The average home can reduce both their carbon footprints and fuel bills by adopting a few simple housekeeping measures. Each year the UK wastes around £5 billion worth of energy. (Source: West Midlands Biodiversity Partnership)
Here are a few tips to get you started
Switch off lights in empty rooms
Forgetting to switch lights off when leaving the room costs £1.9 billion worth of electricity each year. 63% of UK consumers admit to doing this at least once a week. This is four times as much as the Germans and nearly twice as much as the French.
Ensure your central heating system is working correctly
Boilers account for about 60% of carbon dioxide emissions in a gas heated house. Installing a new high efficiency condensing boiler with the correct heating controls you could save about £270 per year on your heating bills. Heating controls will keep your home at a comfortable temperature, making it warm when you want it but switching off when you don't. They include: a programmer, a room thermostat, a combined programmable room thermostat, a cylinder thermostat and Thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs).
Turn off mobile phone chargers and other hand-held devices when they are fully charged.
UK households leave their chargers plugged in almost three times as often as German ones, but slightly less than the Italians. If we unplugged our chargers like the Germans do, we could save enough electricity each year to power 115,000 homes. Across the UK, mobile phone chargers left plugged in waste over £60 million and are responsible for a quarter of a million tonnes of CO2 every year. 65% of UK consumers claim to do this at least once a week!
Be efficient when you brew!
Kettles are one of the most used appliances in the kitchen. Energy saving kettles or instantaneous water heaters have to meet strict testing, ensuring that they demonstrate a 20% reduction in energy consumption over that consumed by an average kettle. If every household in the UK used an energy saving kettle, we would save around £170 million of energy a year. This is enough electricity to power over 300,000 homes for a year and enough CO 2 to fill Big Ben tower more than 75,000 times.
Stop the draughts
If you can feel cold air coming in around the windows in your home it means warm air is escaping. In a typical home this heat loss accounts for 20% of the total heat lost. Draught proofing is an easy DIY task that simply fills gaps and decreases the amount of cold air entering your home. By installing draught proofing you could save around £30 a year on your heating bills and reduce your emissions by around 150kg of carbon dioxide (CO 2) each year.
Be green when you print!
Choosing an energy saving inkjet printer over a non-energy saving one can save you a third of the electricity you would normally use running your printer over a year. If everyone buying a new inkjet printer in the UK were to use an Energy Saving Recommended one, they would save over £1.7million a year on electricity bills, and nearly 6,000 tonnes of CO 2, equivalent to taking over 2,000 cars off the UK's roads.
Use green energy!
Many energy companies seek to support renewable energy by offering more sustainable alternatives funds to their customers. With a green tariff the supplier matches the energy you use with energy generated from sustainable sources such as wind farms or hydroelectric power. Your supplier should tell you which renewable sources are used and what proportion of the supply is renewable.
Green funds generally entail the consumer paying a little more for their electricity to contribute to a fund that will be used to support new renewable energy developments. Your exiting electricity supply will continue as normal however the funds help develop future sources of renewable energy.
(Source: Energy Saving Trust)