The Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 2C over the coming decades came into force on November 4 2016. You might think that this agreement to cut carbon emissions only applies to big companies and governments, but it also applies to you as a citizen. If you’re worried about the gradual warming of the planet, there’s lots you can do to help from the comfort of your own home. Here are some of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Switch over to LED bulbs
LED bulbs and lights aren’t as expensive as they once were and they’re even better for the environment and your energy bills than halogen bulbs. LED lights can last for many years, so any extra initial outlay is soon recouped. Plus, when actually in use, these lights use less than 10% of the energy used by regular bulbs.
Turn down your thermostat
By turning your thermostat down a degree or two, you’ll be saving anything up to 15% of your energy use over the course of the year. This is especially important to do if you use home heating oil, as you can make your supply last longer.
Plug your devices
By unplugging devices like tablets and laptops, as well turning off wall sockets with chargers in, you can save up to €100 each year, not to mention the carbon emissions!
Use your car less
Some cars can emit their own bodyweight in carbon each year! Think of ways you could use your car less – walk to school or work, or take the bus into town. See if friends or neighbours can car-share into town or school – one car uses less fuel than two, right?
Ditch the desktop
Laptops are designed to have energy-efficient batteries – being free from a plug socket is the point of a laptop, after all! The average laptop can be as much as 80% more efficient than a desktop computer, so when it’s time to renew your PC, go portable.
Eat more local produce
It’s great that we can buy strawberries all year round, but it’s an expensive luxury – not only for your wallet but for the planet. Those December strawberries may have been transported hundreds of miles before you buy them, costing money and carbon. Eat as seasonally and as locally as possible – set yourself a challenge to make seasonal, local produce as interesting as you can. You could even try growing your own fruit and vegetables; think in wheelbarrow miles, not air miles!
Plant some trees
Planting a tree or three is one of the best ways to cut your carbon. Trees can absorb up to 48lbs of carbon dioxide each year, as well as releasing enough oxygen to sustain two adult humans!
Use energy-efficient kitchen appliances
Think of pressure cookers, slow-cookers, even the microwave. If you’re reheating some soup, don’t put it on the hob (unless you have a burner or range and it’s already on), heat it on low in the microwave. Similarly, invest in a pressure cooker, as this can reduce cooking times hugely. Try batch-cooking and filling a freezer shelf with stews, chillies and soups that you can easily defrost. You can make ten meals from one cooking spree.