Climate change and the cost of living crisis has impacted all of us, as the UK is currently facing the highest rates of inflation since the 1980s. Household bills are skyrocketing and so are the costs of food and petrol.
According to the Bank of England, we can expect 10% inflation at some point this year. Now is the perfect time to start thinking about reducing costs as well as diminishing our carbon footprint. Doing so may also significantly improve wellbeing as we head further into this unprecedented crisis.
While it may seem that there is little you can do about the rising prices and stagnant incomes, there are steps you can take that save you money while also reducing emissions. Making even the smallest changes can result in noticeable differences to your bank balance and peace of mind. Being green does not have to be expensive, actually, just the opposite can be true.
Whether you work from home, from the office, or both, here are some ideas on how to lower your footprint (while saving money):
Working from home: lower homeworking emissions
Where possible, working from home is an excellent option for people looking to lower commuting emissions, as on average commuting time is 1 hour and 38 minutes, according to Forbes. With the average petrol car in the UK producing about 180g of CO2 per kilometre, the numbers can really add up. Not only can working from home benefit the environment by reducing commuting emissions, but it can also free up some valuable spare time.
Switch off standby
Standby power describes the electricity used by appliances which are turned off. Even when not actively used, appliances will use some power while plugged in, unless they are shut down completely or switched off from the main supply of electricity. Some appliances that waste the most energy include: TVs, computers, phones, laptops and games consoles. Shutting these off in your home can positively effect your homeworking emissions. According to Source Energy Saving Trust, simply switching your appliances off standby modes can help you save as much as £55 a year.
Turn down heating
Source Energy Saving Trust cites that around 22% of the UK’s carbon emission come from homes- including heating. Turning down your heating, even by just one degree, can save you up to £105 a year, without you even noticing a difference in comfort. You can impact the planet from your living room by the smallest turn of the dial.
Renewable energy is energy that is naturally replenished, not including fossil fuels, oil, gas or nuclear energy. Switching to a renewable tariff when the market is right can both reduce your carbon impact and lower your energy costs. When you switch to a renewable tariff, not only are you sending the message that you support renewable energies but you encourage greener investments from your supplier. Check out NetZero Week for more detail on how to go green.
Improve insulation in your home
Heat can escape your home through windows and wall cavities. This not only means you are wasting money on heating that simply disappears, but you are also wasting energy and increasing your homeworking emissions. Installing insulation in your home helps maintain the desired temperature in your home, while also requiring less additional energy to heat. Stay cosy and eco-friendly, while saving hundreds each year on heating costs.
Commuting: lower hybrid working emissions
If you are a commuter, you are likely very aware of the rising petrol prices. Good news is, we have some thoughts on how you can mitigate these impacts. Smart driving and proper vehicle maintenance can help you save money, maintain safety and reduce air pollution. By avoiding speeding and idling, going easier on the brakes, using cruise controls and staying on top of car maintenance, you can begin to notice a real change in costs. These changes are small, but easy to implement and will make a real difference.
Mix up the commute
It’s easy to get caught up in a routine, but changing up your journey to and from work can be good for you and your finances all while lowering your hybrid working emissions. Transport has been identified as the biggest source of carbon emissions in the UK, with commuting accounting for 25% of these, according to Air Quality News. Cycling, walking, and public transport are all great alternatives to driving. By changing up your commute where and when possible, your journey to work can be both healthy and eco-friendly.
Lift share or car pool
Spreading the spiralling cost of fuel by sharing lifts is an excellent option for saving money and minimising commuting emissions. If your company does not yet have a car pool, consider initiating one with your colleagues.
Get tax relief
Gas, electricity and internet bills can easily increase as a result of spending more time at home. If you worked from home, even for just one day, you may be able to claim tax relief on increased household bills. Apart from bills, you can even include a share of your rent, mortgage or council tax costs. You can either get £6 a week from April 2020, without evidence of extra costs, or the exact amount of additional costs over the weekly amount, along with the evidence. Some employees have even been able to receive home expense payments directly from their employers. Visit HMRC to check your eligibility or speak to your HR team.
Take a 4 minute shower
Believe it or not, but limiting your shower time to 4 minutes can save you £70 a year on your energy bills, while reducing homeworking emissions. Simply cutting your shower time by a few minutes can save you a substantial amount of money, without the need to drastically alter your everyday routine.
Turn off your lights
Turning your lights off when you leave the room can save you around £20 a year, and even more if you switch to LED bulbs. LED lights have a smaller association with greenhouse gas emissions, while providing the exact same illumination in your home. Reduce your electricity bills and avoid changing your light bulbs too often!
Reduce single use plastic
While we can’t eliminate plastic completely, cutting back on single use plastics can have a phenomenal impact on the environment. These plastics make up around half of the pollution in our oceans and beaches, according to Anglian Water. Making small changes, such as refilling water bottles, ditching cotton buds and wet wipes can actually save you money, without the need for you to drastically change your life. Next time you’re thinking about buying a case of plastic water bottles, remember that nearly 4 billion plastic bottles end up as waste per year in the UK alone.
Start today with Sustainabl.co
At Sustainabl.co we are all about small actions leading to big impact. Use our free tool to calculate your working emissions, and see just how your everyday actions effect the environment. Generate a personalised report into your CO2 emissions and get a better look at how simple lifestyle changes can lead to big savings. If you find it useful, please share it with colleagues and your sustainability team.