Posted Friday, January 3, 2020
But first a statistic (we love those):
80% of the 500 tenants surveyed by YouGov for PCWorld think that landlords should consider the environmental impact of their property and take measures to ensure its sustainability.
What do you think?
If you have a roof over your head and four walls to call your own, it’s likely that you are missing some vital shortcuts to saving energy, money and the environment.
This blog contains some extremely useful platforms which talk exclusively about reducing your carbon footprint in the home. Use it as a toolbox with which to tweak your daily activities and mindset - you could be saving yourself and your development a heap of money!
Try incorporating one or two of these things this month - then add more once you’re comfortable with the new additions to your routine.
No.1: Compost* - food waste is a huge contributor to pollution. Not only does decomposing waste release greenhouse gases such as sulphur dioxide and methane, it enters our rivers and waterways when disposed of irresponsibly. So, buy a compost bin! Store scraps and other compostable items, then use the resulting contents in your garden/ houseplants. No garden? Give it to someone who does have one. The small amount of liquid produced can also be used as a natural drain cleaner or concentrated plant-food. The Bokashi Bin is a great example - it accepts all food and waste, just sprinkle some of the ‘Bokashi bran’ on top to digest the food and neutralise smells. These retail at ~£50 as you will need two bins (one to start whilst the other is full) and bran to purchase every few weeks.
*Not interested in making compost? Try the Green Cone - this requires you to dig a hole in the ground to install, and then any kitchen waste (and dog waste) can be thrown in to naturally decompose in the ground.
No.2: Plastic - in our oceans, on our food and consequently on our lips, plastic waste is one of the most talked-about new items of the year. Purchase food that is not wrapped in single-use plastic or ask for paper bags. Save money by ditching pre-made meals, you’ll be amazed at the cost saving simply by buying the ingredients and whipping up your own. Try reusable containers to store food, which you can get loose from markets and refill shops (which are springing up everywhere). Reduce the number of clunky plastic bottles you use by making your own natural cleaning products. These are not only cheaper, but probably smell better too! This website will tell you more about why regular cleaners can be damaging to you and the environment.
No.3: Insulation - check if your property is properly insulated, which will dramatically reduce your bills. How to check? Here are some things to look out for. Top of the list are high energy bills and cold walls. New legislation (MEES) now means landlords cannot let properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of F or G.
No.4: Smart-meters - installing a meter means you can see what you’re spending on energy usage. They record gas and electricity consumption and send readings to your providers, equating how much you use into monetary terms. If this doesn’t incentivise you to reduce it, we aren’t sure what will! Look here for specifics on models and how to get one.
p.s. Meters don’t have to break the bank - try the KillAWatt here
No.5: Water - if your house is leaking, let us know! Tell your landlord or property manager, as this not only wastes water but is highly dangerous. Water-damage to insulation, mold growth and increased risk of setting your home ablaze are just some of the consequences of a leak. Besides this, water-saving showerheads and reduced-flush toilets can also save your bills and reduce energy. Can’t replace your flush system? Try a wrapped-up-brick in the flush chamber - should do the trick! Here's how to do it.
No. 6: Plugs - don’t just turn them off, as they will most likely be draining energy all day. Taking plugs out stops them from sucking your money out of the wall for hours-on-end. This site will tell you more about the ‘energy vampires’ in your home.
No. 7: Food shopping - this system is effective at reducing the number of wheels on the road - instead of you and your 20 neighbours driving back and forth to the shops one person can transport all your food. This also reduces impulse buying - we all know what it’s like to shop when you’re hungry!
No. 8: Laundry - fill the machine, instead of the little-and-often approach. Artificial fibres are released from your garments every time they get a wash, and you can think of the drain as the start of the ocean. We all know that plastic pollution is a major threat to wildlife and actually, our health! So use something like a Guppy Friend - which catches fibres. They retail at £25, but there are cheaper options online. Scrap those polluting chemicals and big bottles of laundry liquid, and use Soap Nuts - they’re natural, non-toxic detergents which act as a surfactant to release muck from your clothes. This way, you don’t need to worry about children eating tide pods! (We all remember that one)
No. 9: Weatherstripping - take a look at these features on your doors and windows, and replace them (or ask to have them replaced) if necessary. This can decrease heat leaving your home, and prevent the unwanted entry of cold air.
No. 10: Driving - sitting with the engine on for more than 30 seconds uses more fuel than it does to turn off and restart. Not only does this release tonnes of pollution, it contributes to smog, the type of summer we all hate (hazy and muggy) and respiratory diseases. Turn off the engine if you can see that you won’t be going anywhere for some time.
These ideas are just the tip of the iceberg - try browsing some of the links we have provided, and choose a few changes that appeal to you. Remember, nobody expects a fast transition, but the sooner we make changes to our lifestyle, the better, for our pocket and our planet.