Home hints and tips

Water

  • Fix dripping taps – one dripping tap could fill a bath a week!
  • Install a water meter to help you monitor water use – free of charge from your water company.
  • Don’t leave taps running when brushing your teeth or washing your hands.
  • Showers use much less water than a bath – typically 30 litres compared with 110 litres – but power showers can use as much as a bath.
  • Use a bowl if you only have a small amount of washing up.
  • Dishwashers use a lot of energy and water so only use them when they are full and use energy/water saving options if possible. Look for the most energy efficient models when buying new – visit Sust-it.net
  • Wait until you have a full load before using the washing machine – each wash can use over 65 litres of water.
  • Use a cooler temperature when washing clothes – modern detergents are designed to be effective at 30°C or 40°C.
  • If you are going to buy a new washing machine or dishwasher choose one that is both water-efficient and energy-efficient. Check how many litres of water and how much energy they use per wash see Sust-it.net.
  • Washing the car (if you have one) with a hose uses up to 90 litres of water in ten minutes – that is a lot of buckets.
  • Get a water butt to collect rainwater for your garden – see the gardening section section for more hints.

Flooring, furniture and furnishings

  • Consider repairing and restoring items rather than replacing them.
  • Look for second-hand items, in charity shops, from auctions, join Freecycle or ask around.
  • Consider the environmental impact of new items before deciding to buy them.
  • If buying cork tiles make sure they are not PVC coated or buy unsealed ones and seal them yourselves.
  • Ask suppliers and retailers about the environmental impact of their products and their policies regarding chemical pollutants, the environment and social responsibility generally.

Fridges and freezers

  • Site your fridge and freezer in a cool (but not very cold) position – not next to the cooker!
  • Don’t leave the door open and make sure the seals are tight.
  • Keep your fridge temperature setting between 3°C and 5°C; settings lower than this are wasting energy.
  • Don’t overstock your fridge! Make sure it is no more than three quarters full, that way cool air circulates more easily.
  • Clean the condenser coils at the back of the fridge – if dust builds up it can waste up to 30% more energy.
  • If buying a new fridge or freezer go for a really energy efficient one – check the European Energy Label – A++ is the best. And visit Sust-it for up to date running costs.

Home entertainment

  • Don’t leave any of your machines in standby mode; switch off at the mains when not in use.
  • Repair things when they break rather than throwing them away.
  • Check the energy consumption of any new appliances you are thinking of buying, including how much energy they use on standby. See Sust-it for the most energy efficient models.
  • Go for a smaller TV screen.
  • Invest in a wind-up radio.
 

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