We asked some of our members what they would do (or have already done) to reduce carbon emissions, if they had enough money to spend. Here are their suggestions.
Old fashioned toilets like mine have large cisterns - each flush uses about 9 litres of water - about twice as much as a modern one. That is a serious waste of water, especially in a drought, and climate change brings more frequent droughts as well as warmer weather. It is also a waste of energy because energy is used at the water treatment works and to pump it round the mains, and to treat the sewage afterwards.
I have fitted a Saveaflush in my loo. This uses up space in the cistern so that it takes less water to fill it up. A standard Saveaflush displaces 1.2 litres. If you flush 10 times a day, fitting this saves more than 4000 litres/year and 5 kg CO2 emissions.
Cambridge Water has lots of freebies to help householders save water, including low-flow shower heads & toilet hippos which are very similar see their website. Saving water, especially hot water, will reduce your energy bills too.
This is an easy fix for traditional wooden front or back doors; it is probably not necessary for modern UPVC doors which usually have their own rubber seals. First, test how well the door fits: Close the door on a piece of thin card, then see if you can wiggle or slide the card (do this all round the door frame). If the card moves, there is enough gap for draught to get through.
Most DIY stores sell draught proofing strip at typically about £1 per metre. There are 2 types: one is a strip of foam on sticky backing; this is better if the gap is roughly uniform. The other sort is a strip of plastic (with sticky backing on one side) that can be folded into a V shape; this can cope with more variable gaps, but may be less robust. In the picture you can see I have used the flat strip on this back door.
Whichever type you choose, stick the strip to the door frame so that it is squashed (not rubbed sideways) as the door closes onto it. Over-enthusiastic application can make closing and locking the door difficult, so test this after you stick each section.
There is more advice about fixing draughts here.
In the evening, when Iím not so active around the house, I tend to feel a bit cold. But turning up the heating in our big house is expensive and generates more carbon emissions. So I prefer to put a rug on my knees.
A rug can be beautiful as well as cosy and it feels nice too. Actually I use this quilt which is not the most elegant in the world but it is an old and dear friend. I nabbed it from home when I went to university and that was a long time ago!
I estimate this will reduce my heating costs and carbon footprint by 5-7%, based on not raising the thermostat from 19C to 21C for 3 hours in the evening.
My project is to insulate under the floor of a Victorian house and put in pipes for underfloor heating. We have already insulated the walls: some I did myself by dry lining and the rest was insulated on the outside last year. Also we have a reasonable amount of insulation in the loft, so that leaves the floor. The kitchen floor is solid and that is not too bad but the suspended floors elsewhere are fairly chilly - when it is windy you can sometimes see the carpet lift.
We could just insulate and seal but Iíd like to put in underfloor heating too. This allows you to lower the thermostat by one degree with no loss of comfort. Also, we will be able to use heat from our solar panels for some of the year (via our thermal store) and it will make it much easier to convert to using a heat pump later on.
From my calculations we will save 360 kg CO2/year. It will be a lot of work though.
If you just want to insulate your floor, there is advice about how to go about it here. Peter.
Iím a great fan of wind power for the UK, because it suits our energy demand much better than solar. Our peak demand is winter evenings and solar provides nothing at all then, but wind provides energy all year, in fact more in winter then in the summer. The problem is, I canít put a wind turbine in my garden or on my roof.
Back in 2014 I bought shares in a small wind turbine project. My investment of £5000 is generating about 2.5 MWh/year carbon free,saving about 1000 kg/year (compared to a gas power station). You can invest less than this - for Wester Derry the minimum was £250.
Community scale renewable energy is good value for money. In fact the bigger the better because the bigger projects need less subsidy and have less impact on our electricity bills. You can invest in individual projects like Wester Derry, or you can buy shares or bonds from a 100% renewable energy supplier like Ecotricity or Good Energy. That way your investment can go toward all different kinds of renewables: wind, solar, hydro and biomass, whatever projects they choose. For example Ecotricity has plans to make biogas from grass.