Climate change has impacted almost every industry in the world, causing both businesses and individuals to make changes for a sustainable future. With environmental concerns coming to the forefront in recent years, people are starting
to make an effort to be more eco-friendly.
Considering the impact you have can benefit not only yourself, but the planet too. Starting at home is as good a place as any. This resource will look at how to improve your home and make it environmentally friendly, both in the
short and long term.
Climate change has sped up dramatically in the last 50 years, with global warming accelerating during the last 35. The warmest years on record have taken place since 2010.
Global warming causes melting ice caps and hotter oceans. In fact, the Arctic’s thickest and oldest sea ice is starting to break up as a result of Earth’s rising temperatures.
Sea levels are rising due to melting ice caps. Currently, seas are rising by 3 millimetres a year, but predictions say the rate could more than triple every year by 2100. That puts hundreds of coastal towns, cities and islands around the world at risk of being underwater within the next century.
Alongside these concerns, other changes happening around the world include:
As the UK has experienced in recent years, heat waves are becoming increasingly common around the world. Temperatures in the summer months are reaching record highs in many countries, with droughts causing water shortages and even deaths.
Smog is causing health issues in many of the world’s major cities, including Los Angeles, Beijing and New Delhi. There’s too much carbon in the air, causing warmer air, pollution and even respiratory issues in the worst affected
The number of people on Earth is increasing. With estimations of around 9.8 billion people living on the planet by 2050, natural resources will become strained.
It’s likely you’re aware of recent efforts to combat the deteriorating health of the environment. Companies are becoming more conscious of their emissions and how to ensure a sustainable future. Being green is a goal for many major corporations around the world, including:
IKEA is an example of a forward-thinking company, with the Swedish corporation boasting a staggering 700,000 solar panels powering their stores worldwide. IKEA also sources 100% of its cotton from farms meeting the Better Cotton standards, as well as announcing a goal to be powered entirely by renewable energy by 2020.
Although, some countries are considerably better than others at being environmentally friendly. Finland, a country dedicated to creating a carbon-neutral society, is currently the most eco-friendly in the world with an Environmental Performance Index rating of 90.68. The UK isn’t too far behind, at number 12 in the rankings.
A system which ranks 180 countries in terms of how environmentally friendly and sustainable they are. It works by quantifying the environmental performance of the countries’ policies.
The UK is one of the world’s most progressive countries in terms of helping the environment. Massive shifts are happening in every industry to try and tackle the growing issue of climate change, with 2016 (the most recent statistics on record) showing an overall decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in the country.
3.4mm: the amount that sea levels are currently rising by yearly.
54 million: the number of people at risk of flooding by 2030. That’s up from 21 million currently, according to a study from the World Resources Institute.
2'c: the predicted rise in average global temperature by 2100 if we continue producing greenhouse gases at the current rate.
13.2%: the average amount which the Arctic sea ice coverage is decreasing per decade.
There are areas where improvement is needed – especially in homes. In 2016, households were the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for one quarter of the country’s emissions. But it’s not just our homes. The ONS also states that greenhouse gas emissions have increased in the transport sector by 7% over the past few years, despite a steady decline between 2005 and 2013.
With electric cars, congestion charges and a transition to more renewable energy happening within the UK’s transport industry, a conscious effort to reduce these emissions is evident.
Introducing practices in your home that are good for the planet can also help your health.
Getting rid of things at home that could be causing harmful emissions will eliminate any toxic fumes. Volatile organic compounds (or VOCs) are a common issue with many household items, from paint to furniture, with these toxins causing:
Alternatives are now becoming more readily available, including mould and mildew resistant materials – two more common issues in the home that can have serious effects on your health.
By doing your best to replace these substances, also often found in many cleaning products, you’ll stop VOCs from affecting both your health and the planet.
Added benefits of eco-friendly living come as a result of natural lighting, improved air quality and a healthy indoor environment. You’ll feel more relaxed and comfortable.
It may not come as a surprise, but going eco-friendly in your home will save you money.
Here are some of the most significant areas to save:
Your heating bill will be reduced, as your house will keep heat in more efficiently.
which could add up to a significant total amount if you replace every bulb in your home.
alongside earning an extra £260 due to government feed-in tariffs.
Being eco-friendly has more perks than simply benefitting the Earth. Your wallet will thank you for it, too.
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Reducing your carbon footprint is something many people are becoming conscious of. There are plenty of ways to do so by changing things in your life that you may not even realise are harmful to the environment:
Not only is a balanced vegetarian/vegan diet better for your health than a meat-based one, as studies have shown, but agribusiness emissions are actually five times higher than that of fossil fuels. To get a single pound of beef,
it takes 5,000 gallons of water – a massive contributor to water scarcity around the world. Reduce the demand for beef and other meat, and you’ll help these numbers dwindle.
Many companies around the world are making a conscious effort to be more green, introducing eco-friendly practices within their businesses in order to ensure sustainability for the future. Choosing these companies over less environmentally-friendly
competitors will reduce your carbon footprint.
Electric cars are becoming much more common on our roads, as manufacturers look to produce more eco-friendly vehicles. The government offers plug-in grants for certain cars, in order to reduce the price you pay for your chosen
Reducing your carbon footprint will positively affect the lives of people across the Earth. With climate change damaging agriculture and growth of crops in many parts of the world due to droughts and global warming, hunger is a tangible threat.
Many undeveloped parts of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are currently suffering. Droughts also reduce access to safe water, and the heat allows illnesses such as malaria to spread due to mosquitoes being able
to survive in places that were previously too cool for them.
You’re part of a bigger picture – being eco-friendly contributes to creating a sustainable future for those after you.
Think about the long term effects if nothing is done:
The Arctic Ocean is predicted to become ice-free by 2050. Ice caps and sheets are melting as a result of global warming, and water levels are set to rise dramatically once the Arctic’s ice melts completely.
Hurricanes will become more powerful. As seen just last year, Hurricane Maria completely devastated Dominica and Puerto Rico during the worst natural disaster on record for the region. Global warming means future hurricanes are likely to be even more powerful, with the potential to devastate countries worldwide.
Precipitation patterns will change. Some locations will see more rain and others will see less – but, combined with the rising sea levels, flooding will become more severe and certain locations could be permanently underwater in the near future.
Of course, predictions about our future vary. Stephen Hawking famously declared we realistically only have 100 years left on the planet, urging us to relocate and become a multi-planetary species – but by thinking about the above events, it should be concerning enough to spur change at home.
Water usage is one of the areas where many homes could improve. Whether you leave taps running while brushing your teeth, wash up with the hot water constantly flowing or run full baths frequently, wasting water is a common issue for many
Thankfully, there are many ways to introduce an eco-friendly approach to water usage in your home:
A bath may be tempting when you want to relax, but it’ll cost you a lot more than a shower – and it’s also a lot worse for the environment. According to the Energy Saving Trust, you could save £40 a year on your gas and water bills
if a family of four switches from having regular baths to taking 5-minute showers.
Replacing your shower head with an efficient one will use a lot less water. The Energy Saving Trust claim you could save nearly £200 a year by doing this.
Putting on half a load at a time will still use the same amount of water as if you simply waited to fill them up. Many people are guilty of doing a quick wash of a couple of items, but it’s wasteful.
There are plenty of devices you can purchase that will help you conserve water in your home, but the biggest change can come from simply being mindful of how much you’re using. Cut down on your water usage to make a massive change to your bills.
Appliances can drain energy and cause your bills to skyrocket. That’s also the case if you’ve gotten into bad habits, such as leaving lights on when you’re not in a room, keeping electrical devices plugged in and turned on, and leaving the
television on all day even if you’re not watching it.
Homes in the UK have consistently been the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases over recent years. Although manufacturers are generally taking big steps to ensure their products are energy-efficient, you can help cut bills and reduce your
Fuel costs are continuing to rise, and with heating and hot water making up over half of the average household’s fuel bills every year, finding efficient ways to heat your home is crucial.
Central heating is the most common system within homes in the UK, but it’s also one of the least efficient – especially if your system is old. It’s one of the biggest emitters of energy, and can be costly. Those costs can further increase if your home isn’t insulated very well.
A lack of insulation leads to people turning their heating up, especially during the colder months. That leads to more carbo dioxide emissions, as well as higher energy bills every year. Although most boilers installed in homes since the mid-2000s
have been designed with efficiency in mind, there are a number of ways to heat your home whilst remaining eco-friendly:
Depending on the age of your system, there may be newer alternatives to opt for. And although the price of replacing your boiler may put you off, you could save over £500 every year by doing so – as well as cutting down dramatically on your carbon dioxide emissions.
Insulating your roof and loft is one of the most effective ways to cut costs and reduce emissions. As heat rises, insulation will keep it in and allow it to circulate around the home, reducing the need for heating. Insulation could save you almost £300 on your energy bills a year.
Instead of simply turning your heating on and leaving it to warm your home, smart heating controls can be controlled from your phone.These adjust temperatures easily, so you’re only using the energy you actually need. It’s one of the
most effective ways to reduce your carbon dioxide emissions, as well as save money – and you don’t need a new boiler in order to get smart heating controls.
In an effort to promote being eco-friendly, the government offer incentives to urge people to make improvements at home.
There are 3 main schemes that provide funds for the installation of certain products, or simply pay those who opt-in as a thank you for their efforts.
These schemes will reward you for making a conscious effort to be more eco-friendly at home.
Recycling has become the norm for many people in the UK. With kerbside recycling introduced in the country fifteen years ago, people often don’t think twice about disposing of their rubbish in one of these bins. But there’s still some improvements
to be made, as there’s a lot of confusion about how to recycle correctly.
Under 50% of UK residents are frequently recycling. That’s below the rate set by the EU as a default to try and achieve. Although the rate has risen by over 15% in the last ten years, there’s still plenty of room to make recycling the norm
throughout the country.
But why should we be recycling? It may seem like a menial thing in your day-to-day life, but the effects of waste disposal are widespread and considerably harmful to the environment. Not only does recycling help to conserve our dwindling natural resources, including the world’s trees and forests, but it also saves energy by reducing the need for mining, extracting raw materials and producing new products from scratch. It also means less of our waste ends up in landfills, which pollute the air and cause an impact on biodiversity.
Here are just a few ways to make recycling more straightforward.
There are some quick fixes to make around the home that’ll get you on your way to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. A small change here and there could make a difference.
These tips will help you examine just how environmentally-friendly your home is. Making big changes by being eco-friendly will create positive results in many areas, from your emissions to your expenditure – pay close attention to how they’re
Making the transition to becoming environmentally friendly is something many people should start exploring. With the statistics for climate change suggesting the planet is changing quicker than anyone had previously anticipated, now’s the
time to make some changes in your own home.