Awareness of the dangers of human activity to the environment is becoming more well known all the time. The Newhouse Family try our very hardest in our day to day lives to reduce the effect we have on the planet. We slashed how much we send to landfill, upped out recycling efforts, reuse and recycle as much as possible and cut disposable items from our shopping list. We are currently on a journey into living a self sufficient lifestyle, but how realistic is reaching this goal in a 21st century Britain?
A study conducted a few years ago revealed that 88% of Britons believe that climate change is taking place. The measures that need to be taken to convince the other 12% may be immaterial. Perhaps the continuing and rather obvious effects on the planet will eventually convince them. However, it does not matter how many people acknowledge the problem if they are not going to do anything about it. In a separate survey conducted last year, only 10.8% of the Britons asked said that it was a serious concern. The problem with climate change is that society has become so reliant on a lot of the things that the Industrial Revolution made possible that they perhaps do not want to relinquish those things. Taking a long transcontinental flight is exceptionally convenient, and if the more environment-conscious option is time-consuming and more expensive, it is difficult to imagine that many people will opt for it. Besides, a lot of the more obvious effects of climate change are taking place far away, whether it is melting ice caps in the Arctic or islands in the Pacific that will no longer exist anymore. It can be difficult for some people to see the correlation between these events and the small decisions that they make in their everyday lives.
However, the impact that they will have on the environment is incontrovertible. While there are lots of things that can be improved in terms of transport and waste disposal, there are many improvements that everyone can make to their own homes. Here are a few:
- Firstly, if you are in the market for a house, you may be thinking about what sort of property would be best. Newer homes are more energy efficient compared to buildings that were built before improvements in energy saving technology. Buying a new home may, therefore, be a socially conscientious decision. But on the contrary, buying an older home and making improvements may be a more eco-wise option. A new development may have been built on green space, destroying the homes of wildlife and ecosystems, British farming space eliminated and our green-and-pleasant land turned to unsightly concrete. Building homes need fuel to work the machinery, materials developed in factories abroad and the carbon footprint left behind from these huge development sites can be huge.
- If you have an older property, you can still improve it though. Investing in Buckingham Double Glazing can help save you both money and energy. With the cost of utilities set to rise again this year, wasting it by allowing it to escape through inefficient windows is as good as just burning money. There are lots of ways (tried and tested by myself) that can cut fuel costs, save you money and save the planet at the same time. You can find my best tips for reducing your heating bill here.
- Another great thing that you can do is insulate your house. The government offers a variety of grants to help you with the costs of not only insulating but also utility bills and all sorts of other energy saving improvements.
- While it may be rather cynical to think in terms of making money, the truth is that houses that are more energy efficient will attract better prices when they are sold. You could add as much as £16,000 to the value of your home while helping the environment too.
- If you install solar panels or a wind turbine, your energy supplier could actually pay you money in a government scheme called ‘Feed In’. The tariff is designed to encourage private citizens to contribute to the national grid.
- Install water butts in your garden. Every time it rains, the water is washed away down our drains. Installing water butts from the guttering on your home, off of sheds and even greenhouses means rain water is collected to be used on dry days. Watering your plants with collected rain water will save you lots of money instead of turning on the garden hose. Rainwater is better for your plants as it doesn’t contain the chemicals used when making water drinkable, which comes from your taps at home.
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