How can individuals reduce their carbon footprint?
Definition of carbon footprint -
A representation of the effect your activities have on the climate in
terms of the total amount of greenhouse gases produced (measured in units
of carbon dioxide)
Firstly you need to know what your carbon footprint is. For this you
need to know how much energy your home uses, and how much other aspects
of your life use.
There's a very detailed one at Resurgence
- which you can download in either word / excel format or in a PDF file
and do the calculation yourself, or you can fill it in online.
You can also ring the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) on 0845
330 4593 for a free CD ROM
Actually you don't have to know your exact footprint - you've probably
already got a good idea that flying and having the heating full blast
isn't very enviromentally friendly. You can still take steps to reduce
your footprint and there are many simple things you can do to reduce your
However if you do work it out then it gives you a definate goal to work
from for reduction.
The average in the UK is about 10 tonnes of CO2. The fairshare footprint
should be 2.5 tonnes
How we can reduce the UK's carbon footprint
- ensure every building is insulated - and I mean every building
that uses heating!
- ensure that only energy efficient lighting is used. You can
get low energy dimmer bulbs now so no excuses. Go and swap your
lights this week for low energy bulbs and you can start saving
- ensure that as much renewable energy as possible is used (Use
the £££ they would have to spend on a nuclear
power plant on the stuff! Ground heat pumps, solar hot water,
wood burners even pv panels. Every little helps! If each property
managed to make 20% of it's energy itself then that'd be terrific!
Ideally we'd all make our own energy!
- Reduce the energy we use at home. Turn down the thermostats,
put a jumper on, get thermostatic valves on radiators.
- ensure that business is not penalised for adding eco-energy
as indicated in the 2007 prebudget speech.
- ensure that people are discouraged from using their cars - you're
going to have to get the bus but why shouldn't it be punctual,
cheap, clean and on time?
- All landlords should be obliged to insulate fully the properties
they let out, plus install other things like double glazing, economical
heating, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation.
- all new housing should be fitted with renewable energy sources,
be compliant with insulation regulations (and checked!!)
- Ban all night lights in empty buildings - impose MASSIVE fines
on those that do. The amout of energy that's wasted is shocking!
It'll cut the companies electricity bills too! And all those computers
left on overnight! They need to use low energy settngs and be
turned off when not in use.
- put solar panels on bus stops, street lighting
How much energy would we save if we turned out the street lights?
Maybe we need to fit them with sensors so they can motion detect
when they're needed? If they were all turned off people would
worry that crime would increase but would it? Do we need street
- Turn off lighting on adverts and those adverts which rotate,
move or light up - unless solar powered.
- Email or write to your MP - you can list the suggestions above
as a starting point to suggest they start cutting uk carbon emissions.