Reducing carbon emissions
02 July 2018
Taking up this challenge can bring benefits on many levels. The overriding principle is, of course, the global issue of climate change but measures to save energy and other resources can translate into cost savings too.
Ways to reduce your carbon usage
Measures can range from the simplest of actions, such as changing to energy-saving light bulbs, to planning for major works, such as the replacement of inefficient heating systems. the latter option, in some cases, grants are available to help cover the cost of their installation.
Here are a few examples
- Boiler replacement
Ageing boilers are both costly to run and inefficient, and improvements can be made simply by installing a modern replacement. It may, however, be possible to look at a biomass boiler which uses renewable, low-carbon fuel in the form of wood pellets or woodchip, or alternatives such as ground-source pumps.
- Generate your own power
Solar panels can be used to heat domestic hot water, while photovoltaic cells enable you to generate your own electricity supply and could also create a small income via the government’s Feed-in-Tariff scheme for any surplus. Other possibilities include wind turbines and combined heat and power systems for community schemes.
- Heat where you need it
Even if you are not contemplating replacing a heating system, there can be ways of reducing energy usage. The installation of zone control valves in buildings such as community halls to reduce the heat used in unoccupied areas can produce savings of between 5 and 10%. If your only control option is to have radiators on or off, individual radiator controls can enable you to vary the temperature – maintaining a background heat to protect against damp and freezing pipes and only increasing the temperature when rooms are in use.
Low cost energy-saving examples
- Insulating pipes
This can reduce energy loss by as much as 70% and save around 5% of the heating bill depending on the length of pipe
- Building insulation
Although not usually an option in older buildings, many built after the Second World War with lower ceilings and cavity walls could benefit
Double glazing can help to significantly reduce draughts. If double glazing it not possible on your building, insulated blinds or shutters are a good alternative.
It doesn't have to be complicated
Energy saving does not have to be a matter of major works and even the smallest steps can contribute to progress such as:
- Turning off lights when they are not needed
- Keeping doors closed to keep heat in
- Walking instead of driving.
And in our daily lives, there is always something that we as individuals can do. Using renewable energy can be as simple as using the sun to line-dry washing rather than always resorting to a tumble dryer.