Green Living – Save Energy and the Planet, Save Money
Sustainable living, or green living, is a way of living that attempts to reduce, or optimise, usage of the Earth’s limited natural resources and minimise the negative impact that individuals, groups, and society as a whole, are having on the World around us – reducing their CO2 footprint, and through that, Global Warming.
Many people ask the question “How can I be greener and help save the environment” – it’s easy to do your bit and adopt sustainable, green living methods that don’t require massive change or disruption to your life.
Live Green – Sustainable / Ecological Living Tips
Sustainable living is primarily driven by altering 5 factors in our day-to-day lives:
- Energy Consumption
- Food and Diet
- Around the Home
By changing the negative aspects of these factors, green living people aim to live without, or with a minimum of, negative impact on their environment. Adopting methods of sustainability, recycling, energy saving, and respect for mankind’s symbiotic relationship with the Earth, individuals can greatly reduce their negative impact on the Planet.
Living Green Is Easy
Becoming more ecologically responsible is surprisingly simple. Of course, we recommend moving into your own Shoreline Eco Home, which will reduce your carbon footprint, and your utility bills, but even without buying a splendid new eco home, anyone can become greener and more environmentally responsible by following a few simple steps.
Below, we introduce some steps that will allow you to start living greener without disrupting your lifestyle. We hope you find them useful, and a starting point on your route to adopting a more environmentally friendly lifestyle:
Transportation accounts for almost a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions (Dept of Energy & Climate Change 2009 Statistics), and our cars comprise a large proportion of that. Travelling by bicycle, or public transport, or walking short distances could save lots of pollution. Although living without a car is certainly not easy, using it only when you really have to can save you money, especially given the price of petrol/diesel these days.
Keep your car tuned-up to get the most economical use of fuel. Remember that type pressure can affect your vehicle’s efficiency – so keep tyres blown up to the correct pressure. Beyond tyre pressure is the rolling resistance of your tyres – some brands have higher resistance than others, which reduces your fuel economy – so look for low rolling resistance when buying tyres.
Buying a green or hybrid vehicle will also reduce your fuel costs and help the environment.
Lower Your Energy Consumption
Using less energy can save you lots of money – and can be a very simple way of reducing your carbon footprint:
Optimise Your Heating
Thermostats are generally set by default to 21°C for living areas. By turning your thermostat down by 3° to 18°C – it will reduce your heating bill by around 30%. If your water temperature is set higher than 50°C, turn it down to 50°C – or even 40°C – modern clothing detergents are designed to work better at lower temperatures, the boil wash is almost entirely a thing of the past nowadays.
Switch Electrical Equipment Off When Not in Use
TVs use around 100watts of power when switched on, and 2 watts on standby – Plasma screens use around 400watts, and 4 watts on standby. Turn them off properly when you’re not using them.
It may not be practical to turn off your computer if you use it throughout the day – but you can switch off the monitor, printer, scanner or other peripherals when you’re not using them.
The average household pays around £37/year extra for electrical equipment left on standby.
Unplug Chargers when Not in Use
Phone/mp3 player/portable device chargers still convert and use electricity when the device isn’t plugged in to the charger – as a whole the UK loses enough electricity this way to power 115,000 homes (over £67 million).
Turn Off The Lights
It is untrue that turning lights on and off causes surges in your electrical use – whether leaving a room for 20 hours, 20 minutes or 20 seconds, turning the light off when you leave saves energy. Using energy efficient light bulbs massively cuts the amount of money spent on lighting – in the UK we currently spend £1.9 billion/year on a lighting.
Only Fill The Kettle As Much As You Need
Your kettle is one of the greatest consumers of power in your house – they are used often, and take considerable power to boil. Reducing the time it takes to boil a kettle is easy – just fill it up to the level you need – you don’t need a full kettle for one or two cups of tea. Buy an energy-saving kettle for a 20% reduction in the energy used to boil water.
Wastage and The Three ‘R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Buy and use only what you need. Buy goods made from recycled materials whenever you can.
Before you throw an item away, can it be used for something else, or by someone else?
Make sure you dispose of all recyclable waste in recycle bins so it can be made into something new.
Friends of the Earth’s 50+ top tips for Cutting Waste will give you lots of tips for reducing your waste.
Food and Diet
The processes through which we obtain our food are not always carbon-friendly. The importing of foods from abroad involves much transportation – planes, trains, lorries etc. Food may not be packaged in green/recycled materials.
The following tips will help reduce your carbon ‘foodprint’
Buy Locally-Grown Foods from Farmers’ Markets, Speciality Shops or Local Grocers
By buying your food locally, you support the local farmers, reduce the number of ‘food miles’ your food has to travel to get to you, and it helps ensure local farmland is maintained.
Cook with the Seasons
Eat food when it is ‘in season’ – when it would be available naturally. This gives you all the benefits of the first tip, plus your food is less likely to have been grown using year-round indoor growing or chemically assisted processes.
As well as being better for the produce and sustainable, going organic reduces your exposure to chemicals such as pesticides. Much meat is made to grow bigger than natural using artificial growth hormones – by choosing organic, you ensure your meat and milk contains no traces of AGH – so is better for you and your family. You are also supporting local farmers who grow organically – so it’s good for them. Organic food tends to taste better too.
Buy Organic FairTrade
Not all foods can be produced locally, so for items like cocoa, chocolate, coffee and tea you may have to buy from abroad. You should buy fairtrade goods that ensure the producers of the food get a fair price for the food they produce, which allows them to continue to use long-term sustainable organic methods.
Choose Sustainable Seafood
Buy your seafood from sustainable sources – modern fishing techniques have resulted in the reduction of population of many different types of fish – which could affect the entire marine food chain. By choosing sustainable seafood you ensure that fish populations are maintained, so your favourite fish dish will be around for years to come. Otherwise, many commonly eaten breeds of fish face the possibility of extinction.
Around The Home
Some people say there’s no point trying to be environmentally friendly in the home when businesses produce far more pollution – that’s not entirely true. The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s 2009 statistics show that the Business category produced 72.4 million tonnes of Carbon Dioxide whereas Residential caused 76.4 million tonnes. Closer than you thought?
There are many things you can do in and around the home to live greener – from planting trees in your garden to insulating your home better:
Replace Traditional Light Bulbs
Energy-saving light compact fluorescent bulbs use far less electricity (up to 80% less) than their incandescent counterparts – and LED lights use even less. By changing all your incandescent bulbs for energy-saving bulbs, you’ll save on average of £37/year – or £590 over the lifetime of the bulbs (stats – Energy Saving Trust)
Trees take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and output Oxygen (O2) – if you have a garden and space, plant trees.
Insulate Your Home
Insulating your home is one of the most environmentally friendly actions you can take. Plus, it will save you lots of money on your energy bills – as well as helping to keep you warm in winter, and cool in summer.
Insulating your loft will save you around £150/year as well as reducing your carbon footprint. It stops heat escaping through your roof – remember, heat rises..
Around one third of the heat lost in homes is through the walls – cavity wall insulation significantly reduces this, saving you around £115 a year.
Solid walls can be insulated internally or externally, saving up to £400/year on your energy bills
By insulating under the floorboards, you will make your house more comfortable, at the same time saving around £50/year.
Pipes and Hot Water Tank
Insulating your hot water tank and the plumbing pipes ensures you’re not wasting energy keeping your water hot enough.
Get Double Glazing
Double glazing reduces the amount of heat lost through the windows by half. It works by trapping air between two panes of glass creating an insulating barrier that reduces heat loss, noise and condensation
Buy Energy-Saving White Goods
New fridges, washing machines, driers, dishwashers, microwaves and other kitchen appliances are nowadays rated for energy efficiency, which makes it easier to identify appliances for green living – look out for the energy rating when you shop – A is the best rating. Your fridge and freezer run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – choosing energy-saving devices reduces the CO2 output, and saves you money.
Dry Your Clothes Naturally
Instead of throwing your wet clothes into a drier, dry them outside on a washing line, or hang them over a clothes horse inside and let them dry naturally.
The above selection of hints and tips can start you on the grand adventure into green living and becoming more environmentally friendly. There are many more things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint, all of which will help to save the Planet for future generations – and most of them save you money too.
Our Shoreline Eco Homes were constructed from the foundations up to maximise their energy efficiency and minimise their environmental impact. Living a green life has never been easier.
Find out more about our innovative eco house designs.