Top tips

Insulation

If you have poor insulation you will be losing energy, CO2 and money hand over fist.

Roof - Check what is in your loft/roof and make sure that it is well insulated. Mineral wool insulation can be bought fairly reasonably in any DIY store and fitted yourself or by others (make sure you wear appropriate protective gear if doing this yourself).

Walls - Do you have cavity walls? Are they filled with insulation? Grants are available for those wishing to have their cavity walls filled and often these grants will cover half the costs depending on your situation. Whilst there is an initial cost outlay for this activity, it could cut your energy bills in half if you are in a detached house and with energy prices increasing this is a sensible step to take.

Windows - Double glazed windows make a huge difference in terms of energy lost and also in terms of noise reduction if you are on or near a busy road. This will be an initial cost outlay but might be worth considering if you are staying in the house for a while and want to reduce your ongoing costs and/or the noise levels in your living spaces

Things to do around the house

  • Switch off taps when you are not using them (including when you are cleaning your teeth!)
  • Put a jumper on rather than switch on the heating if you are slightly cold (we don't mean walk round in a duvet with icicles hanging off your nose, but just be aware that a jumper could do the trick!)
  • Look at getting proper heating controls (thermostats on all radiators and room thermostats), this means you will only heat the areas you need to heat.
  • Don't heat the outdoors! Leaving the heating on and opening windows is wasting heat and money.
  • Get good / easy to use recycling boxes / facilities. No one can force anyone recycle but if the facilities are there and easy to us, why wouldn't we? See the waste page for more information on recycling.
  • Get a water / energy monitor. What an incentive to save money / water if you can see what money you are saving because you turned the television off standby or only filled the kettle as much as you needed. It can also become fun to see what you do and how much impact it has on your energy and water consumption.
  • Turn all appliances off standby when you are not using them.
  • Close curtains in winter so they act as an extra layer of insulation.
  • Compost! See composting page.
  • Buy low energy use appliances.
  • Check your boiler efficiency, if you replace a boiler now, regulations state that you must have a condensing boiler. This is more efficient than an older boiler but still comes in ranges of efficiency. Every boiler has a SEDBUK rating - see www.sedbuk.com for more details. Also see the Energy Savings Trust's "Whole house boiler sizing wizard" to see which boiler is appropriate for your house http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/business/Business/Building-Professionals

For more information on saving energy and CO2 within your home see www.energysavingstrust.org.uk

Things to do in the office / place of work

  • See if you have an energy/water/waste policy in place and how it is being implemented
  • See if any energy/water/waste audits have been done or if there are any plans to undertake them.
  • Do you have any energy/water/waste targets, and who monitors them and how are your company doing.
  • See how you can contribute to this. Do you need posters around the office telling people to switch their computers off standby before they leave for the night? Do you need to speak to the facilities manager about using recycled paper in the printer or installing new dual flush toilets in the new toilet block being built or providing proper paper, plastic, glass and aluminium recycling stations?
  • Volunteer to be the environmental representative if there isn't one and set about monitoring the current state of play before setting targets and introducing strategies to reduce resource consumption. The carbon trust offer free advice to companies looking to reduce their carbon footprint and their website is a good place to start www.carbontrust.co.uk

For more information on saving energy and CO2 within an organisation see www.carbontrust.co.uk