Going green is no longer the preserve of lentil-weavers – the idea has entered the mainstream consciousness. Admittedly for many, it’s more about self-preservation than planet-preservation, as a lot of green measures save money in the short term.
If you’re more concerned about your grandchildren’s financial inheritance than their ecological inheritance, read through these simple moves and do your bit.
Car journeys pump more carbon dioxide into the air than any other transport in the UK. Personal travel is the biggest contributor, and thankfully, it’s the most easily controlled factor.
· Ditch the car once in a while and use a bike or even your feet! A ridiculous number of car journeys are one mile or under – if you walk every journey under one mile instead you will save around £200 a year! If you do get into your car for a short trip, make it count – take in the shops, the dry cleaner, the hairdresser – all in one go.
· Driving is unavoidable at times, so when you do have to get behind the wheel, make sure you are driving as efficiently as possible. Get your tyres as pumped up as they should be. Clear anything out of the car that you don’t need to carry, don’t leave your engine running, change gears at lower revs and get your car serviced at regular intervals. Don’t use the air conditioner unless you really have to.
· In the home invest in loft and wall insulation. One quarter of a home’s heat leaves via the roof, and a new trend to cut this loss is to have metal roof cladding. By installing modern roof insulation, you can reduce your heating bills by at least a quarter every year. Even better, metal roofs last for decades, so no replacing tiles after storms! Cavity wall insulation can save as much as £150 each year in the same way, and even the humble draught excluder can shave £30 a year off expenses.
· Get a new boiler. With an A-rated boiler, you could save up to £250 each year as well as reduce your CO2 emissions. Turn down your thermostat – even if it’s just by 1C, as this can reduce your fuel costs by 10 per cent. Make sure your hot water has a maximum temperature of 50C, as this saves money and reduces the chances of scalding if you have young children.
· Appliances also contribute to our carbon load. Turn TVs and phone chargers off when they’re not in use – the UK wastes an astonishing £800 million each year by leaving gadgets on standby. Just boil as much water as you need at the time, and don’t do a washing load unless it’s a full one. Try and do the occasional wash at 30 degrees – it’s usually just as effective as a 40 degree wash.
· Think about your clothes. Cheap clothes are actually more damaging to the environment than steel manufacturing! You might think you’re getting a bargain, but that top will fray or fade very rapidly and end up in landfill, where it’ll rot and release loads of methane. You, meanwhile, will be buying yet another top to replace it.
· Consider your electrical waste. Keep hold of your mobile for another year, or buy more memory for your PC rather than binning it.