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How to be more eco-friendly in 2018

How to be eco-friendly

It’s hard to believe that we’re already a month into 2018. If you’re anything like us, being more eco-friendly is one we’re committed to keep (so far, so good…).

So if you’ve recently asked your phone “hey Siri – how can I be more eco-friendly in 2018?”, this article’s for you.

Step 1: Walk, bike, or take public transport where you can

This might not be the most groundbreaking, but walking, biking and taking more public transport are relatively easy to implement, and they’re packet with benefits to the planet, your health and your wallet. Walking or biking in particular not only tick off the ‘how to be more eco-friendly’ box, but they’ll also help you with other annual New Year’s resolutions, such as getting into shape and driving less.

Step 2: Fly responsibly

A recent study showed that flying from Los Angeles to London produced more CO2 per passenger than the average commuter produces annually (by car, train or subway).[1]­

Flying is undeniably bad for the environment. Although a strict ‘no flying’ policy would be the way for the most committed eco warrior, we’re not suggesting to limit family holidays to the British Isles. Flying is a large part of the modern lifestyle, but there are a few things you can do to for damage control.

  • Go economy class: Since business and first class take up so much more room, it’s thought that the carbon footprint could be as much as 6 times higher than regular economy class seats.[2]
  • Compare airline eco-friendliness: Take a look at Atmosfair’s airline index for energy-efficient flying.
  • Aircraft: Many companies have started to blend biofuels with petrol in an effort to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Offset carbon emissions: Use an online flight carbon footprint calculator, before supporting renewable energy or tree-planting projects with the equivalent cost of carbon.
  • Only fly when necessary: Naturally, the best way to keep your carbon footprint is to fly less. It’s also worth noting that shorter flights are more harmful to the climate per mile (taking off and landing consumes more fuel than cruising), but that won’t balance the carbon footprint of a long-haul flight.

Flying might be a strange choice for a list titled ‘how to be more eco-friendly’, but with due consideration, you won’t have to cancel holiday plans just yet.

Step 3: Change search engines

Don’t worry, we’re not trying to curb your browsing habits. Ecosia plants trees for using their search engine, estimating an average 45 searches per tree planted. The Berlin-based company have recently announced they’ve planted an impressive 20 million trees, and you can find their financial reports online, including how much the company put towards tree planting projects.

Step 4: Eco-friendly house

We’re trying not to say ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ this year for two reasons: 1) you’ve probably heard it a hundred times before, and 2) due to its hierarchal nature. As beneficial as they are, recycling or reusing are never going to be as green as if it were never taken out of the ground in the first place. Here are a few other ideas:

Get an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for your home:

Historically only associated with moving house, EPCs are a measurement of your home’s efficiency. They also serve as an instruction manual to make your home more eco-friendly. Costing from just £35, EPCs give you the chance to learn exactly where and how you need to improve your home’s performance. To find out more, we have a handy Energy Performance Certificate Guide that’s worth a read.
Implementing changes based on the EPC report will not only mean that you’re playing your eco-friendly part, you’ll also be saving yourself money on your energy bills. It’s a win-win situation really.

Reduce water, electricity, and heating demand:

It takes a bucket’s worth of coal to power a halogen light bulb that’s left on overnight. Switch to LEDs (the reigning champion of energy-efficient lighting) and turn them off every time you leave the room. Feeling chilly? Put a few extra layers on and look at improving the insulation in your home to reduce energy bills.

Get off gas:

How’s that gas boiler working out for you? If you’re suffering from regular breakdowns, expensive maintenance costs and high heating bills, you’re not alone. 2018 could very well be the year that you decide to switch over to a more eco-friendly heating system and put an end to your gas boiler frustrations. We’d highly recommend considering a heat pump. It’s worth finding out more about the benefits of heat pumps in our “heat pump vs boiler” article because, let’s face it, there are too many to ignore.

 

[1] Sourced from the New York Times.
[2] Sourced from the World Bank.

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