expensive so by ensuring your home is properly insulated you will not only save yourself money but also reduce your carbon footprint. Insulating your loft is a good place to start as it has the maximum impact and it’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save energy.
It’s also worth locating any draughts in your home. Find the draughts and seal them up. There are several ways that you can draught-proof your home including…
- Use self-adhesive foam tape on your windows
- Apply window film to all of your windows
- Use weatherstrips
- Install a letterbox brush
- Buy a draught excluder for the bottom of your front door
- Install a chimney draft excluder
- Use strip insulation around your loft hatch
Get Double Glazing
By installing double glazing in your home you can reduce heat loss by up to 50%. They also reduce noise pollution into your home.
If you can’t get double glazing then hanging thick curtains can also have an impact on heat retention and loss.
Turn your Thermostat Down
Even turning your thermostat down by one degree can save you money, keep your home at a comfortable temperature and use less fuel. The recommended level for a home is between 18-21 degrees.
Using heating controls in your home is a great way to keep track of your heating and help you on your journey to a low-carbon life. There are lots of different types available today designed to suit your individual home.
Related Post: Smart Thermostat: Energy Efficient Heating
Have Low Energy Lightbulbs
Switching to low energy lightbulbs is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon emissions. They use less than 20% of the energy compared to traditional light bulbs. They also last up to 15 times longer.
£1 of every £3 spent on lighting and heating our homes is wasted according to the Department of Environment. Low energy light bulbs do cost more than traditional bulbs, (£3 compared to 50p) but they save you roughly £9 on your annual electricity bill.
Related Post: A Guide to An Energy Efficient Home
By using less water, less energy is needed to produce it. Less energy means fewer carbon emissions.
There are lots of ways you can save water in your home including…
- Turning off the tap while you brush your teeth
- Only filling the kettle with the amount of water you are actually going to use
- Having a shower instead of a bath
- Installing a low flow shower head
- Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern
- Fix leaking taps and drips
Your food travels on average 1,500 miles before it reaches your dinner plate. Buying local food from local suppliers is a great way to reduce your carbon. Not only are you personally travelling less distance to buy your food but you’re also buying produce that has been grown in your area and has travelled less distance to get to the store.
Another benefit of buying food at local markets or stores is that a lot of the food is unpackaged which means less waste. This helps to reduce your impact on the environment even further.
Eat Less Meat
I’m not suggesting that we all become vegetarians but reducing your meat consumption will reduce your carbon footprint. Meat production is one of the biggest contributors to climate change if everyone switched to one meatless meal a week it would have a positive impact.
Food production accounts for up to a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Food needs to be grown, harvested, stored and transported all of which uses energy and produces emissions. Meat production, in particular, produces a lot of carbon.
Choose Quality over Quantity
It’s no secret that we live in a throwaway culture. We’ve got into this awful habit of buying cheap products that don’t last and then we replace them. This may seem like you are saving money but it’s a false economy. By buying better quality products that are built to last we save money in the long run and reduce our impact on the environment.
Change your Car
It’s worth considering changing the car you drive. There is a fantastic range of ultra-low-emission cars these days. Don’t worry if you cant afford an electric car though as even switching to a smaller car (up to a 1.4 litre) can have a huge impact on your carbon footprint.
If you aren’t currently in a position to change your car then it may be worth looking into carbon offsetting.
By making even one small change to our everyday lives can have an impact. If everyone in the world made just one small change we’d be on the right track to saving our planet.
What are your thoughts on living a low-carbon life? Do you know what your current carbon footprint is?
This is a collaborative post with EDF Energy. All thoughts & opinions, as always, are my own