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How to live green at home

8 April 2020

  • Community
  • Saving energy

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Living green doesn’t always demand big changes like installing double glazing or renewable energy systems. There are things we can do in our homes to help us live more sustainably and people of all ages can get involved.

It is important to recognise during the current Covid-19 situation the importance of following Government advice to stay home as much as possible. In response to this, below we have detailed some actions that can be taken in the home to improve sustainability, and some will even cut costs on water and energy bills

Supporting biodiversity:

  • Birds:
    • Homemade birdboxes made out of repurposed wood can help rapidly declining bird populations, such as swifts, to safely reproduce.
  • Hedgehogs:
    • Leaving small gaps in fences allows hedgehogs to move freely between green spaces.
    • Log and leaf piles make for attractive nesting and hibernating sites.
  • Insects and bugs:
    • Leaving small piles of sticks, branches and leaves can provide the perfect little home for essential members of the ecosystem.

There are lots of other things we can do to make our gardens and outdoor spaces attractive for wildlife: just be creative!

Water:

Water is a vital resource we all use throughout every day and there are some small tweaks we can make to our daily behaviour to save both energy and money:

  • Using a bowl to wash rather than running a tap can save £25 per year.
  • Spending one minute less in the shower each day saves £7 off your energy bills annually, per person.
  • Taking showers instead of baths.
  • Using your washing machine one cycle less per week to save £8 on water per year.
  • Many water providers offer free water saving products (such as water saving shower heads) that they will send to your house. It is worth contacting your provider to discuss any options they may have.

 

 

Waste and recycling:

Waste has huge environmental consequences. Making the most of resources we already own is vital if we are to reduce the impact of our consumption patterns and there are some really easy ways to do this:

  • Fixing old clothes instead of replacing them is an easy way to reduce our demand on the supply system. Reducing further inputs in the supply of clothing is an opportunity that we often don’t utilise but that would make a huge difference.
    • Food waste is particularly relevant at this current time. With us all trying to minimise our journeys away from home, making the most of the food we do have is really important. Minimising the amount we waste is the easiest way to do this. Any food that does need to be thrown out can be disposed off using home composting systems or by using the food bin that is collected weekly.
    • Recycling is something we have all really taken to as members of the public and it is important to make sure we continue this trend. Recycling the right waste is vital as loads viewed as contaminated may be diverted to landfill. The search tool linked below will help to determine what you can put in your home recycling bin.

Energy:

Electricity is central to daily life and with many of us currently working from home it is possible for use to increase, so here are some easy ways to cut back:

  • Drying clothes outside instead of in a tumble drier would save an average of £37 per year.
  • Switch off standby: you can save around £30 per year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode.  
  • Using your washing machine one cycle less per week to save £5 on electricity.
  • A build-up of frost or ice in your freezer can stop it working efficiently, so defrost it regularly.

Heating:

is essential throughout the colder months of the year and we all rely heavily on it, but there are some ways we can increase our efficiency and therefore reduce our use:

  • Learning to use your heating controls properly could save you up to £150 per year.
  • Set your thermal radiator valves to 5 in the room you use most, 3 in other rooms, and to “frost” setting in rooms that you don’t use at all.

 

Whilst many of us are spending more time at home, we encourage everyone to see how they can adapt their behaviour in the home in order to live green. Everyone can get involved in leading us towards a more sustainable lifestyle.