How to reduce carbon emissions

Updated April 17, 2017

With CO2 in our atmosphere considered by many scientists to be reaching a dangerous level, we are all becoming more aware of how we can protect the environment. It is believed that over forty percent of the CO2 emissions from the United Kingdom are caused by the actions of individuals; domestic heating, for example, is responsible for fourteen percent of the country's CO2 emissions. We can all make small changes in our homes and lifestyles which collectively help make a large difference to a global problem.

Switch off all household appliances when not in use; leaving them on standby still uses energy.

Boil only as much water as you need when using the kettle.

Switch on the washing machine only when you have a full load, washing clothes at 30º to save energy.

Use the shower instead of taking a bath; this alone will cut your water consumption by fifty percent.

Turn your home thermostat down by 1ºC to reduce CO2 emissions and cut your fuel bills.

Walk rather than drive whenever possible.

Try not to waste food by planning menus in advance, buying only the ingredients you need and using all leftovers.

Turn the thermostat down to 60ºC (140ºF) on your hot water cylinder.

Close your curtains at dusk; this prevents heat escaping through the windows.

Replace traditional light bulbs with energy saving bulbs; this will save money as well as energy.

Fit an insulating jacket in your hot water tank to trap heat.

Replace your old boiler (one that is 10 to 15 years old) with an energy efficient condensing boiler (‘A’ rated) and you could save energy and up to £200 per year on your bills.

Replace white goods with energy saving recommended appliances.

Choose a fuel-efficient model when it comes time to buy a new car or trade your old one in; this could save you up to three months' worth of fuel over the course of a year.


Keeping your tyres correctly inflated and moving up a gear slightly earlier are some of the energy efficient changes you can make to your driving habits, which can save you up to a month’s worth of fuel a year.

Visit the ACT ON CO2 website (see Resources below) to answer some simple questions about your home and receive a free, impartial report with further information on how to save energy and reduce your household bills.

Things You'll Need

  • Energy saving light bulbs
  • Hot water tank Insulating jacket
  • Energy efficient condensing ('A' rated) boiler
  • Energy saving household appliances
  • Fuel-efficient car
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About the Author

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."