Going Green: How Can You Fight Climate Change at Home?
When it comes to climate change, it’s easy to feel helpless, anxious or even powerless.
The seven hottest years on record have all occurred since 2014, with human activities cited as the main cause for climate change. In the UK, 40% of harmful greenhouse emissions come from domestic households.
“Although the magnitude of climate change may make individuals feel helpless, individual action is critical for meaningful change.”
Individuals alone can’t make the drastic changes necessary to reduce global warming. Tackling major climate-change contributors like deforestation and fossil fuel is a big undertaking requiring lots of support.
However, personal action is essential in reducing the localised effects of climate change, helping to reduce your carbon footprint, and preserve the climate for future generations.
Making sure your home is as energy-saving as possible is one of the chief ways individuals can contribute to the fight against climate change. As well as reducing their impact on the environment, individuals whose households are optimised for efficient and sustainable energy usage benefit from lower energy bills throughout the year.
The UK Government Green Deal scheme supports UK homeowners in making energy-saving improvements to their homes, including finding the best way to pay for them, such as a Green Deal loan (which must be paid back).
These home improvements range from new insulation, to improved heating, to draught-proofing and double glazing – all of which help homeowners save money on energy bills and contribute toward the reduction of carbon emissions.
The UK Government recommends talking to a Green Deal assessor or provider to find out if your home could benefit from energy-saving improvements.
Another way that you can ensure your household is using energy as efficiently as possible is by consulting the Energy Efficiency Calculator.
The Energy Efficiency Calculator uses data about your property and the information you give about your general energy usage to provide personalised advice that will help to reduce your energy consumption.
Working in conjunction with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, the Energy Efficiency Calculator is a useful tool for individuals looking for insightful and actionable information regarding energy efficiency and consumption.
In addition to ensuring your home is using energy efficiently, choosing a renewable energy provider is important in fighting climate change and going green.
Across the UK, there are various energy providers that offer clean, renewable energy to their customers.
Renewable energy refers to energy that is sustainably sourced and does not run out. Unlike traditional energy sources, such as coal, renewable energy production harnesses the power of nature to produce eco-friendly energy that does not impact the environment.
Some examples of renewable energy production include solar energy from the sun, wind energy, or hydropower generated from flowing water.
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Though undeniably useful, tumble dryers draw an awful lot of energy when in use – roughly 4.5 kWh per cycle. This costs the average tumble dryer owner 4p per cycle. Depending on how much you use your tumble dryer, the costs certainly add up.
What’s more shocking, however, is the impact that tumble dryers have on the environment. One tumble dryer emits between 51 to 159 kg CO2 each year, which is more than a tree in the UK can absorb over the course of the first 50 years of its lifespan.
Air-drying clothes not only saves homeowners money, but also greatly reduces the impact that doing your laundry can have on the environment.
Clothes horses or washing lines can be used both indoors and outside, are better for the climate, and even come with a wealth of additional benefits, such as increasing the longevity and quality of your clothes.
In the UK, the average person uses 150 litres of water each day. Though there aren’t necessarily any water shortages in the UK, household water usage has a startingly big impact on the environment.
Cleaning wastewater on a national scale is an energy-intensive process. Wastewater treatment plants consume between 1 and 3% of global energy output, making it problematic when it comes to sustainability.
Taking shorter showers or turning off the tap when you wash your hands or brush your teeth are easy, productive ways to reduce your individual environmental impact.
According to the Eden Project, turning off the tap when brushing your teeth saves 6 litres of water per minute, while showering uses anything between 6 and 45 litres of water per minute – which is why showers should be kept short and sweet if individuals are concerned about climate change.
It’s no surprise that cars are bad for the environment. Running on fossil fuels – like petrol and diesel – and accounting for 22% of the total UK CO2 emissions, cars are a major contributor to climate change.
Air pollution caused by exhaust fumes pose a detrimental risk to the environment, and to public health. According to Imperial College London, thousands of Londoners are hospitalised each year due to harmful air pollution.
Opting for greener transport alternatives, like cycling or walking, not only benefits the environment, but your own mental health and wellbeing too. Alternatively, for longer journeys, try making use of public transport or sharing car journeys with colleagues and friends!
Across the globe, waste management strategies present an ongoing issue for the environment. Landfills generate high levels of methane gas and CO2 as rubbish rots in the ground, accelerating the process of global warming and releasing a variety of toxic substances, such as arsenic or mercury.
In 2018, the UK produced 222.2 million tonnes of waste. In the UK, each person generates around 170kg of organic waste each year.
Composting organic waste – waste that comes from a plant or animal – allows waste to be broken down aerobically, meaning it is a much greener alternative to landfills. Unlike when waste is sent to landfill, composting does not produce the same harmful greenhouse gas emissions, instead drawing on natural decomposition aids like microbes, insects, worms, and fungi.
Household compost bins are generally affordable and can even be DIY’ed, making them a good alternative for individuals looking to opt for more sustainable waste disposal practices.
Becoming eco-friendly and fighting climate change isn’t something that happens overnight. However, at Compass, we believe that even the smallest contributions go a long way in the fight against climate change. These individual ways to stop climate change will help reduce your carbon footprint and save you some money in the process!
If you’re interested in sustainability, and want to know how you can adjust your lifestyle to make it greener, check out our Sustainable Swaps for an Eco-Friendly Lifestyle here.
Asking your child how you can support them is better than making assumptions and will help both you and them better navigate the future.
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