We hear a lot these days about our carbon footprint and ways in which companies try to offset their carbon impact by planting trees etc. However, we are not quite so aware that each home in the UK contributes 28% of the national total putting the humble home on a par with heavy industry.
What Are Co2 Emissions?
Co2 emissions are the amounts of carbon dioxide produced by using energy and burning fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal.
Every time we use an electrical appliance, heat and light our homes or power up our electronic gadgets, we add to the combined carbon burden which affects climate change.
Co2 Facts And Figures
- Each home in the UK produces approximately six tonnes of Co2 each year. That is more than a car produces and six times the weight of rubbish we throw away.
- According to the Energy Saving Trust, It would take a forest three and a half times the size of London to absorb the Co2 our homes give off in a year.
- If everyone in the UK installed only one energy-saving light bulb, enough Co2 could be saved to fill the Royal Albert Hall nearly 2,000 times over.
Co2 As A Greenhouse Gas
The Earth has a protective blanket layer of gases – including Co2 – which helps to insulate it and maintain a comfortable climate. This is called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’. The release of vast quantities of Co2 into the atmosphere contributes to this effect, trapping heat and warming the Earth faster and hotter than many scientists believe is safe. For this reason, Co2 has become known as a ‘greenhouse gas’ and the topic of robust debate within scientific and environmental communities.
Ways To Reduce Household Co2 Emissions
There are many simple ways by which we can reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced in our homes – and many statistics to show that if everyone did a little bit, together we could be very effective in reducing overall consumption.
By implementing some of the following suggestions, it has been estimated that you could reduce your household’s carbon footprint by two tonnes per year and be at least £200 better off.
- Turn down the heating by 1 degree. In doing this, you could immediately save 10% on your annual heating bill.
- Hang clothes outside or on an airer to dry and resist using a tumble dryer.
- Replace your lights with energy-saving bulbs – and remember to switch them off when not in use.
- Turn appliances off at the wall and don’t leave on standby, which continues to drain electricity.
- Boiling a kettle is very energy-intensive. Only heat enough water for your needs, and don’t fill the whole jug.
- Insulate your loft and lag your boiler.
Carbon Off-Setting Schemes
For those who wish to go further and make up in some way towards the energy they use every day, schemes exist whereby the carbon used is ‘off-set’ against and energy-saving project. For instance, some companies whose staff need to use air travel (which is hugely energy-consuming), help compensate for the Co2 produced by contributing to a project where trees are planted (which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere).
Rather than leave it to the big businesses, there are smaller schemes where ‘credits’ can be purchased to the value of the carbon produced, which go towards emission reduction projects.
The Government has this year set a target to reduce Co2 emissions by up to 80% by 2050 – an increase on previous figures and one welcomed by environmental groups.
So what are you waiting for? In living a low carbon lifestyle, you could be saving the planet as well as saving money.