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40 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Contribution To Global Warming
Do you want to live in a greenhouse full of exhaust fumes and air pollution? No? Then you can do something about it: 20 per cent of emissions of CO2 – the main greenhouse gas – comes from energy use in homes and 25 per cent comes from cars. Here are 40 easy steps to reduce your contribution to climate change.
In and around the home
1 Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
2 Turn off radiators and other heating or cooling vents in unused rooms.
3 Use economy settings on home appliances.
4 Cook with lids on pots and use a pressure cooker.
5 Run the washing machine and dishwasher with full loads.
6 Wash clothes at 40°C or less instead of 60°C – it uses a third less energy than normally needed to heat the water for a hot wash. [Well, the advantage is even higher, depending on the initial temperature of the water, usually about 10°C. From 10 to 40 is a difference of 30°, from 10 to 60 a difference of 50°. So it uses 30/50 = 60% of the energy, or 40% less. Sorry for my nit-picking. Just some physics.]
7 Use a washing line not a tumble dryer.
8 Turn down your thermostat – every 1ºC less can cut your heating bill 10 per cent.
9 Turn your refrigerator up a notch – keeping it just 1°C warmer saves about 50kg of greenhouse gas a year.
10 Take shorter showers.
11 Turn your TV and other appliances off at the power point instead of using your remote and leaving them on stand-by.
12 Protect trees and shrubs (to absorb CO2).
13 Minimise your use of paper and recycle the paper you use.
14 Walk, cycle, take public transport or consider a car-pool whenever possible.
15 Reduce your air travel.
16 Telecommute from home one or more days a week during normal business hours.
17 Shop locally rather than in out-of-town superstores.
18 Eat more plant-based and less meat-based meals (to reduce methane emissions from intensive animal rearing).
19 Buy products with the least packaging.
20 Avoid the products of companies like Esso (Exxon) that are obstructing solutions to the problem of climate change.
21 Switch your investments away from fossil fuel companies to renewable energy ones or ethical investment funds, or exercise your right as a shareholder to vote at companies’ AGMs in favour of resolutions demanding reductions in emissions.
22 Lobby your political representatives to press them to act, and vote accordingly.
23 Switch to a clean electricity or Green power supplier if you have the option.
24 Replace your light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs. A fluorescent bulb can cost you around £9.00 up front, but it uses one-fifth of the electricity of an average bulb, lasts 10 times longer and saves half a tonne of carbon dioxide in its lifetime.
25 Increase your loft insulation to a depth of 20cm (8in) – this alone will slash the average fuel bill by 20 per cent.
26 Install draught-proof windows and doors to prevent heat loss and save energy.
27 Insulate your water tank with at least 7.5cm (3in) thickness.
28 Put aluminium foil behind your radiators with the dull side of the foil against the wall.
29 Install a low-flow showerhead.
30 Service your car regularly – keeping the engine tuned saves up to a tonne of greenhouse gases a year for a family car and keeping your car tyres at the maximum recommended air pressure saves up to 100kg of greenhouse gases each year.
31 Buy regionally, seasonally and organically produced food whenever possible.
32 Buy recycled paper and only buy wood products that display the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) label.
33 Plant new trees.
34 Replace your old boiler with a condenser boiler – the most efficient way of heating water and space in a home (converting 85 per cent of fuel into heat compared with not much more than 65 per cent for standard boilers).
35 Buy the most energy efficient appliances (look for the ‘energy efficiency recommended’ logo, and labels showing how much energy each product uses, with ‘A’ being the most efficient and ‘G’ the least). An energy efficient fridge, for example, can use less than half the energy of an old, inefficient model, and can save you money.
36 Install cavity wall insulation (if you live in a house built after 1930) – it can reduce heat loss through walls by up to 60 per cent.
37 Install double-glazed windows – almost a quarter of heat lost from a home can be through poorly insulated window frames and single glazing.
38 If you need a car, buy one that gets most miles to the gallon (the most fuel-efficient cars are currently Toyota’s Prius and Honda’s Insight – hybrid petrol and electric cars).
39 Buy a solar water heater.
40 Invest in solar photovoltaic tiles for your roof.
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