Five easy ways to lower your household carbon emissions
While the world wrestles with the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s another important global issue that’s not going away: global climate change .
It’s a daunting problem and requires global solutions and actions.
But even as we have seen with flattening the COVID-19 curve, if enough people make a change it starts to feature up to something significant.
So we’ve created the ABC Science Carbon Counter to point out the savings in CO2 emissions which will come from individuals making simple changes, and therefore the cumulative impact if all Australian households did an equivalent .
There are some easy wins here and a few might surprise you — here are the highest five.
OK, we aren’t saying you ought to shower less often! But a couple of tweaks to your showering habits are an easy thanks to reduce your carbon footprint.
The biggest savings for the smallest amount effort comes from cutting your shower time if you’ve got long showers, say, for thinking, relaxing or awakening .
Cutting your daily shower from eight minutes to four minutes saves up to 350 kilograms of CO2 a year.
If we all did this, we could cut Australia’s emissions from household energy use by 8 per cent.
Another easy win, if you haven’t done it already, is to put in a water-saving shower head.
These reduce the quantity of water hitting you each minute in your shower — by around 40 per cent on the average — in order that they save water and thus the energy required to heat it.
We review carbon diminution measures from demand & supply-side in 144 countries.
Demand-side policy instruments play a vital role in high revenue countries.
Lower income countries depend on supply-side policy to mitigate carbon emissions.
Geographic location and economy both affect the policy design and implementation.
Tweak your electricity use
Buying energy-saving appliances and changing to LED lighting are important steps towards reducing your household emissions. But there also are a few of straightforward belongings you can do together with your existing appliances.
No-one wants to be too hot or cold home , but would you notice if the temperature setting on your air conditioner was changed by only one degree?
Probably not, but that one-degree difference cuts your air conditioner’s energy use by about 10 percent. So dial it up a degree in summer, down a degree in winter. supported the figures for a mean air conditioner in Australia — getting used for 6 hours each day for 180 days a year — you’ll save over 200kg of CO2 a year. And if all households in Australia made an equivalent change it might be like a 5 percent reduction in household electricity emissions.
Another easy win round the home is turning off a second fridge, as they’re often older models that are not as energy-efficient as today’s fridges.
A typical 15-year-old fridge releases about 400kg of CO2 per annum — and that is what you’ll save if you bought obviate it, or switched if off when not in use.
Of course, if you’re keen to try to to something bigger, installing solar panels will mean that a sizeable proportion of your energy is generated from the Sun. Plus you’ll even be feeding renewable energy into the grid for others to use.
Give kangaroo a try
Beef and lamb are the greenhouse emission heavy-hitters in many people’s diets, due to the methane that cattle and sheep produce.
We’re often told to eat less meat as how of reducing our footprint (and for health reasons as well).
Swapping from beef or lamb to a different source of protein like chicken, pork, duck, fish or eggs will reduce your food footprint.
If you wish your meat but want to scale back your emissions try kangaroo. Despite being a meat , it’s only one fifth of the emissions of beef and 1 / 4 of that from lamb.
This is because the kangaroo’s stomach produces little or no methane (a greenhouse emission 20 times stronger than CO2) as compared to cattle and sheep.
Swapping to lentils or plant-based meat alternatives will reduce it even more.
Don't waste food
Australians throw out about 118kg of food at home each year, on average.
When it breaks down in landfill, that food waste creates about 250kg of greenhouse gas.
So making the trouble to make sure that nothing goes to waste is a simple thanks to reap greenhouse gas savings.
And this is often especially important if you reside during a smaller town, where none of that greenhouse gas is captured. (In places with quite around 50,000 people, about half the greenhouse emission is captured at the tip).
Anything you’ll do to place less food within the bin will cut your emissions, and there are many options to urge more organised and efficient.
These include: planning meals; checking the pantry before shopping; making a shopping list; and using the freezer to manage leftovers or other ingredients before they are going off.
The overall goal isn’t to waste food. But if you are doing , then composting garbage may be a great idea because it only leads to 2 to 4 per cent of the emissions it might create in landfill.
Drive less and fly less
Driving and flying are significant sources of carbon emissions.
But even just walking to the local shops instead of hopping in the car can make a difference.
If all car owners in Australia walked five times a week instead of driving one kilometre to the local shops we’d save over 2 million tonnes of CO2 a year.
And this year because of COVID-19 many of us have been doing a lot less driving!
If you have been working from home rather than driving to figure then your savings might be even more significant.
Say your commute wont to be 10km a method , five days every week . If you’re performing from home, you’re now saving 1344kg of CO2 per annum .
If every car owner in Australia made an identical change we’d reduce our emissions from transport by 44 per cent. (Not everyone can work from home but this provides a thought of the impact we will have if we work collectively.)
And as for flying — this year has taken our travel plans and dumped them on their head. While it’s no compensation for cancelled travel plans, you’ll see what proportion CO2 you’ve saved by NOT flying this year by using the ABC Science Carbon Counter.
While you’re there, find what proportion you’ll save with another simple changes like showering less, composting more and tweaking that air conditioning setting.
This article is a component of Your Planet: A season of stories from the ABC exploring our surroundings and seeking solutions to the climate challenge.