There are many different ways in which you can reduce your household carbon emissions, each method helping in the fight against climate change, and protecting our planet for the future generations to come. With the UK already having reduced its carbon emissions hugely over the past few years, cutting household emissions only serves to better this and help the environment and planet that bit more.
It is first important to calculate your carbon footprint in order to know where your household’s largest emissions are, therefore pin pointing where would be most effective to cut down.
As one of the main greenhouse gasses influencing climate change, reducing your household’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be a great help in stopping temperatures from rising to dangerous levels. The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have released figures that show 81% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions is CO2.
By reducing the carbons emissions from your household, you can help to reduce this percentage, and further reduce the risk of climate change from having severely damaging consequence to the planet. Through this guide, we will take you through some of the most effective ways to reduce your household carbon emissions, and how to integrate these methods easily into your everyday life.
How Do You Calculate your Carbon Footprint?
Your carbon footprint is defined as the amount of CO2 that is released into the atmosphere due to human activity. It can be used to define the amount of emissions released by one person, by a household, or even the entire world. Every household has its own carbon footprint, and taking measures to reduce this can help to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint overall and further reduce the severity of global warming.
Calculating your carbon footprint is a fairly straight forward process; there are many different aspects and factors that can contribute to your carbon footprint, some of the main contributors being as follows:
- The energy used throughout your household in the form of utilities (such as heating and electricity)
- The method of travel and frequency members of your household travel from place to place
- The type and amount of food your household consumes
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWN) have created a carbon calculator to help you figure out your own carbon footprint. Once calculated, this can be used to help identify and further reduce the major areas for carbon emissions in your household.
There are many different ways in which you could be contributing to the planet’s carbon emissions. You can do your bit for stopping climate change by calculating the problem areas, as well as making changes to more general contributing factors.
Reducing Carbon Emissions by Eating Less Meat
The meat industry is one of the major contributors of carbon emission across the globe. Animals such as cows and sheep produce significant quantities of methane; a powerful greenhouse gas that is contributing to global warming. Studies have shown that integrating elements of a plant-based, vegan diet (in which any animal produce is avoided) into your normal, balanced diet can help reduce your carbon impact by around 20%.
However, you don’t need to become a vegan to reduce your carbon footprint. You can reduce your carbon footprint with food simply by cutting down on the amount of meat (particularly beef and lamb) consumed in your household. Going veggie for some nights of the week can be a small but effective step in reducing your household’s overall carbon footprint.
Reducing Carbon Emissions by Improving your Heating System
Having a badly insulated house is another substantial contributor of a household’s carbon emission. The more poorly your house is insulated, the more heat escapees from it and the more energy you use trying to keep your home warm.
By insulating the roof, walls, loft, and anywhere else heat could be easily escaping from, you could help to reduce the amount of energy used to heat your home and therefore the levels of carbon emissions produced as a result of this.
Insulating your property will also help to improve the air tightness of the property and the ‘building envelope,’ the separation between the conditioned [heated] and unconditioned [outside] air and environment, making for a much more efficient home.
Installing double glazed windows is another very effective way in which to reduce heat loss from your home. Not only can insulating your home reduce the carbon footprint of your household overall, it can also be a great investment in reducing your utility bills, whilst improving security and reducing the amount of noise from outside that enters your property.
Investing in Solar Panels
Installing solar panels on the roof of your house can drastically cut the contribution of your household utilities and ‘white goods’ to your household carbon footprint. It does this by providing a source of energy that does not emit any greenhouse gases and does not require the consumption of any fossil fuels to power your home, rather using ‘cleaner’ solar energy. There are also a number of schemes and grants that can support insulation and ‘clean’
Although solar panels may look fairly flash and expensive, studies have shown that installing them for your home is economically viable and solar panels can in fact pay for themselves by cutting the cost of utility bills.
If you are the landlord of a commercial or buy-to-let property with tenants or residents, you will not only help reduce the property’s carbon footprint, but will also help the tenants pay less for their own energy bills and consumption.
Reducing Carbon Emissions by Switching to a Renewable Energy Provider
If you don’t fancy installing your own solar panels onto your house or property, there are still ways that you can cut the size of your carbon footprint down through your utilities. Switching to energy providers for gas and electricity that are powered with renewable sources of energy can be a great way to reduce your carbon emissions.
By switching to a renewable energy supplier, you not only reduce your household carbon emissions, but also promote these types of businesses, helping them to compete against the more established carbon emitting providers.