01 Dec Reducing your carbon footprint at home in East Finchley and North London
Environmental responsibility is something we are all feeling more of these days. If it’s not the protesters in London, it’s the countless scientific studies reported in the papers and the TV programmes and radio call-in shows that remind us that we should be doing more to take personal responsibility for the impact we have on the planet. We are often asked how we can help homeowners reduce their carbon footprint, so I thought I’d share a few of the things we say and do for them in and around East Finchley and North London.
Reduce your consumption of energy produced by the burning of fossil fuels. Natural gas and coal are mined, a process that’s harmful to the environment, then burning these fuels to create energy (both in the energy plants to create electricity and via the boiler in your home to feed your central heating) creates further environmental issues. Three ways of maintaining your lifestyle while reducing your environmental impact are: 1) install solar panels to reduce your drain on the National Grid, 2) install solar thermal panels to heat your water, and 3) replace your gas central heating with electric instead. Replacing all those radiators with underfloor heating can give a home a more spacious modern feel and going all the way with storage heaters will certainly win you environmental brownie points, though think carefully before you do so because electric heating is still not as efficient at actually heating your home as gas central heating.
When you heat your home, are you being energy efficient about it? If you think about the amount of time you spend in each room you’ll probably find that the vast majority of the time you’ll be in just two or three rooms, so heating your whole home seems a little inefficient. Timers and thermostats can solve this particular problem. With a thermostat on every radiator you can adjust the warmth they produce to suit how you use the room. And, by using the timer function on your master thermostat to turn your heating off at night or when you’re at work, and turn it on just in time for your return at the end of the day, you can save money and reduce your carbon footprint without compromising on comfort. Our plumbers and heating engineers can review your home heating system to help you decide how you can adapt it to be more energy efficient.
Many UK homes are old. We had fantastic periods of building in the Edwardian and Victorian eras and again in the 1920s and 1930s, but those homes were built long before modern thermal best practices came into effect. Therefore, we still see many homes with single glazing, air bricks, draughty floorboards, single brick external walls, and not enough insulation, which means that these properties are leaking way too much of their warmth into the atmosphere. With the introduction of EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) reports for most homeowners when they’re looking to sell, energy loss became a financial matter as well as an environmental one. Our team have helped lots of homeowners to install double glazing, ramp up their insulation and block up those draughts, all to minimise heat loss from their home.
One of the most wasteful ways we use electricity is to light our homes. How often do you walk out of the room and leave the light on? LED lighting and sensors to switch your lights off when you’ve been out of the room for a period of time will help. To go even further, you can install home automation tech which will add timers to your energy sensors to ensure that inside and out you only light what you need when you need it.
Appliance of energy
Do you have energy-hungry appliances on the go all the time? Like air con when there’s no need for it, tumble drier on practically 24 hours a day when a rack will do, free-standing electric radiators for draughty rooms, etc. Sometimes it just takes a little lifestyle shift to make a big difference.
Plant some trees
No matter how dedicated you are, you cannot help but create some CO2 emissions as a result of the way you live. It would be a seriously dedicated homeowner who was able to live without any kind of carbon footprint. You would have to live without gas and electricity, wear clothes you had made yourself from materials produced on your own property. You’d have to work from home and to do so without computers or mobile phones and, well, you get the picture. It’d be impossible. So, to offset the CO2 emissions you cannot help but make, or cause to be made, you can plant trees (because they eat CO2 for breakfast, lunch and dinner). There are many tree planning schemes you can get involved with all over the world.