Switch your home to clean renewable energy
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions have decreased by 43% since the 1990s, mainly due to the switch from coal to renewable energy in industry. Residential use by households has decreased by 16% over the same period, and now contributes about 18% of our total emissions (excluding travel).
But there are some areas which are showing alarming rises. The UK government is likely to miss its legally binding target of a further 31% reduction by 2030. It is on course for just a 10% reduction. But as domestic use and travel accounts for 35% of the UK’s CO2, there is a lot that all of us can do to help.
You can switch to a 100% clean energy company or choose to switch to a green tariff with your existing company which invests in energy produced from water, wind or sun. You may save money, but you’ll be reducing pollution and CO2 emissions, and keeping fossil fuel in the ground, so you’re helping to fight climate change. And by changing to renewable energy, you’re helping the British Clean energy industry to invest more in renewables.
Help grow community energy in your area
We know that generating electricity from renewable sources is vital to reduce our use of fossil fuels – and thus their emissions that contribute to climate chaos. As we move away from oil and gas we need to increase our electricity supply significantly. This includes local schemes which benefit both the individuals who invest and the community, through local democratic involvement and funding for community projects.
The good news is that nationally and locally, changes are under way to support local projects. Local community energy projects are usually part of a network, sharing expertise and resources. We want our distrist Horsham to benefit – and have established Community Energy Horsham to help bring community solar energy projects to Horsham District.
We are seeking roofs – eg on churches, public buildings, care homes, industrial buildings – where the owners or tenants could use home generated electricity (cheaper than the grid). If you have any ideas and for more information email . To learn about community energy in other areas visit Community Energy England.
The transport sector (commercial and residential) accounts for about 33% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions. It hit a peak in 2007, and then fell back to 1990 levels, because cars are becoming more efficient.
In 2018, over half of those emissions were from air transport. Consumption of aviation fuel increased by 93%, and air travel, including international travel to and from the UK now accounts for 8% of all our greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from air travel have more than doubled between 1990 and 2018. There are a few things you can do:
- Don’t fly! If a meeting can be done online, you’ll save time and money. And have a staycation.
- Travel light. You’ll have lower carbon emissions if you don’t add to an aircraft’s weight
- Use a carbon calculator and offset your carbon footprint when you fly, including your road travel
- Use your local airport to cut down on road miles, and fly direct where possible
- Choose your airline carefully. Some airlines, such as EasyJet, have newer planes and optimize passenger capacity, so they score highly. Those with older planes and business and first class, such as British Airways, score lower.
Domestic households account for about 35% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions when you add in travel, and this is not declining, because we are driving more. Nearly half of our domestic emissions come from car transport. Cars are becoming more fuel efficient, and this is helping, but there are a number of things that you can do to reduce your transport’s carbon footprint.
- drive less, drive outside peak times, use public transport, or car share
- drive steady, don’t brake or accelerate, and keep to the speed limit. It’ll reduce your fuel mileage by 33%
- maintain your car and keep tyres fully inflated, and replace air, oil and fuel filters. It’ll save up to 40% on fuel.
- consider moving to an electric vehicle, but do your homework and get one that is right for you. There are no easy comparisons, because it depends on your driving habits, but for instance In the UK in 2019, the lifetime emissions per kilometre of driving a Nissan Leaf EV were about three times lower than for the average conventional car.
- Fill your electric car with ‘green’ electric energy by switching to a green provider using BigCleanSwitch. There’s no point in running it on electricity from fossil fuels. And if you own a hybrid, make sure you keep the fuel cell topped up, or you’ll be running on petrol most of the time.
Most domestic household consumption is from cooking and heating. You can retrofit your home to lose less energy, and switch to green energy. Here are a few tips to reduce consumption:
- unplug phone chargers and switch off appliances on standby
- microwave instead of using the oven.
- use LED bulbs
- make sure energy guzzling appliances like fridges and freezers have an energy efficiency rating. The Energy Saving Trust offers advice on choosing and using appliances.
- There can be a big money-saving difference between an A rated applicant and A+, because the latter is more efficient.
- The energy labelling changes on 1st March 2021 and the UK has adopted the EU system. Label2020 has the latest information for different countries.
You now have an option to generate your own green electricity in the home, and get paid to supply it back to the grid. The Energy Saving Trust has great advice on the different types of energy that are right for you.
- Renewable electricity can come from solar panel, hydro power, wind turbines, and new micro-CHP. It’s essential to have a good battery store if you are generating electricity in this way.
- You can generate heat from air source or ground source heat pumps, biomass boilers, or solar panels. Again, you’ll need a god thermal store such as an immersion or storage heaters to regulate use.