Energy is one of those things that we take for granted. Our whole economy is based on the availability of energy that we use in our homes, cars and offices every day. Yet, our use of energy has a huge impact on our planet. Worldwide, energy use contributes practically two thirds of greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore contributes to climate change.
Currently, we rely mostly on fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) to meet our energy needs. This is unsustainable. We must make a transition from our current fossil fuel-based energy system to one predominantly based on renewable energy, which will reduce our emissions and protect our brilliant world.
A key way in which we can reduce our impact on the environment is by changing a few of our habits and encouraging others to do the same. There are many steps we as individuals can take – from showing those in power that we care about climate change to caring for the environment by reducing our individual impacts.
Here are some simple tips on how to reduce your energy footprint:
- Buy energy efficient electricity appliances and look out for the Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo.
- Switch off appliances when you are not using them. Households are thought to spend about 8% of their electricity bill simply by powering appliances in standby.
- Heating and hot water use up to 60% of the average UK household fuel bill – so try to shorten showers and turn the thermostat down by one degree.
- Wash your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees. It will be just as effective!
- Switch to energy-saving light bulbs. In the UK, lighting accounts for roughly 20% of household energy bills.
- Recycle. UK recycling saves more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the equivalent of taking 5 million cars off the road.
- About a quarter of your energy bill could be lost (literally) through the roof, so insulating it makes a lot of sense.
- Installing cavity wall insulation is a quick and easy job that can really make a difference.
- Plugging in the little gaps (like the one under your door) from where heat can slip away is another great way of doing your bit, and using a draught excluder is another simple great idea.
- Finally why not take a quick quiz to estimate the impact your actions are having on the planet. It might kick-start you into action!
WWF’s Earth Hour is another perfect opportunity to engage with the impacts we have on the planet, and as the world’s largest participation event (last year hundreds of millions of people across 135 countries took part), it carries a powerful message. And all you have to do is switch the lights off for one hour on 31 March at 8.30pm.
But it’s not about saving electricity. It’s about realising that the actions we take, from the way we travel to work to the food we buy, have a direct impact on our planet. And we all depend on our amazing planet and need to look after it – not just for an hour a year, but every day.