Use energy saving bulbs in all light sockets. These bulbs use one-fifth of the energy of old fashioned incandescent bulbs and last up to ten times longer. The expense of buying the actual bulbs is soon offset by the savings.
If you have an electric hot water tank, ensure that it has a ‘Lagging Jacket’. Your electric hot water cylinder will be one of the largets energy users in the home. They use between 3,000 and 9,000 watts per hour. A lagging jacket cuts up to 75 per cent of your hot water costs, as the energy is retained. Affordable Carbon Free hot water solar panels are available too with grants. Hot Water Solar Panels.
Install radiator reflector foil behind your radiators. This reflects the heat you pay for back into the room, rather than wasting it outside.
Offset your individual CO2 emissions by making an individual donation to a CO2 offset programme such as Climate Care. This service means that you can calculate how much C02 would be used in, for example, your return flight from London to Los Angeles -about 2.6 tons of C02 per person emitted. There is usually an easy-to-use calculator on the offset programme’s website. You can then pay a donation to be invested in reducing that amount of C02 from the environment through tree planting, energy efficiency or renewable energy schemes online.
Do not leave outside lights on unnecessarily. After all, the cat can see in the dark, so why waste lighting when no one is there.
Switch your household electricity supply to a renewable supplier. The renewable electricity supply company Good Energy was judged the best renewable-electricity supplier in the UK by Friends of the Earth for two years in a row. All I had to do to sign up was fill in my account details from my old supplier online, and Good Energy did the rest. They charge a 10 per cent premium on non-renewable energy, which works out at a couple of packets of crisps per week for the average family. I think this is a bargain for a clear conscience about where one’s electricity is coming from.
Check with your manufacturer to see if a savaplug is available for your fridge. This is a small gadget that sends power to the fridge in short bursts, rather than continuously, and can save up to 20 per cent of your fridge’s annual running costs. You put your fridge plug into the Savaplug, which then plugs into the wall socket.
Fill the electric kettle only with the number of mugs of water that you are likely to use. To boil the water for one cup of coffee takes my 2,400 watt kettle one minute. To boil a full kettle (equivalent to nine mugs of coffee) takes it five-and-a-half minutes. The energy wasted boiling the unwanted water is enough to run an energy saving light bulb for nine hours.
Use the appropriate temperature on your washing machine. Many people wash their coloured clothes at too high a temperature. This not only wastes energy but fades the colours faster. A wash at 60°C uses over 30 per cent more electricity than a wash at 40°C. Water that is at a temperature of 30-40°C is more than hot enough for coloured clothes.
Don’t buy too many white clothes and bed linen. These need very high temperatures to get them shining white and often require some form of bleaching which colours do not.
Use a natural option rather than a tumble dryer if at all possible. Tumble dryers are one of the highest energy consumers among domestic appliances. Dry clothes outdoors if you can.
Turn off the oven ten minutes before the food is due to be cooked. The heat in the oven will finish the cooking, EASY
Do not leave appliances such as TV’s on stand-by. It is estimated that 5 to 15 per cent of household electricity consumption worldwide is wasted on stand-by mode. Over £150 million worth of electricity is wasted each year in the UK simply keeping televisions and VCRs on stand-by. If we could eliminate this waste, we could close over one in 20 electricity power stations in the UK – and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) estimates that more than two out of every hundred power stations in western Europe could be closed if stand-by electricity wastage was eliminated.
Set the Thermostat at a level where you are comfortable in winter with a reasonable amount of clothes on. Around 17 – 19oC. Each degree you lower the temperature will save around five per cent of your heating costs. Consider wearing more clothes.
Carefully open the plastic wrappers magazines and other products come in and re-use them as freezer or sandwich bags. Why buy such bags when they are sent to you free?
Rather than buying them, Hire DVD’s and CD’s or lend them or download them. Good for your pocket as well as the environment.
If you do need to buy new products for your home, see if there are good quality ones available second hand. There generally are. Check the classified section of your paper or notice boards in libraries and outside shopping centres, as well as websites such as www.ebay.com as well as finding a cheaper product, you will be helping to reduce the number of products that are dumped unnecessarily because of a lack of a second-hand market.
Sign up with a service that removes you from junk mail databases. In the UK you can simply register online at www.fpsonline.org.uk
Ensure your washing machine and dishwasher are full before using. Why waste up to 70 litres of water and a kWh of electricity to wash one garment?
Avoid unnecessary packaging when shopping. Whether it’s fruit, vegetables, meat or clothes, choose the option with least or no packaging. This will not only reduce the amount of waste leaving your home but will save the resources and pollution involved in manufacturing unnecessary packaging in the first place. Your spending power also communicates itself to the manufacturers, who will see that there is a market for “less wrapped” products. And your shopping becomes easier to carry.
Buy a strong reusable shopping bag rather than using plastic shopping bags. It is estimated that nearly 750 billion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. The vast majority end up in landfill sites. Buying a reusable one involves a small initial financial cost, but it eliminates that mountain of used plastic bags that accumulates in the back of our cupboards.
Before buying something always ask yourself if this is something that you really want, and if you wouldn’t rather spend the money on an experience instead, such as an acupuncture session. Buying an experience rather than a product eliminates the heed for the raw materials used in its production and packaging.
Try to reduce the amount of meat you eat if you’re not vegetarian. It takes six times the amount of land to feed a meat eater than it does to feed a vegetarian. Every kilogram of beef costs oh average: 50-100,000 litres of water, 5,900 joules of energy, 145kg of topsoil loss, 40kg of manure, 11.5kg of C02 equivalent, 10kg grain, 200mg of antibiotics and a range of pesticides. Other meats leave large environmental footprints too. Every little bit you cut down as a meat-eater really does help the environment. And bear in mind that the average meat consumption per person per annum in Nigeria is 6.4kg, in China 23kg, in Canada 65kg and in the US95 kg. In the UK, it is 54kg.
Buy only GM Free Foods. This helps protect the rights of future generations to eat GM free food and reduces the risks to the future of our environment.
Buy locally produced food. This reduces the contribution food miles make to global warming and helps to create a market for organic, locally produced foods.
Eat less fish, or avoid the species that are being over exploited. Many of these – such as Atlantic swordfish, wild Atlantic salmon and North Sea cod – take a long time to reach breeding age and so stocks have been decimated very rapidly. By hot buying them, you are helping to give them a chance to recover in the wild.
Also try to avoid fish such as Tuna, that involve the death of a whole range of other unwanted sea Fish and Mammals. It is how estimated that over 26-million tons of unwanted species of fish and other sea creatures are captured annually in fishing nets and thrown back overboard dead.
Join and organic box scheme and have mixed fruit, vegetables and other organic produce delivered. You should be able to find a scheme that suits you oh the internet. Weekly delivery prices for a mixed box start at around the cost of a nice bottle of wine.
Drink tap water instead of bottled water. If your household consumes two litre bottles per week, ceasing to do so for a year will save enough money to buy a couple of hew pairs of jeans, hot to mention the 104 non-biodegradable plastic bottle mountain that would otherwise be left behind.
Buy a new bag-less vacuum cleaner. By the time the machine wears out, you will have saved enough oh disposable and environmentally unfriendly bags to pay for a hew vacuum cleaner.
Use Organic Tampons. Organic tampons can currently cost nearly twice as much as regular ones, but as well as helping to tackle the awful pollution involved in cotton growing, you are also avoiding putting pesticide-grown materials into your body.
Always buy recycled toilet paper, using precious virgin paper simply to clean our bottoms is really not necessary.
In my local supermarket recycled luxury toilet-paper costs slightly less than the toilet paper made from virgin paper, although the price differential differs from shop to shop. You often have to read the small print though to find out the source of the paper. by buying recycled loo paper, you are helping to create a market for the paper that you recycle.
Avoid buying clothes that need to be dry cleaned. The solvent used in most drycleaning establishments is toxic
Don’t buy any unsustainable produced Mahogany. Often over an acre of precious habitat-rich rain forest is destroyed to get at one Mahogany tree.
Do not buy any uncertified rainforest products for your home. International certification schemes such as the FSC ensure that the wood that you buy is from sustainable sources and is hot the result of rainforest or ancient woodland destruction.
Recycle your old mobile phone. Over 100 million mobile phones are thrown away each year in the US and over 2 million in the UK. Check oh the web for local schemes.
Use environmentally friendly household cleaners. These can cost roughly twice as much as a supermarket brand, but as you only have to buy them occasionally, it is a relatively low price for a clear conscience. Eco-friendly brands often use lemon juice as a base, which is obviously biodegradable and definitely non-toxic.
Switch off computers, photocopiers etc when you leave the office. A low-energy PC,used properly, can be run for one sixth of the cost of a normal machine running 24 hours a day.
Turn off your monitor manually when not using your PC rather than using a screen saver. Screen savers aren’t designed to be energy savers; instead they ensure that your screen doesn’t get damaged by one image being burnt on to it by being left static too long. Screen savers generally only reduce electricity use by 10 watts – ie down from the 120 watts the normal cathode ray screen uses to 110 watts. Regular stand-by if activated properly uses about 30 watts, but turning the monitor off manually saves the full 120 watts.
Buy refilled printer cartridges instead of new ones. All recycling schemes need people to buy the end product as well as actually recycling them in the first place. Both refilled bubble jet and laser cartridges are available. Most companies supplying these offer a guarantee for top quality printing.
Ask your company to choose a pension policy that has environmental and ethical options. Ensures that your money is invested in companies that are environmentally responsible. It is a bit silly ensuring that your own lifestyle is saving the environment if you then help fund companies who are busily damaging it.
Cut down on car journeys, especially short ones. Saves money, and is better for your health and for the environment.
See if your kids school has a walking or cycling scheme instead of the school run. These are schemes in which trained parents collect kids from various comes and walk or cycle them safely to school on a rota instead of using a number of polluting and congestion-causing vehicles.
Only travel by air when absolutely necessary. Aircraft currently account for less than 4 per cent of global climate crisis emissions, but they are the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases and within 10 years the figure is expected to exceed 12 per cent. Since most of the world’s population currently never flies, this means that, for us Westerners, flying accounts for a huge part of our carbon pollution. For example: one return flight to Japan would emit 2.8 tons, whereas a two car UK household on average emits 12.5 tons per annum.
If you do have by plane, consider planting or paying for planting a tree for each journey you take. There are now travel companies that will do this automatically for you. The new trees will help lock up the CO2 released by your journey. Every 1000km flown emits approximately 250kg of CO2 per person.