You might think it is a controversial statement if I say that energy is remarkably cheap these days. Look around at the exploration platforms and drilling rigs that look like cities standing in the ocean. Surely you can appreciate what excellent value for money your gas is. The problem lies with the national suppliers, not the producers. When the energy is generated or brought ashore, it goes to a middleman who levies extortionate charges on it. They make sickening profits while claiming it is the cost of production to blame. Well, take a look at their end of year figures, and you will see it is obvious they are ripping us all off. Gas and electricity isn’t a luxury these days; it is a necessity. After all, we can’t go into the woods and cut down trees to feed our log burners at home can we? They have us in a no-win situation, and the government has done precious little to help. It won’t surprise me if many of them are shareholders in the companies.
We must reduce our carbon footprint for the sake of our bank balance and to slow the inexorable progress of global warming. I was sceptical at first, but maybe we are the cause behind it. Though we cannot make a difference to the climate individually, the trend might catch on. When millions of homes reduce their energy consumption, it could delay the onset of the change. It would also worry the suppliers who will have to reduce the cost of energy to attract more customers.
Here are some urgent steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint at home.
It isn’t all about cutting our bills. The items we consume every day take energy to produce. That energy must go on our personal footprint. There are two rules to follow:
- Use cartons made from recycled materials wherever possible.
- Put the empty packaging into your recycling bin. It will be used again if you don’t send it to the landfill site.
Change Your Habits
We are our own worst enemy when it comes to wasting gas and electricity at home. You must try and educate each member of your family in the art of switching off lights when they leave a room. How many times do you come home to find every room in the house illuminated, but only one room in use?
You must also teach your family not to reach for the heating thermostat every time they start to feel chilly. It costs nothing to put on an extra layer of clothing for a while. If you turn the thermostat up by only one degree, the experts reckon it will cost you about forty pounds a year. Therefore, you can save just as much by turning it down one degree. That might not be noticeable. Well, not until you have done it several times.
If your appliances are ancient, they use more energy than they need to. Modern units are designed with economy in mind from the beginning. Everything else works around that principle. A washing machine, for example, will use only a fraction of the water that its ancestor would consume. That means there is less water to heat, which results in lower electricity consumption. Modern central heating boilers use computer technology to make sure that little of the gas they consume goes to waste. Today’s models are highly efficient compared to those of a decade ago.
Microwave ovens can halve the amount of time it takes to cook a meal if you no how to use it correctly. Most people only use it for reheating food, but it is capable of much more.
You can save a lot of money in lighting your home by swapping the halogen bulbs for modern GU10 LED lamps. They consume an insignificant amount of electricity, waste little in the form of heat, and last for years. LEDs are set to take over the market as all other forms of lighting become obsolete.
You must insulate your home so that none of the heat you generate goes to waste. An efficient building will be able to maintain the internal temperature better than a draughty old structure. That is because it has excellent insulation properties. You can improve the efficiency of your home by addressing these areas.
- Tackle the loft first by adding extra layers of insulation. Remember to leave a small gap near to the eves of the roof for ventilation.
- Deal with draughts from the doors and around old window frames.
- Replace the windows with double glazed units if you can afford it.
- Make sure the cavity walls have insulation in them. If they are empty, the experts can drill holes and blow a product in using special machinery.
When you home has a warm hat and coat on, you will see the bills reduce.
Solar panels are an attractive alternative these days because that latest technology allows them to be highly efficient. They, usually, generate more electricity than you need during the day, which is good news for your pocket. You can sell the power you don’t use to your energy supplier, and that will compensate for much of the energy your home consumes at night. Those ‘preppers’ who wish to live off-grid could store the surplus with a bank of batteries to use in the evenings.
Solar Hot water
You can get all of the hot water you need for free with a solar water heater. There are systems that heat the water by running it through pipes in vacuum tubes on the roof. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a hot day for it to work. The solar radiation works for you through the winter too.
As you can see, there are many steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Which ones will you adopt? I suppose it is all down to the cost at the end of the day. In the UK, the government runs The Green Deal, which is a scheme that will pay towards some of the improvements. Maybe there is such a thing where you live. Do lots of research online; it could save you a fortune.