We all watched Extinction Rebellion take to the streets over the last few weeks. Whether or not you agree with their tactics, they have certainly succeeded in getting us all talking about climate change. Major initiatives to help the environment generally need to be led by government and big business but there are lots of things we can all do at home to make a difference.
So here are five ideas from online property agents Residential People that we can all consider.
Conserve water –the Earth only has a 2% supply of fresh water and access to more is costly. As water is a limited resource and is already becoming scarce in parts of the world, we should all keep a close eye on our usage. Swap baths for showers, limit showers to four minutes by investing in a timer and change your shower head for a more efficient version. The Energy Saving Trust claims you could save nearly £200 a year by doing this. Also, flush less, avoid doing half-loads of washing and make the best use of rainwater in the garden.
Use natural products – whether it’s for cleaning or personal use, it’s getting easier all the time to swap out chemical products for natural replacements. Think how your granny cleaned her home – vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, salt and lemons are all making a come-back! By being conscious of what you’re unleashing into the environment, you can conserve plants, trees and wildlife and help keep water clean.
Start composting – compost is a natural fertiliser. It’s a non-toxic way of encouraging plant growth and requires minimal effort. You could even start a composting campaign in your block. Your local authority may already have a food waste collection service. If not, if you have a communal garden, talk to your block manager and fellow leaseholders or renters about installing a compost bin, hot composter or food digester and use your food waste to feed your veggie patch or flower beds.
Insulate your home– Loft insulation, double- or triple-glazed windows, window dressings and dry walls are all physical solutions to insulating your home but not all of these are necessarily practical if you live in a block of flats or rent your home. However, there are behavioural changes you can adopt which you can also benefit from. Really simple things like keeping internal doors closed, keeping windows sealed when necessary and layering up when at home can save energy and cut down on carbon emissions.
Consider solar panels – these are a very effective way of conserving energy but, again, may not be appropriate for your block. However, if you have the right kind of roof, solar panels could save you and your neighbours money and help the environment in the long term. Installation can be an expensive and complex process for some blocks but if enough leaseholders are interested, it is worth talking to your property manager to find out whether or not solar panels are feasible and financially viable.
Finally, some quick wins.
- Turn your heating down by a degree or two, make sure your boiler is serviced regularly and fit individual thermostats to your radiators.
- Invest in smart heating controls that you can adjust from your phone.
- Turn the lights out when you leave the room and invest in energy efficient bulbs.
- If you have a smart meter, take some time to consider which appliances use the most electricity and/or gas and minimise their use – and avoid leaving electrical appliances on standby.
This way we can all reduce our fuel bills and help save the planet without having to protest on the streets.