Seven Slack Ways to Sustainability
7 September 2016
Let’s say you are a ‘slacker eco-worrier’. That is to say, someone who is general concerned about the environment, sustainability, energy savings and other broadly ethical behaviours. Yet, at the same time, doesn’t quite have either the time, resources or will to quite get around to it. That’s most of us, isn’t it?
Install a grey water system and turn the garden into a reed-bed filtration pond? The thought of the effort of all that digging involved is just terrifying. Organic chicken only? Come off it, Oliver and Fearnley-Whittingstall – there’s five of us to feed, and they’re ten quid in Tesco (£6.50 a kilo as opposed to £2.31 for the other ones)! Drive a G-Wiz electric car? Well: Jonathan Ross might not mind looking like a wazzock on the school run in one, yet not me! And the current versions (Mahindra e2os) are 16 grand – 16 grand – for something out of the Mr Men. No, no and thrice no.
The best way to approach energy efficient changes is with a flexible attitude, even if an idler looking for the slacker’s way out. It can be hard to make big adjustments or investments in ‘green’ home improvements, but this isn’t always necessary.
As you can welcome a new dawn of environmental existence at low cost and little effort, here’s seven ways the slacker can achieve (either) energy saving, money saving and/ or environmental progress without (well, almost without) lifting a finger.
1. Switch Energy Suppliers
OK: so you will have to rouse yourself to turn on the computer and visit a comparison web site such as uSwitch. All you need is to have decent annual data – now compulsorily supplied on bills – as to how much energy you use. The majority of tariffs are designed to appeal to new users, and changing every couple of years will – without any doubt – save you hundreds of pounds.
2. Turn the Thermostat Down
Less selfish than the above, although you still save money, yet the easiest way to reduce energy consumption is to reduce the setting on your thermostat by a couple of degrees. As little as one degree lower have a significant effect on consumption over time, and you probably won’t even notice. As it is, we all have become used to fabulously over-heated homes. If you’re old enough to remember the late 60s and early 70s, you’ll remember how a-ma-zing it was to get central heating. And now we’re spoilt – get a jumper on, wuss. (This is being written while wearing a tank top, in September).
3. Heat your home when cooking.
It could not get lazier than this! Warm your kitchen/ diner by leaving the oven door open after cooking – it could easily throw out enough heat to make it worth knocking the thermostat down a notch. Saves you all that effort of bending down to close the door too…
4. Get a stand-by saver, and stop charging continuously.
The Energy Savings Trust reckons that between £30 and £80 per year is averagely wasted due to leaving appliances on standby. For instance, phone chargers continue to drain power when left plugged in, even when the phone is not attached! A ‘standby saver’ adapter or power bar will automatically reduce time on standby, switch gadgets off when not in use and put all that cash back in your bin.
(You may also be killing your phone – repeated over-charging cycles wear batteries fast. iPhone batteries offer optimum performance and lifetimes when run between 20% and 80% of charge).
5. Rechargeable Batteries
Admittedly, rechargeable batteries can seem dead expensive on initial purchase, yet they save loads more in the long run. Better still, environmental disposal of traditional power packs can be a nightmare – think of all the heavy metals they contain – so the fewer that go in the ground, the better.
6. Chimney balloons.
A big plastic bag, with an inflation tube and valve attached. Simples. An open, unused chimney is money and energy up in smoke and blocking it with a chimney balloon is estimated to save you perhaps £100 a year. They’re also easy to remove if you want to clean or ventilate the chimney (summer, say) or use the fireplace in winter.
7. Venturi showering
Venturi what? Venturi principle showerheads works by introducing air into the flow without a pump. Mixing air with the water spray creates larger droplets filled with bubbles that explode on impact. This gives the effect of the same performance and feel of conventional sprays, while reducing water and energy consumption by up to 75%.
Tests by Which? show that a water-saving shower head can pay for itself in a year, with some manufacturers claiming that payback can be had in as little as three months. That could be £70 saved a year – while still delivering all the performance you want from your shower.
Now: having done all that, and it turns out you aren’t quite the lazy-bones we’ve insulting suggested above, you might want to have a look at us: Eurocell. Our doors and windows are the most sustainable, most energy efficient, highest performing, while delivering the best aesthetic, of any PVC-U systems in to the sector.
We can make your home warmer, quieter, more comfortable and more valuable; and we can also help you adapt to lifestyle changes, improve the look of your property and add bespoke touches to your home.
So what’s stopping you getting off the couch (once Strictly and Poldark have finished, of course) and taking these simple steps now?