Implementing energy saving strategies in the home can reduce your carbon footprint, reduce energy bills and you save money. Daily habits can quickly add up and soon you’ll see a saving in your energy bills. Let’s have a look at 52 strategies to lower your carbon footprint at home.
1. Invest in insulation
Investing in insulation for your ceiling, floors and walls is a costeffective strategy to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. It can help you reduce reliance on your heating or cooling system, reduce drafts and air leaks.
2. Switch to LED lights
Replacing your current light bulbs with LED lights will promote longerlasting bulbs and reduce your energy spend. LED lights might seem expensive but they last longer and don’t contain dangerous mercury.
3. Update your hot water system
Old hot water systems can use more energy that all of your electrical appliances combined, so updating your system is a smart investment.
4. Install a solar power system
Take advantage of solar power technology to reduce your bills. Many solar power providers offer payment plans to encourage homeowners to install a system and reap the benefits now.
Standard windows let in heat in the summer and cold in the winter. Even if you do have your heating or cooling system on, your windows will work against it. Improve efficiency by installing double glazed windows and doors. Doubleglazing requires no maintenance and it’s 100% recyclable at the end of its product life. You can also reduce the problem by fitting shutters or blinds.
6. Check your electricity supplier
Have you shopped around for electricity suppliers? Spend the time to research electricity plans that’s customised to your household needs.
7. Unplug appliances when not in use
You’d be surprised how much energy is consumed when appliances are left plugged into a standard electrical socket when they are not in use. Power outlets can be easily turned off to reduce electricity use. Start with your airconditioning unit, dishwasher and television. If you think you will forget to include this into your daily schedule, switch all your appliances to appliances with a highenergy star for greater energy efficiency.
8. Install a thermostat
Don’t set your thermostat too high or low. Instead, install a programmable model to turn off the airconditioning or heating system when you’re not at home.
9. Don’t forget about your garden
Plant climate appropriate plants in your garden and install drip irrigation to feed water your plants only what they need. Why not utilise the space in your garden and plant vegetables and herbs – your family will love you for it at dinnertime.
10. Turn on your ceiling fans
Avoid always turning on the aircondiitoning in summer. Your ceiling fans will keep you comfortable and costs very little to run.
11. Reduce exposure to the sun
If you want to make the most of the summer temperatures without feeling uncomfortable, install shades in your backyard.
12. Conduct a home inspection
There are many ways air can get inside the house. A professional home inspector will check the edges of all of your windows, doors and walls, and any problems that you can’t see for yourself.
13. Calculate your own footprint
Calculating your own carbon footprint will help you prioritise and implement the easiest ways to improve your footprint. Here are some useful online calculators to help you measure and improve your carbon footprint:
14. Eat all of the food you serve
Food waste is up to 100kg a year per person. By serving the right proportion of food, you can cut your carbon footprint, grocery bills and food waste.
15. Eat from the earth
Grow grain and fruit in your backyard. Eating low carbon foods can slash your carbon footprint and improve your diet.
16. Reduce the temperature during winter
Instead of increasing the temperature as high as possible, drop the temperature by 1 degree Celsius. You will use 10% less heat and reduce your power bills.
17. Leave your car keys & take your bike
Leave your car in the garage and use your bike to get around. It’s great for the environment and your health.
18. Do more with less
Do you really need that second TV? Low carbon electricity is central to living well on a small carbon budget.
19. Turn off all unnecessary lights
If you’re not in the room, turn the light off to reduce your carbon footprint.
20. Reuse and recycle
We throw away too much and recycle too little. Be sure to use your recycling service for plastics, metals and paper.
21. Avoid unnecessary purchases
Try to get appliances and tools fixed rather than replaced. It’s much better for the environment to fix appliances rather than making them from scratch.
22. Plant more trees
Liven up your garden and add extra shade by planting more trees.
23. Use candles instead of lamps
For reading or watching TV at night, replace lights for candles. Do this every night and you’re saving 23 hours of power usage.
24. Fill up your car petrol tank early in the morning or late at night
By filling your car when it’s cooler outside, less gas will evaporate in the heat of the day.
25. Open your blinds during daytime
Instead of turning lights on open your blinds. It will let the sun in and reduce your power bill.
26. Don’t leave appliances on in the background
If you’re not watching the TV turn it off. Try to get out of the habit of keeping it on if in the background.
27. Turn your computer off
Instead of putting your computer in sleep mode turn it off. It will help the computer last longer and save power consumption.
28. Check your appliances for faults
If you’re using a lot of power you may have a faulty appliance. Every few months have a specialist run a check on all your household appliances.
29. Limit your shower time
It takes a lot of energy to heat water for showers and baths. Take shorter showers to save on water and heating costs.
30. Use a cool setting on your washing machine
Washing clothes in cooler water requires less power and is better for your clothes.
31. Consider making your household goods
Do a quick internet search and you’ll find easy recipes for soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant. Avoid encouraging major industrial emissions and make your own goods.
32. Use containers instead of plastic wrap
If you can, use lunchboxes and containers instead of plastic wrap. Containers are reusable and cheaper in the long run.
33. Dry your laundry outside
Avoid using the clothes dryer and hang your washing outside. It’s better for the environment, your pocket and your clothes.
34. Check your car’s oil
Is your car leaking oil in the driveway? Not only will it stain but also it’s not great for the environment. Keep your car well maintained.
35. Check your car’s tyres
Are your tyres properly inflated? Underinflated tyres decrease fuel efficiency, which means a larger carbon footprint and more trips to the service station.
36. Arrange a home energy audit
Most power companies provide this service for free. Talk to your power company to get a breakdown where your power is going.
37. Sit outside
Get fresh air and enjoy the outdoors. You will use less light power and feel great.
38. Make your house air tight
Air leaks may account for 1525% of the heat generated in winter or that our homes gain in summer. Arrange a home inspection audit to investigate any hidden leaks or cracks.
39. Open windows during the day
Air out your house naturally by opening up your windows and let fresh air in. this simple habit can reduce your spend on air fresheners.
40. Make climate friendly choices when shopping
Take notice of environmentally friendly products that use recycled material or less chemicals.
41. Conserve water
Wash your dishes once a day, not after every meal. Fill your clothesbasket before you load the washing machine.
42. Wrap your hot water heater in a blanket
You can cut your carbon emissions by up to 5% by simply wrapping your hot water heater.
43. Control pests without pesticides
Avoid broad applications such as sprays because they are less effective than targeting the pest where it lives and travels. Targeted treatments are more effective, cause less risk and are better for the environment.
44. Buy organic
Take a visit to your local farmers market and support farmers who use sustainable products.
45. Dispose chemicals safely
If you have leftovers of paint, pesticides or other chemicals, dispose of them safely. Dumping chemicals down the drain is not a safe option for your family or the environment.
46. Reduce the fertiliser in your yard
Commercial fertilisers create nitrous oxide emissions and use energy. Most lawns only need to be fertilised yearly and a good natural fertiliser will do the trick.
47. Use a pushpowered lawn mower
The small engine in an electric lawn mower gives off a lot of pollution; use a push-powered lawn instead.
48. Fix gaps in floorboards
Gaps in floorboards can let draughts in. fill these gaps with newspaper, beading or sealant.
49. Fix dripping taps
Dripping taps are not only annoying, but if it’s a hot tap it can cost you in water costs and water heating costs.
50. Reduce kettle water
When boiling the kettle, only boil the amount of water that you need. The kettle will boil faster and it will save power consumption.
51. Defrost food in the fridge
Instead of using the microwave, take your frozen food out the night before and defrost in the fridge. Your food will taste fresher and you’re using less power.
52. Never put warm food in fridge
Putting warm food in the fridge makes the fridge work harder to keep it cool. Always allow food to cool down first.
© Andy Butkaj, 2007.
© Evil Monkey, 2005.