Greenhouse gases - we’ve all heard of them, but did you know our everyday activities whether it’s driving a car, eating red meat or disposing your trash, at some point, contribute to greenhouse gases produced? Even charging your phone comes with a carbon footprint as more than 83 per cent of Australia’s power comes from fossil fuels.
What are greenhouse gases, and is there anything you can do to reduce your households impact? Follow our six simple, approachable ideas to reduce your household's carbon footprint.
What is a carbon footprint and how can you reduce your impact by going green?
Greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and ozone contribute to pollution, ozone depletion and global warming. Your carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gas you are responsible for.
Activities like driving a car, heating and cooling and using electrical power from gas or coal all emit CO2. Even products we buy also contribute to our carbon footprint.
According to the Department of the Environment and Energy, Australian households are directly responsible for about 20 per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions. The average household’s energy use generates over 7 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions!
Finding your home's carbon footprint
You can easily work out your home’s environmental impact by using an online calculator to work out your carbon footprint. The Neighbourhood Effect calculator helps you explore how your lifestyle contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.
When you think about all the things that contribute to your household it can seem overwhelming - but as individuals we can make a real difference over our lifetime. Make your household a little greener with our six simple, approachable ideas to reduce your household's carbon footprint.
Flick the switch and turn the lights off when you leave a room!
We’ve all heard this one before, but when you think about how easy it is, you’ll wonder why you haven’t always been doing it!
Lighting is responsible for about 11 per cent of a household’s energy bills. Cutting back on energy consumption reduces the amount of electricity that power plants have to make, subsequently reducing the amount of fossil fuels that are burned each day. Even small changes like turning your lights off when you’re not using them can make a difference.
Line dry your clothes
Ditch your tumble dryer - take advantage of the sun and breeze to dry freshly washed clothes and linens. The traditional method of line-drying your clothing is much better for the environment, and can also lower your power bill.
An average drying-machine cycle uses just over 4 kWh of energy and produces around 1.8kg CO2. If all worldwide households with a tumble dryer hung up one load of washing outside each week, we would save over a million tonnes of CO2 in a year. Don’t let this be another ‘should’ in your life, give it a go. It’s one small step that you and your household could do to make a difference for the environment.
Go green, plant a tree!
Did you know planting a small tree in your front-yard could possibly lower your electricity bill initially by $28? No really! And the bigger the tree the bigger the savings. Large trees could save you as much as $400 on your annual electricity bill.
The shade from a single tree in front of your house can save the same amount of energy as 10 room-size air conditioners running for 20 hours a day!
Trees not only reduce your power bill but will also absorb nearly 22 kilos of carbon dioxide per year and cut one ton of carbon dioxide by the time it reaches 40 years old. Just one 10-year-old tree releases enough oxygen into the air to support two human beings!
Planting trees has so many benefits from reducing your power bill to your CO2 emissions. So, go ahead and plant a tree!
Invest in solar
The sun provides us with enough energy every hour to provide the world’s energy needs for a year!
It’s sustainable, it’s a free source of renewable energy and it’s in abundance. Why not invest in your own source of renewable energy?
Take advantage of solar power technology it’s one of the most effective ways of reducing your carbon footprint and lowers your power bills.
Going solar is by far the cleanest form of renewable energy to power your home and community. It’s possible to reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 9 per cent for each kilowatt of solar photovoltaic (PV) installed.
There’s nothing more empowering than knowing your household is making a positive impact on the planet. Make a difference today and invest in solar power for your household.
Unplug your devices!
You’d be surprised how much energy is used when appliances are left plugged into a standard electrical socket when they’re not in use. Standby power can use up to 10 per cent of a household’s total electricity.
For most homes a 10 per cent reduction in electricity consumption can save $200 or more a year off our electricity bill and nearly ¾ of a tonne of CO2 pollution. A 20 per cent reduction on average consumption will save over $400 and over 1.5 tonnes of CO2.
Remember, just because a device is not turned on, doesn’t mean it isn’t using power. Make a habit of unplugging your countertop appliances all at once so you don’t forget.
Turn your heating and cooling down!
Heating and cooling our homes has a major impact on household emissions. By using less heating and air-conditioning we can make real dollar savings too.
The estimated CO2 saved per person turning down or switching off their air-conditioners and heating is 600 kg per year and 50 kg per month.
Also make it your priority to keep on top of maintaining your heating and cooling systems. Mark it down to check and replace your filters each quarter, and organise for a qualified technician to visit annually for servicing and maintenance.
This ensures your system isn’t working any harder than it needs to, and consequently not drawing any excess energy.
Choosing to power your home from renewable energy sources is one smart solution that can drastically reduce your carbon emissions. Learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint even further by making your solar smarter.