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Carbon Footprint Reduction

Here's a list of simple things you can do immediately to start to reduce your contribution to global warming. The items on this list will cost you nothing at all – and will in fact SAVE you money (in addition to helping save our planet).

  • Sign up with a green energy supplier, who will supply electricity from renewable sources (e.g., wind and hydroelectric power) - this will reduce your carbon footprint contribution from electricity to zero.
  • Not in use? Turn it off! (lights, television, DVD player, computer etc.) Click here to find out which electrical items in your household contribute the most to your Carbon Footprint.
  • Turn down the central heating. Turn up the air conditioning temperature – just 1 to 2 degrees makes a difference in your energy consumption.
  • Turn down the water heater setting (just 2 degrees will make a significant saving).
  • Check the central heating timer setting - remember there is no point heating the house after you have left for work.
  • Fill your dishwasher and washing machine and only run with a full load. This will save you water, electricity, and detergent.
  • Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need, not all the way full.
  • Unplug your mobile phone as soon as it has finished charging.
  • Defrost your fridge/freezer regularly.
  • Do your weekly shopping in a single trip.
  • Hang the washing out to dry rather than tumble drying it.
  • Go for a run rather than drive to the gym.

The following is a list of items that may take an initial investment, but should pay for themselves over the course of 1-4 years through savings on your energy bills.

  • Fit your lamps and light fixtures with energy-saving light bulbs.
  • Install thermostatic valves on your radiators.
  • Insulate your hot water tank, your loft and your walls. 35% of heat generated in the house is lost through the walls. Installing cavity wall insulation to a medium-size house could reduce your heating bills by $100 or more per year.
  • By installing 180mm thick loft insulation you could stop about 25% of your heat escaping through the roof.
  • Recycle your grey water.
  • Replace your old fridge / freezer (if it is over 15 years old), with a new one with energy efficiency rating of "A."
  • Replace your old boiler with a new energy efficient condensing boiler.

Travel less and travel more Carbon Footprint-friendly.

  • Carpool to work, or on the kids’ school/activity runs.
  • Use the bus, subway/metro/light rail, train or bicycle whenever possible instead of your car.
  • See if your employer will allow you to work from home one day a week.
  • Next time you replace your car - check out diesel engines. With one of these you can even make your own Biodiesel fuel. Find out more about Biodiesel.
  • When on vacation – ride a bicycle to explore locally rather than a car.
  • When staying in a hotel turn the lights and air-conditioning off when you leave your room.
  • Ask for your room towels and sheets to be washed every other day not daily.

Beyond your primary Carbon Footprint, there is also a secondary footprint that you cause through your buying habits.

  • If you buy foods out of season at the supermarket, these will have either been flown or shipped in from far away - all adding to your carbon footprint. 
  • Reduce your consumption of meat.
  • Don't buy bottled water if your tap water is safe to drink (especially if the bottled brand has been shipped from far away).
  • Buy organic produce.
  • Buy local fruit and vegetables, or grow your own.
  • Don't buy fresh fruit and vegetables that are out of season, they may have been flown in.
  • Try to buy products made closer to home (look out and avoid items that are made in distant lands such as China and India).
  • Don't buy over-packaged products.
  • Recycle as much as possible
  • Think carefully about the type of activities you do in your spare time. How many of them cause an increase in carbon emissions? Examples include saunas, health clubs, restaurants, motorhomes, motorcycling, etc.

Finally, there is your footprint at work.

  • Do you leave your computer and monitor on when you are away from your desk?
  • Do you leave the lights on when you leave the office?
  • Do you print documents unnecessarily? Could you print two pages to a side or double sided?  

Adopting any one of these changes will help!