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Going Green On A Budget

Going green on a budget

Going green on a budget

Is going green on a budget even possible?

This is a subject I think about quite a lot, I do sometimes feel that as a person who is into sustainability that I need to buy an electric car and an air source heat pump to save the environment but unfortunately, and despite a lot of looking, I still haven’t found £100,000 under the sofa to pay for it all, so what can we do?

Think smaller and do the simple things first

1. Don’t leave appliances running unnecessarily

A lot of people switch the oven on and then don’t put anything in it for 30 minutes, that’s used 1.5kwh of electricity (or about 75p in the UK). It’s released 150g of CO2e based on the electricity used, which might not sound like much but if you imagine doing that 10 times a month or 120 times a year, that’s moved those factors to 180kwh which is £90 and 18kg of CO2e per year.

So turning electrical appliances off when they’re not in use is a good start. People often fixate on turning the TV off at the wall, but an electric oven will use around 600 times more electricity than a TV will on standby, so turn the TV at the wall, but keep an eye on the oven as well. An iron will use around 400 times more electricity than a TV on standby, and a tumble-dryer will probably be in-between an oven and an iron.

2. Switch to LED light bulbs

We’ve changed every bulb in our house to LED bulbs, it wasn’t cheap but you can find deals for bulk boxes of bulbs on Amazon, eBay and occasionally in supermarkets, to bring the price per bulb down to less than £2 per bulb. We’ve probably spent over £300 to replace all our bulbs but we’re already seeing the electric bill drop and therefore we’re creating less emissions. I don’t know the figures for our house but a quick Google will show you that people can go from lighting being 18% of their bill, down to less than 2% of their bill, which can make a considerable difference and the payback can be quite quick, given the current high electricity prices.

3. Think outside the box to heat your home

Heating is also a huge part of peoples utility bills. Most of the UK heats their home with natural gas, which isn’t cheap at the moment, so how can you reduce your usage of gas? Most people do the same thing, they turn down their thermostat, but did you ever think that your curtains can help? If you’ve got rooms that get a lot of sun, leave the curtains open when the sun is shining and it will warm the room up for free. Leaving the door open, will let that heat move around the house and can end up making a degree or 2 difference. Consider changing any radiator valves that don’t have one, to a thermostatic radiator valve (or TRV for short).

4. Analyse your behaviours

The quickest way to reduce emissions, and save money, is to look into your bills.

Here are some quick and easy fixes to reduce your footprint in your own home:

  • If you’ve got a smart meter, see if you can adjust it to give 30-minute updates. These allow utility suppliers to offer usage figures through the day so you can spot the high usage times.
  • If you have one, try using the dishwasher instead of handwashing, you might find you save water and gas.
  • Check the house for draughts and try to block them.
  • If you’re looking for new white goods, check the energy rating, an extra £50 on a tumble drier to update to a heat pump version can reduce the electricity needed by 50% or more. Upgrade the loft insulation.
  • Turn the heating down by 1ºC. Check your hot water tank isn’t set too high, look to see if you can turn down the water temperature from your boiler to your radiators.

All of those actions can be cheap, or even free, but they will save you money and reduce your emissions, so it’s a win-win for your budget and the environment.

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