Useful tips to reduce your carbon footprint


Households are the highest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. This is mainly from the energy we use which comes from the National Grid. Currently, most energy is being generated from burning fossil fuels like gas, coal and oil, although some energy is generated from renewable sources. 

Switch to a green energy supplier

A green energy supplier puts energy generated from renewable sources into the National Grid. There are also dedicated green energy tariffs which the supplier promises to match all or some of the electricity you use with renewable energy, which it then feeds back into the National Grid. 

You can use an internet comparison site to find the best green energy supplier. 

Go renewable

There are a variety of renewable energy systems for generating electricity or heating:

  • Air source heat pumps take heat from the air and boosts it to a higher temperature using a compressor.
  • Ground source heat pumps extract heat from the ground using pipes buried underground.
  • Biomass boilers burn wood pellets, wood chips or logs.
  • Solar panels can be fitted to buildings to absorb the sun's rays as a source of energy. 

Switch it off

The average household spends more than £30 every year powering appliances left on standby. That's not including the money spent heating water and rooms that are not being used. 

Switch off lights and appliances when they're not in use. Consider investing in sockets, timers or sensors to make turning things off and on even easier. You can also track your energy usage by fitting a free smart meter - contact your current supplier to find out how to get one. 

Don't waste a drop

Heating water is one of the most energy-intensive activities in our homes. You can save hot water by:

  • Taking shorter showers rather than longer baths. 
  • Pop a lid on a pan when cooking.
  • Using a washing-up bowl when doing dishes by hand.
  • Don't fill the kettle to the top if you're only making one hot drink.

Using less cold water also helps, so try turning the tap off when brushing your teeth and capture rainwater in a water butt to water your garden. 

Wash at 30

The average energy consumed for each wash at 30 degrees Celsius is 0.284 KWh, which is almost half of the energy used on an average wash.  

Washing at 30 also saves water and gentle cycles can help your clothes last longer. 

Get cosy

More than half of an average household's energy is used for heating. Turning your thermostat down by just one degree (to a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius) could save you a significant amount of money.

You can reduce the amount of heat your home loses by using blinds or curtains, rugs and draft excluders. You can also consider investing in insulation or better-insulated windows. 

If you have an alternative source of heating, avoid using your open fire or wood burner. If wood burning is the only option for heating your home burn better by only burning dry, “Ready to Burn” certified fuel in a modern Ecodesign and Defra-exempted stove.

Get more efficient

If you can, switch to low energy bulbs. LED lights use up to 85 per cent less energy than traditional bulbs and last much longer.

If you're thinking about getting a new appliance, look at its energy rating. An A rating is the most efficient and usually means it has lower running costs. It might cost more to buy but you should save money in the longer term.

Make sure that you dispose of your appliances in the best way too. Give your appliances a new lease of life by selling, donating, or recycling them.