On 22 April we celebrated Earth Day, where the world came together to find ways to protect the planet for future generations. Craig Lonsdale, Asset Sustainability Manager, shows us some simple daily changes you can make to help, and tells us what Karbon is doing too.
Reduce your waste
Every product we buy has an environmental footprint and could end up in landfill, releasing harmful greenhouse gases, or even in our oceans. Recycling helps reduce the amount of new materials we are making and upcycling is a creative way to turn old items into something new and useful. Try to waste as little food as possible and compost whatever organic waste you can’t eat. See page 4 for recipe ideas for your leftovers.
Install a smart meter
Not got a smart meter yet? Stop missing out! Most energy suppliers now offer free smart meters for customers which automatically measure gas and/or electricity output for your home and show you where you can cut back and make savings. Contact your supplier to check your eligibility.
Could you spare some time to get involved in protecting your local environment? Local wildlife organisations, nature reserves and parks are always looking for volunteers to donate their time and skills. A Google search will bring up plenty of options in your area or check out the local clean ups being organised as part of Earth Day at www.earthday.org
Walk or cycle whenever you can and your wallet, as well as the planet, will thank you! Cyclescheme.co.uk did some calculations based on a five-mile commute each way, concluding that a bike’s annual running costs are just under £400 compared to driving (£3,727) or buying a rail season ticket (£1,320). Pick up a refurbished bike at the likes of Sports Recycler in South Tyneside www.sportsrecycler.co.uk or Recyke y’bike in Newcastle and Durham – look it up on Facebook.
Turn down your washing machine to 30°C or below
The Energy Saving Trust finds that washing at 30°C rather than 40°C reduces your energy consumption by 57% per cycle. If every household in the UK did this for one year, it would save CO2 emissions equivalent to powering 1,550 homes for an entire year.
Did you know that turning your room thermostat down by just 1 degree Celsius could save you up to £60 a year and reduce your household carbon footprint by 310kg.
Watch what you buy
Think about what you buy and where you buy it from. Buying less will save you money and reduce waste, as does buying second-hand or nearly-new. Buying eco-friendly products encourages companies to produce products in a sustainable way.
Energy efficient, low carbon heat sources will soon start to replace old boilers
If you use solid fuel such as coal, oil or wood as a primary heating source, you’ll be offered a more energy efficient heating system by 2023.
Cavity, loft and external wall insulation
Upgrades are being carried out to some of our properties where required to improve the home's thermal efficiency.
Responsibly sourced materials
Are used to build new homes and repair and upgrade existing properties.
Smart home technology
Will start to be built in to some of our homes for the first time this year. This will allow customers to control thermostats, lighting and other appliances remotely using the internet.
Will soon become part of our fleet.
More new affordable housing
Is being built by Karbon than ever before. All are built to achieve the latest energy efficiency standards and combine low carbon technologies.