Climate change - what you can do
There are lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint in order to tackle the Climate Emergency. In fact, lifestyle changes can make a big difference and so we want to help everyone in the borough take action to tackle climate change.
Some of these steps are very easy and/or cheap, and plenty can even save you money as well. Others are bigger and more challenging changes.
Why not start off by calculating your existing carbon footprint to see the current ‘hotpots’ in your lifestyle. The button below links to a carbon calculator, although there are a number of other calculators available.
Top tips to reduce your carbon footprint and save money
- Travel by public transport
Do you really need to jump in the car for that short journey? Could you travel by public transport instead?
- Walk or cycle
Did you know that car drivers are exposed to twice as much air pollution as pedestrians and nine times more than a cyclist? Could you get yourself some exercise and fresh air and walk or cycle?
Cycling is not only a fun, sociable and healthy activity - it can help you save money on fuel and parking costs while reducing your carbon footprint. Or you could consider an ebike.
A third of our daily journeys take us less than a mile away and walking them can improve our physical and mental health.
- Go electric
If you do need to drive have you considered an electric vehicle? They are cheaper to run, you can charge from home or from one of the charge points around the borough or you could encourage your employer to install one.
- Car share
Car sharing can be great for regular journeys to the same destination, such as the work commute or the school run.
It can save money by sharing costs, as well as reducing traffic by reducing the number of vehicles on the road and
Fewer vehicles reduces pollution, both air pollution and greenhouse gases.
- Flexible working
If your company allows working from home this is a fantastic way to cut personal carbon emissions in travel and save on commuting costs.
- Fly less
Flying has a particularly high impact because emissions at a high altitude have an increased impact. A single transatlantic flight will generate more emissions than average citizens in some developing nations emit in a year.
For work, this could mean increased meetings via video-conferencing.
For holidays, perhaps consider a UK stay, or alternative transport such as ferries or trains to reach Europe.
Save energy at home
- Make sure your house is fully insulated
This will keep you warm in the winter and cut your energy bills. Insulation also helps to keep rooms cooler in the summer. Support may be available for these measures – check out our loans and grants page for more information.
- Loft and cavity wall insulation are the first areas to consider. Contact your energy supplier as they sometimes offer free insulation installation. You may think that your house already has cavity wall insulation, but you would be surprised how many do not. Look at the outside walls and if you can see filled in round holes then that will tell you that it has been installed. If not, most cavity wall insulation companies will offer a free survey to see whether the cavities are filled or not.
- A heavy curtain or using a draught excluding product on draughty doors and windows. Make sure you close internal doors to prevent draughts.
- Insulate your hot water cylinder with an insulating jacket.
- Insulate your hot water pipes to prevent heat loss.
- Place silver foil behind your radiators to reflect heat back into each room.
- Fit a spring flap to your letterbox and a cover to your keyhole.
- Fill gaps in your skirting boards and floorboards with beading or a sealant.
- Fill gaps around your doorframes and window frames with a PVC seal.
- If you have a chimney, make sure that it is swept regularly to prevent blockages.
- Install renewable energy or low-carbon heating
Once your home is more energy efficient you could consider generating your own energy through installing solar panels or replacing your existing heating with a low carbon alternative, such as a heat pump.
They are high cost measures but can make considerable reductions to your carbon footprint and there may well be financial support to install these systems.
To that end, we've teamed up with Hampshire County Council for Solar Together - a group-buying solar scheme. This is an innovative scheme offering high-quality solar installations and battery storage, all at a competitive prices as a group-buying scheme.
- Switch off standby
Appliances left on standby like mobile phones, laptops and iPod chargers still use energy. Simply switching off and unplugging items on standby is a great way to be more energy efficient.
- Switch off lights when you're not in the room
This will save energy and money and why not switch your lightbulbs to energy saving ones?
- Switch energy supplier
There are a number of energy suppliers that offer 100% renewable energy tariffs. Depending on your current tariff you may even save money by switching, especially if you haven’t switched energy provider for a long time.
- Take showers instead of baths
Taking a bath uses an estimated 80 litres of water compared to showers which use a much more economical 35 litres for every use.
- Buy energy-efficient appliances
When replacing household appliances choose energy-efficient replacements. You can check their Energy Star ratings for a quick reference.
- Switch to 30°C
Washing clothes at 30°C and by doing two washes per week at 30°C could save £19 and 80Kg of CO2. Always wash a full-load in your washing machine or use an economy setting if you need to use a half-load.
- Save water
Get your dripping taps fixed and you'll save money on your water bills and stop wasting a valuable resource.
Don’t wash your hands under a running tap; always put the plug in the basin.
- Turn down your room thermostat
Even turning your thermostat down by 1oC could save you up to £30 each year.
- Drying your clothes
Don’t put really wet clothes into a tumble dryer; wring them out first or you could dry them on a washing line.
- Set up a local climate change action group
Taking action need not be just as an individual. Why not get together with others to form a group to take local action?
We have supported an organisation called Sustainable Overton to produce a toolkit on how to set up a climate change community group. Although this was for a parish council, this could be applied elsewhere.
- Install a Community Energy Project
Community Energy can be a great way to unite people around a project while also contributing to installing renewable energy in the borough and reducing our carbon emissions.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council has supported Sustainable Overton to produce a toolkit on how to start a community energy project, as well as supporting them in the project itself
Cooking and eating
- Waste less - save your leftovers!
Agriculture and our diet is responsible for significant emissions yet we still waste large volumes of food. Plan meals in advance and save any leftovers where possible. Make sure warm food cools down before putting it in the fridge or freezer. Some residents may also consider composting food waste.
- Eat less meat
Beef and lamb in particular have a high carbon footprint, mainly because they need a lot of resources for the amount of food yielded, as well as the direct emissions from the animals.
You don’t necessarily need to become vegetarian or vegan but reducing meat intake can make a huge difference. Try out the BBC's handy Climate Change food calculator.
- Buy local and seasonal produce
By buying local produce, you can help to support local producers as well as reducing the distances our food travels to reach us.
Out of season food imported from around the world by plane generally has a much higher carbon footprint than local, seasonal produce.
- Choose the right size pan when cooking
Also keep the lid on to keep the heat in and shorten the cooking time.
- Use your microwave
If you're cooking smaller amounts of food, your microwave could save you time and energy.
- Don't overfill your kettle
Only boil the amount of water you need but make sure you cover the element.
- Close your fridge door
Don’t leave the fridge door open too long otherwise cold air will escape and your fridge will use more energy to get back to the right temperature.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly
This will ensure it's fully energy efficient.
- Buy less 'stuff'
Everything we buy and use has a carbon footprint. By reducing the volume we buy we can make a big impact, from small items like clothes, up to bigger items like furniture.
Buying things to last and repairing or reusing where possible prolongs the life of items and prevents us having to buy something new, with the associated production carbon footprint.
And, when you no longer need something, consider donating or selling so that the item is not disposed of.
- Get yourself a travel mug and a reuseable water bottle
Paper cups are not always recycled and taking your own mug/carrier to your favourite coffee shop can be an easy way to reduce your footprint. So next time you head off for your daily cappuccino treat, take a travel mug with you – there’s often money off incentives to do this as well. You can also get a reusable water bottle to avoid buying single use plastic bottles of water. Download an app, Refill.org.uk to find out where you can top up when you are out and about.
- Say no to plastic bags
The production of plastic bags contributes to air pollution and a huge amount of energy consumption. One plastic bag can take an astonishing 1,000 years to decompose.
- Compost food and garden waste
Home composting is a great way to get an endless supply of soil improver for your garden. It also helps to reduce the amount of waste we send for incineration
You can also find out what can be recycled in the borough and where to take recycling that can't go in your bin/bag.
If you have an item of furniture which is in good condition (and has a fire safety label if it is a sofa) then these can be taken to the Basingstoke Community Furniture Project or St Michaels Hospice Furniture store. These charities may also offer collections.
- Avoid single use plastic
Here are some ideas on how to reduce or avoid single use plastic
- Say no to plastic straws.
- Avoid excessive food packaging - take your own reuseable bag to the supermarket and buy loose fruit and veg.
- Say no to disposable plastic cutlery.
- Carry a reuseable shopping bag with you.
Contact the team
Climate Change team
If you have an enquiry about climate change or sustainability, send a message to the Climate Change Team