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Practical ways to improve your carbon footprint at home

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Every day our society is becoming more and more environmentally conscious, with the focus firmly on the climate change conference in recent weeks. There are plenty of little changes we can make in our everyday lives to play a small but essential part in protecting the future of the planet.

You may have heard a lot about COP26 in recent weeks. This is the UN’s Climate Change Conference, where governments and organisations around the world come together to discuss the major changes needed to slow down rising temperatures.

While pollution and deforestation are high on the agenda for world leaders, there are lots of little ways the rest of us can contribute. Even though our actions may be comparatively much smaller, many people making an effort together can ultimately lead to a bigger positive change overall.

Not only that, some of the ways we can reduce our carbon footprint can even have cost-saving benefits too. As fuel prices and living costs continue to rise, making a few adjustments can greatly benefit loved ones at home as well as the future of the environment.

Insulation and heating

Ensuring your home is well insulated is one of the best ways to retain heat indoors and keep warm over the winter months. Good insulation also helps you to cut your fuel bills as you use less energy to heat your home. As heat naturally rises, loft insulation ensures that heat doesn’t escape through the roof.

Installing suitable insulation in your loft can be costly in the short term, but the likelihood is that you’ll see long-term savings on fuel bills. A quicker and more manageable solution may be to draught-proof your home. This means using draught excluders and sealing around windows and doors to plug any gaps where the heat can escape.

This guide from the Energy Saving Trust offers plenty of tips on draught-proofing, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.

Less waste, more recycling

One of the biggest environmental challenges today concerns single-use plastics. Manufacturing plastic leads to excess carbon emissions and the fact that they can’t be recycled means they end up in landfill or even in the oceans. Many companies are cutting down on single-use plastics for their products, making it much easier for us to avoid purchasing them.

However, it can also be great help to make more of a conscious effort whenever we do our shopping. Try looking for items with more sustainable packaging like cardboard and refill pouches, or even choosing loose fruits and vegetables free from plastic wrapping.

It can also be useful to cut down on certain foods. Meat and dairy productions accounts for a significant proportion of carbon emissions, whilst plant-based alternatives, fruits and vegetables have a less damaging effect on the climate. You don’t necessarily have to go fully vegan, but cutting your regular meat consumption will lower your own personal carbon footprint.

Other energy saving habits

It’s easy to lose track of your energy usage when going about daily tasks around the home. You may not think twice about putting the heating on a bit earlier or leaving the TV on when you’re out of the room. However, average energy bill prices have risen quite dramatically in recent months, so you’ll want to make every little saving count.

By cutting down on your regular energy usage – even by a small amount each day – you’ll be able to save on your bills and contribute towards improving the climate. Energy generators are getting greener, but the UK still relies on traditional power plants which produce excess carbon emissions.

Consider things like washing clothes less regularly if you can and use lower temperatures for your wash. It can also be helpful to replace old appliances with more energy efficient models. Look for the A-G energy rating sticker on a new appliance for more information.

All in all, making a few changes to your usual habits and routines, you actively reduce your carbon footprint and even save money while doing it. Sharing ideas with our loved ones also means that many of us – old or young – can help to make a big difference by minimising our impact on climate change.