Climate_Change1

We can all reduce our impact on climate change by making a few simple changes to our lifestyle. money on our energy bills and increasing the quality of our local environment.

Over 40% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions come from the energy we use every day; at home and when we travel. The average UK home is responsible for around 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions every year.

You could save 1.5 tonnes by adopting simple energy efficiency measures such as insulating and turning electrical appliances off when not in use.

There are also many simple and easy ways you can prepare for the impacts we may experience into the future as a result of climate change, such as signing up your home for flood warnings from the Environment Agency.

 

Energy efficiency

  • Turn down your thermostat. By reducing your room temperature by 1°C, you could cut your heating bills by up to 10 per cent, and typically save around £55 a year. If you have a programmer, set your heating and hot water to come on only when you need them, rather than leaving them on all the time.
  • You can get free, independent and local energy saving advice from the Energy Saving Trust by phoning 0800 512 012 (Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm), or visit their website www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/ to find out what grants and discounts are available to help fund energy saving measures in your home.
  • The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) supports vulnerable people in, or at risk of, fuel poverty.  Households who qualify for ‘Affordable Warmth’ support can get low-cost or free improvements to their heating system and insulation, funded by the energy companies.  To find out if you are eligible for ‘Affordable Warmth’ support under ECO, call the Energy Savings Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or visit the ESAS section of the Energy Trust website to find out more.

Renewable energy

There are a number of renewable energy options available to homeowners, such as solar PV or biomass boilers, and two main government incentives to help reduce the cost – and even make money in some cases.

  • Feed-In tariffs – the government will pay you for the electricity you produce, even if you are using it yourself. The rates may have been reduced since 2012, but the cost of installation has also come down. Please see the Ofgem website www.ofgem.gov.uk for the rates, which are different for each type of technology for energy generation, and the same for any unused energy which will be ’exported’ to the grid.
  • Renewable heat premium payment (now extended to 31st March 2014) – a government scheme to help make renewable technologies more affordable. You can apply to receive a voucher, with the value depending on the technology installed, for example, solar thermal hot water – £300; air-to-water heat pump – £850; ground-source or water-source heat pump – £1,250, biomass boiler – £950.

Also available for the South East is Green Chain, a directory of suppliers of low carbon technologies and services. The site makes finding a supplier in your local area easier, and includes case studies and buyer guides. Access all information at www.greenchain.org.uk.

 

Water efficiency

  • Installing a water meter can help you to save not only on your water bill, but also on your energy bills. On average, domestic water heating accounts for 25 per cent of your household energy bill.
  • About a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water we use in our homes is flushed down a toilet. If your toilet has a large enough cistern, put in a Hippo or other displacement device which will save water each time you flush. Contact your water company to find out whether they can provide you with a free displacement device.

Travel

Public Transport
  • Transport direct at www.transportdirect.info/Web2/Home.aspx offers information for door-to-door travel for public transport, cycling and car journeys.
  • Traveline at www.traveline.info/ is a partnership between local authorities and transport operators in the UK set up to provide impartial and comprehensive information about public transport.
Efficient Driving
  • Modern cars use virtually no extra fuel when they’re restarted without pressing the accelerator, so there’s no need to let the engine idle.
  • Change up a gear between 2,000rpm and 2,500rpm. Shift up a gear earlier to reduce engine friction and increase efficiency.
  • Anticipate as far ahead as possible to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, as this wastes fuel. Avoid excessive speeds when possible. Driving at 85mph uses approximately 25 per cent more fuel than 70mph.
  • Ensure your tyres are filled at the correct pressure; under-inflated tyres will increase your fuel consumption.

Waste and recycling

Reduce
  • Mailing preference service at www.mpsonline.org.uk/mpsr/ is supported by the Royal Mail to make sure you don’t receive any unwanted mail. This will reduce your paper waste.
  • In this country we throw away 7.2million tonnes of food a year. Visit the Love Food, Hate Waste website at www.england.lovefoodhatewaste.co/ to see how you can reduce your food waste.
  • Why not consider using your local milk delivery service? Dairies re-use the glass milk bottles by cleaning, sterilising and refilling them. This reduces the need for single-use milk containers.
  • Freecycle is a registered charity which aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to land fill by re-using rather than disposing of unwanted items. Users upload details of items they don’t want, which can viewed and accepted by another user and collected for free.
  • Use your local library. Libraries can order in thousands of books, films and CDs, including new releases.
  • Say ‘No’ to unwanted bags. Keep old shopping bags for re-use. Supermarkets offer their customers bags for life, which are harder-wearing bags that last longer.
  • To find your nearest recycling banks, please visit www.recyclenow.com
  • Kent County Council can dispose of your unwanted vehicle free of charge. Please contact the call centre on 0845 345 0210 for more details, or fill out an online vehicle surrender form which can be found by searching vehicle surrender at www.Kent.gov.uk
Reuse
  • Freecycle is a registered charity which aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to land fill by re-using rather than disposing of unwanted items. Users upload details of items they don’t want, which can viewed and accepted by another user and collected for free.
  • Use your local library. Libraries can order in thousands of books, films and CDs, including new releases.
  • Say ‘No’ to unwanted bags. Keep old shopping bags for re-use. Supermarkets offer their customers bags for life, which are harder-wearing bags that last longer.
Recycle
  • To find your nearest recycling banks, please visit www.recyclenow.com
  • Kent County Council can dispose of your unwanted vehicle free of charge. Please contact the call centre on 0845 345 0210 for more details, or fill out an online vehicle surrender form which can be found by searching vehicle surrender at www.Kent.gov.uk.
  • Use unwanted or out of date food as compost. Compost can be used in a number of ways. It may be used in landscaping such as lawns, shrubs, and trees. Flower and vegetable gardens can benefit from the addition of compost as well. Vegetable gardens and fruit trees, for example, that have had the benefit of compost, tend to produce healthier vegetables and fruit that are free of the chemicals found in fertilizers.  To learn more: http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Composting-and-Landscaping-at-Home.17332.html#ixzz3hkfEsrAv

Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Sign up to flood warnings from the Environment Agency at www.environment-agency.gov.uk/  and searching for “Floodline Warnings Direct” or calling Floodline on 0845 988 1188.
  • To assess your risks from Climate Change visit the Three Regions Climate Change Group website at www.london.gov.uk/trccg/ which also includes resources, publications and case studies around Climate Change adaptation and mitigation.
  • For these and other resources, including advice on heat-waves, search preparing for severe weather at www.kent.gov.uk and search for “Preparing for Severe Weather”.