Top tips on how to lower your personal carbon footprint
The first step is to calculate your personal or household carbon footprint. Carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community. Once you are aware of your carbon footprint you are able to more easily see which areas of your lifestyle you could change or improve to lower your personal carbon footprint and help to tackle the climate emergency.
You can calculate your personal carbon footprint using one of the free online calculators below:
- Carbon Independent - for a quick estimate of your footprint or an accurate calculation of your footprint over a 12 month period (you will need your latest bills available for this)
- Carbon Footprint - calculations based on annual emissions over 12 months (you may need your latest bills available for some calculations)
- Footprint WWF - a simple, easy test to estimate your carbon footprint
Please see below for both no/low cost and medium/high cost tips on how to lower your personal carbon footprint:
- Switch to a 100% renewable electricity energy supplier
An increasing number of suppliers offer green energy in the UK. Which? explains more. To compare green energy tariffs and find out how to switch please call Severn Wye’s free advice line.
- Switch off
To save energy and lower your carbon footprint make sure that all appliances are switched off and not left on standby. Also be sure to turn all lights off when leaving a room. Why not make sure all your light bulbs are energy efficient?
- Draught proof your home
Draught proofing is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to reduce household carbon emissions and cut energy costs. Using draught excluders, such as a door brush, stops cold air coming in and prevent warm air from escaping.
Severn Wye’s free advice line can offer advice on energy efficiency measures in your home.Alternatively the Centre for Sustainable Energy offers a free online DIY draught-proofing booklet.
- Turn down your thermostat
Turning down your thermostat by just 1°C will reduce your energy consumption and can save 10% on your energy bills.
- Install renewable technologies
Contact Severn Wye free advice line for more information on installing renewable energy technologies on your property. By simply entering your postcode in Link to Energy (a free online directory) you can find local sustainable energy installers and tradespeople.
If you’re a farmer or landowners and would like to learn more about generating renewable energy visit Severn Wye’s Biogas Action webpage.
Low carbon transport
The majority of district estimated transport emissions come from road transport. In 2017 this was specifically 92% of total transport emissions.
- Cycle more
Visit Forest of Dean and Wye Valley webpage for local safe cycle routes
- Take public transport
- Eco driving
Eco driving is a driving style which reduces accident rates, lowers fuel bills and cuts carbon emissions. The techniques are straightforward and include driving smoothly and checking tyre pressure. See the Energy Saving Trust for other techniques and advice.
If you’re a business owner with multiple drivers subsidised eco-driving training may be available for your staff.
- Invest in a hybrid or electric car
Benefits of electric cars (EVs) include zero tailpipe emissions, no “road tax” and low running costs. Use this calculator to see how much you could save on fuel by buying an electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle.
Find out more about hybrid and EVs on the Energy Saving Trust’s website.
ZapMap offers the ability to find local EV charging points.
A special report on climate change and land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that a plant-based diets is a great way to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Growing your own or buying local can also help to reduce your personal carbon footprint by drastically lowering the food miles of your weekly shop. Buying local also supports the local economy and the creation of jobs in the Forest of Dean.
- Meat free Mondays
Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign launched by the McCartney family. Their website offers support, recipes and advice on eating at least one plant-based meal per week.
Donate your surplus food or set up a community fridge
Down to Work Stroud’s Fruit Exchange works across Gloucestershire to connect people with surplus fruit and veg with local food outlets, ensuring local produce is not wasted. If you are a business owner who would like to take part, a landowner with surplus fruit/veg or you would just like to volunteer, please email email@example.com.
Visit Hubbub for more information on the benefits of community fridges and for advice on how to set one up in your local area. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to obtain a ‘How to Guide’.
Grow your own
Visit Forest of Dean Allotment Association to find plots available to rent.
- Visit Simple Energy Advice for more advice and to find localised grants, such as Energy Company Obligation - ECO, available for home energy improvements and renewable energy installations.
- It is also possible to receive a ‘plug-in grant’ for many eligible low-emission vehicles. A grant is also available for the installation of a home or workplace charge point.
- Rural Community Energy Fund offers support and funding to communities considering a community energy project.
- Salix Finance offers interest-free finance for energy-efficiency projects to a host of educational institutions such as schools.