Climate change - what you can do
If your home isn’t energy efficient, not only will you be wasting money but you will be wasting energy as well, which damages the environment.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas is releasing more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than the seas, oceans, plants and trees can absorb. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas, which contributes towards climate change.
As much as 25% of the carbon dioxide produced in the UK comes from the energy used in the home.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
Cooking and eating
- Buy local produce
By buying local produce, you can help to support local producers as well as reducing the distances our food travels to reach us.
- 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.
- Save your leftovers
Make sure warm food cools down before putting it in the fridge or freezer.
- Defrost your fridge and freezer regularly
This will ensure it's fully energy efficient.
- 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