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7 ways to help change climate change - share your results!

  • 6 November 2020
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7 ways to help change climate change - share your results!
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It all starts at home...

 

Today we posted a blog which outlines 7 actions you can take to help lower your carbon footprint, helping to support our fight against climate change. See this blog post here

 

We want to get your feedback on the first action outlined in our blog, cutting that energy use! Let’s get some rock solid data from you on the results - are you up for it?!

 

Recording your energy usage using your smart meter

 

If you have a smart meter that sends us your readings every 30 minutes, you’ll have access to a daily breakdown of energy usage via your online account. See this guide for more info. 

 

You can also measure your live usage on an In Home Display. If you have an Aclara or Honeywell/Elster smart meter, see this guide for how to do this. If it’s a Secure Liberty smart meter, see this guide

 

Have a read of these actions which have been taken from our blog post, and come back here to post your daily usage picture! 

 

Energy use reduction tips from our blog post

 

A staggering 28% of every person’s carbon emissions come from the energy they use at home. So when you’re looking to make a big impact, there’s no better place to get started than home sweet home. 

 

  • Turn your thermostat down by just one degree and you could save yourself £60 a year

 

  • The biggest kitchen carbon culprit is right there, guiltily churning away in the corner: your tumble dryer. Air drying cuts around 90kg of carbon. That’s the equivalent of driving 519km in a diesel car!

 

  • Idling appliances like TVs and laptops are costing you around £35 a year. Simply switch them off at the wall. 

 

 

 

  • Watch your water: fill a kettle with only as much as you need. Make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are full before you click that ‘eco mode’ button.

 

Your feedback

 

It would be great to hear from you about anything else you’d like more info on, to help you with taking action on climate change. Tell us in the comments below, as well as your results!

 

:earth_asia:

 


19 replies

Userlevel 7
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As someone who is always keen so save energy:

  • I have a full EV car now
  • Wife has a hybrid
  • We only use Tumble drier when air drying not possible
  • Whitegoods have been bought based on energy Efficiency
  • LED Lights (Hue) all round
  • Member of V2G Trial
  • Candidate for Heating Trial
  • Looking at other measures for heat saving (part of trial may include Loft Insulation and Cavity Wall but this is currently being clarified) as these would tumble my carbon emissions.
  • I already only  fill kettle to where it needs to be and even pull off boil a little early if drinking hot squash
  • I keep house at 20 degrees not 21
  • I also download and graph my energy usage and identify issues
  • We always fully fill dishwasher
  • We let kids share bathwater post adult (adding soap for cleaning )
Userlevel 7
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For me personally, I also like to try and keep my usage down and save both energy and money. I don’t have a car or any access to one myself (never applied for a driving license and I don’t plan to!), so that does limit me a bit for this. But I do try to do a few things:

  • Underfloor heating across my entire flat with individual thermostats for each room - it’s so nice to have this stuff!
  • I often walk to places whenever I can, or use public transport for almost everything else
  • I use a laptop rather than a desktop - for my use case they’re far less power hungry
  • Super energy efficient lights everywhere (they cost about £25 each but last ages)
  • I’m constantly monitoring my usage
  • I don’t drink tea or coffee as I’m not a fan :wink:
  • I don’t have a dishwasher, so I just do washing up by hand
  • As a tech geek, I try to choose kit that has a balance between doing what I want, being able to keep up with me and not gorging on too much electricity!
Userlevel 6
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As an individual, I am keen to understand and reduce my impact where possible. A couple of ways I contribute and try to reduce my energy consumption.

  • Over 11+ years driving Hybrid Car and more than 5+ years driving EV.
    • Part of the V2G trial with OVO
    • using EV for travel where possible
  • Buying energy which is from sustainable sources like OvO
  • Reduce, reuse and recycle as fundamental approach in everything I do.
    • recycle amazon packing to sell unwanted items on eBay, focus on reuse
    • even with amazon prime, one day a week delivery to reduce emission 
    • offset flight and holiday travel with airmiles earned
    • no plastic bags when shopping at supermarket
    • buying cleaning products which are environmentally friendly
    • organic purchase were possible with healthy balance to meat consumption
  • Smart heating control and individual heating control at each thermostat to ensure energy is used to need where and when required
  • Energy efficient LED lights to keep energy consumption low
  • Solar lights (triggered by motion sensor) outside to keep the energy use low
  • 4k Solar PV panels on the roof for over 5+ years now producing almost the amount of electricity we consume as a family.
  • when buying white goods focus on the energy ratings
  • smart IoT devices to control and switch off devices remotely
  • consider fitness equipment which do not require electricity
  • solar trickle chargers (instead of plug-in) to keep your car/bike battery healthy during lockdown
  • and the list can go on ….

Hope this helps. I have more to learn from this community 

Userlevel 7

Wow @Jequinlan @Blastoise186 @sylm_2000 - there’s not much headroom here for you to action any of the energy saving advice outlined in our blog post - amazing to hear! It makes sense though right, reduce energy waste, save money and reduce carbon. 

 

If you do take any of the actions outlined, please report back here to share the results from your online account

 

In the meantime, @Blastoise186 has posted another great guide here on using your electrical devices ‘smarter’:

 

 

Userlevel 7

Meet some of our members doing the same as you all! 

 

 

 

 

Has anyone made any energy usage changes outlined in our blog, and want to share the results outlined in their online account? Leave a comment below with some pictures if you can! 

Userlevel 7

Great to hear the ways our community is already tackling their energy use and reducing their carbon footprint, good work @Blastoise186@sylm_2000 and @Jequinlan!

 

As I’m new here I thought this might be a nice place to share the actions I’m taking too:-

 

  • As I’m part of Generation Rent unfortunately home improvements are currently beyond my control. I do live with 3 lovely housemates though so sure our shared usage is less than if we all lived alone
  • We don’t have a tumble-dryer (so happy for its warm enough for the washing line again!) and try to avoid using our dishwasher
  • We always buy low-energy lightbulbs and switch devices off when not in use (have certainly learnt a few extra tips from the great blog though @Blastoise186)

  • We are avid recyclers and are lucky to live near a packaging free shop where we can stock up on dried goods and cleaning products whilst also cutting our plastic waste
  • I love my bike! Will cycle whenever and wherever possible to avoid having to drive
  • Longer trips present more of a challenge, I love to travel but know the impact flying has so have taken a no-flight pledge the last couple of years - admittedly I picked an easier time to start this but have loved exploring places closer to home (Pembrokeshire is my fave!)
  • I’m a charity shop queen - love to find a gem and avoid buying new things if possible

 

Sure there’s areas I need to work on (my diesel vw caddy being one of them) and would be interested to know , what are your eco-guilty secrets, the things you know you could do better in terms of energy use?

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Nice!

I’ll tell you what’s actually pretty funny for me too. Despite having massively overpowered professional grade network kit that blasts Wi-Fi across the entire *building* I live in, it’s also very, very energy efficient. All of my network kit combined swallows roughly the same amount of eco juice as a 65W light bulb.

So yes… Powerful enough to run an entire office network of hundreds of devices… Yet frugal enough to hardly touch the National Grid - and is arguably way more useful than a single 65W light bulb!

Oh, and if I want to, I can even turn off the blue LEDs across all of my kit at once. But they’re LEDs anyway, so it would amount to much of a saving. :)

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Where i could do better is packaging. Currently we fill 280litre recycle bin weekly with packaging. It gets recycled but, it is excessive. Most of this is packaging due to amazon (few, but some other online retailers are available)

I had a micoSD card once turn up in 1.4KG of packaging.

 

I love a charity shop bargain, especially board games.

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I love a good board game too, @Jequinlan, even better if you can find one secondhand! Catan is my personal fave, how about you?

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I love a good board game too, @Jequinlan, even better if you can find one secondhand! Catan is my personal fave, how about you?

Well I have over 300, but am a big fan of Scythe, Terraforming Mars, and Great Western Trail.

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I remember we had a v similar conversation in lockdown 1.0, @Jequinlan - 300: must’ve been a lot of trips to the charity shop! And @Jess_OVO, guess who else is a fan of Catan…… clue here. And then, look who got Catan…… clue here. You see where this is going. 

 

Anything analogue and without a screen is good as a hobby IMHO. We look at screens enough during the day, so power down that TV, rest the eyes, and open up the cupboard with 300 games in :rofl:  

 

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This is an interesting thread.

Our house was built about 1990, and had (some) cavity wall insulation. I've just had a survey following a repair when I noticed the insulation only filled half the gap. We're getting the gap filled to upgrade the insulation. I'd already added 8 inches to the loft insulation.

We replaced the draughty wooden double glazing shortly after moving in. Replacing that upvc again might give an improvement but I worry about the environmental impact. It surely outweighs the benefits. We did replace the conservatory triple plastic roof with solid. It is now a usable space that heats quickly in winter and no longer hits an unbearable 55° in summer. 

Our solar panels have generated an average of just over 3MWh pa since 2015. I wish we could have had more because their 4kW rating rarely even reaches 3kW generation, due to us being in the North East and with them being East/West facing. Battery storage made no sense, and even a system to use the excess for water heating failed, because we'd previously updated the old boiler for an energy efficient one, replaced the thermostatic radiator valves and also replaced the hot water tank with a new insulated one. British Gas (our then supplier) insisted that "no-one fits immersion heaters any more" ! Even so my calculations suggested it wouldn't be cost effective. 

The heating comes on for an hour and a half in the morning then at tea time for the evening. I'm considering the tado offer but am concerned about many dreadful reviews of the app in the Play store. It also seems to need to be connected to the Internet to work at all, and requires a router port that I don't have spare. With an annual total energy bill of under £900, it doesn't seem worthwhile. 

Our tumble dryer is used no more than 20 times a year, for towels when the humidity is too high for them to dry properly. We have a whirly gig clothes line outside for when the weather is amenable. Otherwise we use the airing cupboard for smalls, and hangers on the door frames for clothes. Bed linen and towels go on radiators in winter or in the airing cupboard. Drying on radiators increases the room humidity in winter which makes it feel warmer and stops static giving us shocks! We try to wash clothes and dishes only with full loads and overnight (economy 7) or when our solar panels are generating more than 1kW.

Showering means wet head and body then turn off water. Use shampoo and soap then turn on water to rinse. No spraying hot water when it isn't achieving anything! The greensight suggestion that I reduce my shower time is impossible.

We heat the water overnight shortly before use for showers, and the only other regular use is once a week for washing floors. Much of our cooking is in a combination microwave oven that is more energy efficient than the gas hob or traditional big oven. Baked potatoes with a proper crisp skin only take about 20 minutes! 

We have a glass kettle with a line I've drawn at the one mug level! (We once visited a relation in Australia who had a water boiler that was always on, so he always had AMPLE water ready to make any number of mugs of tea. 😲 It was plumbed in so he just had to turn a tap to fill it.) 

When the survey was done for our solar panels, there were very few suggestions for improvements. Payback ranged from 20 years to 'more comfortable', and included things like insulating the floor between the downstairs and upstairs. 

Userlevel 7

Sorry @EverythingNeedsAUserName - for some reason your comment was picked up by our spam filter - I’ve reinstated it now!

 

Did that insulation upgrade happen eventually? 

 

Brilliant idea about the line on the kettle to outline one mug’s worth. I have a metal one at the moment so need to go on weight to judge how much to use….

 

Also keen to hear more about any concerns you have Tado thermostats, or if you’ve gone with an alternative in the end? 

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No problem @Tim_OVO .To err is human, but to really muck it up needs a computer. 

Wall Insulation has been installed. The house now has spots of a slightly different colour mortar 😊. They have defined patterns for the drilling and injection to ensure an even fill. Apparently the beads are mixed with a glue as they're injected so that they don't slump. It took about 3 hours.

Tado? How much could it save on a £700 annual gas bill? Would it just annoy my wife by turning off when leaving home and not turning back on till we return? The house takes at least an hour to warm up. 

If I get a smart thermostat will the cavity Wall Insulation or the thermostat be responsible for any improvement?

To be properly effective does it need tado TRV's? £££

As you can tell, I'm unconvinced. 

We have normal thermostatic valves set at different temperatures depending on the room use, and I do change them and the house thermostat depending on the outside conditions. When the rooms get really dry towards the end of winter, the same comfort comes at a higher temperature! A towel dried on the radiator looks awful but can improve the comfort at the normal temperature. A humidifier might help. 

Siting a house thermostat is a problem. When we bought the house it was in the lounge, and pretty much useless. If set below the radiator thermostat it cut the whole house off before it was warm. If set above, it did nothing so why bother? The radiator without a thermostat (which we were told is a necessary feature of any system) was in the hall. So we had the house thermostat  moved to the hall which at least mostly makes the radiators in each room work for that room. But as in most houses, hall, stairs and landing are open to each other so the heat rises.

Maybe we should all live upstairs and sleep downstairs? Most definitely houses should have split heating. 

 

Userlevel 7

Some really interesting points raised here, @EverythingNeedsAUserName.

 

It good to hear all the improvements you’ve already made and the factors which are affecting future changes you’re considering. As always there’s a balance which needs to be made between the environmental impact of each option - and we’re keen to hear how our members have weighed up the options before making a home improvement decision.
 

 

Replacing that upvc again might give an improvement but I worry about the environmental impact. It surely outweighs the benefits.

 

A really important balance this one - weighing the energy efficiency against the materials involved - not sure if you’ve researched this already but it’s at least mitigated by the recycling potential of these windows. Wonder if this tips the balance slightly?

 

 

Maybe we should all live upstairs and sleep downstairs? Most definitely houses should have split heating. 

 

Personally love an ‘upside-down’ living arrangement! And as someone whose put this to great use in his home sure @hydrosam would agree - make the most of that rising heat and keep the bedrooms nice and cool - makes sense!

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@Jess_OVO sorry I’ve not been about. Email notifications were playing up. 
I love my upside down house, sorry to rub it in but the bedrooms have been a nice cool 22-20C overnight the last few days during this heatwave. Over the winter it also works well with the heat rising and I’m guessing replicating some of what mechanical heat recovery systems do, just that instead of using fans and heat exchangers, I have a central staircase to bring the warm air to the living spaces. 
Upside down isn’t for everyone though. We benefit from the house being built into a bank so the upstairs does connect to the ground at the back. 
My top tip, which has probably already been mentioned but haven’t scrolled through the whole thread, turn the heating down a degree or two and put on a jumper. 

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I love my upside down house, sorry to rub it in but the bedrooms have been a nice cool 22-20C overnight the last few days during this heatwave. 


My top tip, which has probably already been mentioned but haven’t scrolled through the whole thread, turn the heating down a degree or two and put on a jumper. 

 

 

Blissfully cool bedrooms sound VERY appealing right now, @hydrosam! And great point about turning down the heat and popping on a jumper (maybe not so needed at the moment). 

 

In fact, might be worth dropping a link to this guide here (just incase anyone’s over-heating right now!:persevere: )

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Nice guide @Jess_OVO 

One point about the recycling potential of uPVC windows from the comments above. It’s not as high as the industry would lead you to believe, the plastic has flame retardant chemicals embedded within which are persistent organic pollutants (POPs) and very bad for the environment and reduces their potential to be made in to new products. I don’t have exact numbers of their recycling potential and can’t find anything on the web except for the marketing material from window companies but my wife who works in the waste industry says it’s a real issue that we (as a planet) need to deal with. 

Userlevel 5

I swapped our halogen spot light bulbs some time ago for LEDs, all worked fine with no change needed to the fittings which i wasn't sure about. It was a real pain getting some of the bulbs out. Quite amazing how hot they must get which made the metal fitting very tight in the ones that were used most often.

The origin dimmer seems to work as before, i did wonder if i would need to change it. 

It was interesting to see that the two small halogens in my cooker hood didn't work when both swapped to LED. A quite common problem i think. 

My workaround that seems to work fine for us was to change one of the cooker hood  bulbs to LED and one to a lower watt Halogen. A quick cheap fix for me. There may be more complex solutions. I doubt it saves much but if we all make little changes it can only help. Will look out to see if the bulbs lifespan is impacted in the cookerhood. 

We have light fittings with multiple bulbs in many rooms which i am sure is not unusual. We use lamps instead more often now which will help a little. 

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