Reduce your carbon footprint
written by Nicoletta Moss
Photo by Dewi Karuniasih on Unsplash
In the last few weeks, we talked about how you can reduce your carbon footprint. We gave you examples of how you can refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink in the areas of Travel, Consumption and Food. Today we will conclude with Household and Social.
In the last months, we all have spent a lot of time at home. We enjoyed it, but we also found areas between our four walls which needed improvement. Go through your apartment and take stock of all the items which consume energy and see how efficient they are. To improve your carbon footprint in this area, you don’t have to do a full home renovation, there are also a few very simple measures you can take right now:
1. Switch off lights when you are not in the room
Sounds easy. It is. Look around yourself. How many lights are currently switched on in your flat? And how many do you really need right now? Yes, most likely there will be a discrepancy in numbers. And while you are switching off lamps, unplug electronic items you are not currently using too. Your TV or your stereo eats electricity, even when you are not using them.
2. Watch your consumptions
You don’t have to freeze in winter or boil in summer – but just be reasonable with your heating or cooling devices. If you need to air the house – do it first thing in the morning before you start heating or cooling. Water consumption is also a major one. How much water is your dishwasher and washing machine using? Do you really have to use your dryer, or would the sun do a similarly good job? Shower instead of taking a full bath. I guess you get the idea.
3. Update your house
I admit – this is a major one. For your pocket, for your house and for the planet. Both ways. First, it will be expensive and annoying doing the changes, such as adding insulations and double glazing. But
then the savings and comfort will be coming back. To start with home renovation is a big call, but it is worth it. And while you are at it – don’t you want to add a few solar panels on top of your roof too?
4. Replace old appliances and light bulbs with low energy consumption versions
If you don’t want to start replacing windows – start with your ten-year-old fridge – or at least replace some of your light bulbs. Make a list of all the items you think you should be replacing and whenever you can, do it.
5. Request from your energy provider to supply you with sustainable energy
Check out the latest Government subsidies on investing in new photovoltaic panels and/or solar water heaters – You will be saving money in the long-term besides contributing to a cleaner environment
At home you have all the options: start small, grow big. Take core steps today, like switching off the lights, and improve over time. Plan, calculate your budget and get going.
You have come very far already. Don’t let yourself stop here. Do the right thing and talk about it. Share your experience, teach and get involved in the community. This is a big job and it will be far easier if we are working together on this. Together we can do it.
1. Set an example
Do you have kids at home? Yes? Have you noticed that they are copying your habits? Doesn’t it make you laugh when the mini-me’s are doing something and you have the feeling you are looking into a mirror? If you make it a rule to switch off the lights in a room when you leave it, make sure that you are always doing it too.
Your kids are growing out of their clothes and toys? Give it to a friend who has younger kids or donate them to charity. But it is not only about passing on physical goods – it is about passing on knowledge and experience. If you have additional ideas on how to reduce your carbon footprint, share it with the community.
3. Get involved
This links very much back to the point of sharing. Get involved – politically or get a group together to clean up the local park each Friday afternoon for an hour. I’m sure that there is an organization nearby you where you can participate. There are plenty of options. Pick one.
Photo by S O C I A L . C U T on Unsplash
4. Change one thing a week (or a day, if you like!)
There is the saying that a drop of water which is constantly dripping will hollow the stone. The drip of water is you. Change a thing a day, or week – but stick to it. In the long-term,it will make a difference.
5. Spread the word: #5x5Challenge
Do good and talk about it. Share what you have done today on social media and use the hashtag #5x5Challenge. We all live on one planet, we use its resources, let’s work together and share our experiences and ideas.
#5x5Challenge – go for it!