The Scottish Government has introduced ambitious targets to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2045 and has committed that, from 2024. Meeting these targets will involve huge changes to our homes and how we use energy. So this Scottish Housing Day, to give you a headstart, we wanted to share some great ways that we can all do our bit with our ‘Climate Emergency top 10 tips’:
- Insulate your home
Unless you’re using clean renewable energy, all the energy we use in our homes leads to additional carbon emissions. Over half of home energy is used for heating, so the most important step homeowners can take is to make sure that the walls, roofs and windows are insulated, cutting back on heat waste.
Around half of UK homes are still using inefficient gas or oil boilers. If you’ve still got an old-style inefficient boiler (anything fitted before 2005 will almost certainly be inefficient by today’s standards) think about whether now is the right time to change it. You will save on carbon emissions and fuel bills. You can check whether you are eligible for support to upgrade your boiler and insulate your home by visiting https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/
- Energy efficient appliances
While insulating and changing the way we heat our homes is the big carbon saving opportunity, choosing energy efficiency appliances that use fewer resources is a straightforward way to reduce your carbon footprint. How you use your appliances can also affect how much energy they use – wet appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines, typically account for 10% of a household’s energy bills. Frequency of use is one factor but choosing lower temperatures and airing clothes on a line rather than using a tumble dryer, for example, will reduce energy consumption.
Lighting is one of the big success stories of home energy efficiency. A modern LED bulb uses 80-90% less energy than a traditional lightbulb and the energy saving will soon pay back the extra investment. So switch away from traditional light bulbs and halogen bulbs as soon as possible.
- Use renewable energy
Many energy suppliers are now providing green energy tariffs that allow households to reduce their carbon footprint. Green energy tariffs work by having the supplier promise to match all or some of the electricity you use with renewable energy. This renewable energy is then fed back into the National Grid. So, the more people who sign up to a green energy tariff, the bigger the percentage of green energy in the national supply. You can use money saving expert to see what tariffs are available.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
As well as the energy we use directly in our homes, every product we buy has a carbon footprint- the energy used in making that product will almost certainly have caused some carbon emissions.
One way of reducing emissions from products of all types within the home is to reduce the amount you consume, re-use wherever possible and recycle when you no longer need something.
Since the Covid-19 lockdown began in March 2020, many people across the UK have reduced their transport emissions by switching to walking or cycling over short distances. If you do need to drive, consider switching your petrol or diesel vehicle for an electric or plug-in hybrid car. Electric vehicles reduce emissions and improve air quality. The initial purchase price of an electric vehicle is often higher than a petrol or diesel equivalent but lower running costs over its lifetime help balance the initial outlay, and there is no doubt about the environmental benefit. Find out more in about the help available to buy electric bikes and cars at the Energy Saving Trusts website: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk
- Eat less meat and dairy
Research released in 2018 about the damage done by farming revealed meat and dairy uses 83% of farmland and produces 60% of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions. If you don’t want to cut out meat and dairy completely, reducing the amounts you consume will make a big difference.
- Buy more locally sourced, seasonal food
Fife has some fantastic food suppliers. Buying local produce supports the regional economy and also cuts down on the miles that our food has to travel to make it to your plate.
- Throw less food away
Around one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption, or about 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year. Food thrown away ends up in landfill which releases methane gas, speeding up the impact of climate change. We have some fantastic sustainable food initiatives across the region that redistribute food that would otherwise be thrown away. You can visit Nourish Scotland to find out more.
Find Out More
If you enjoyed reading our top tips and would like further information, get in touch with our energy adviser, Derek Smith. We would be happy to help you find out more about improving energy efficiency and reducing your carbon footprint.