Action For Climate Change - Reduce Your Carbon Emissions

Action for Climate Change supports the following list of actions you can easily undertake for little or no cost and significantly reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.

The actions are listed in priority order – addressing the areas where households generate the majority of their greenhouse gas emissions.

1.  Travel

Cars are the highest source of greenhouse gases from households and account for 34% of the total emissions. To reduce your greenhouse gas emissions, aim to leave your car at home once a week.

2.  Water Heating

Hot water is the second highest source of greenhouse gases generated by households.

There are many things you can do for free to decrease your greenhouse gas emissions, these include:

  • Wash your clothes with cold water. Cut your bill by using only the cold cycle on your washing machine. Compared to a hot wash, this will save 4 kilograms of greenhouse gas per wash.
  • Take shorter showers. Keep your showers to four minutes; you will save up to half a kilogram of greenhouse gas for every minute.
  • Lower thermostat. Most hot water systems come with a thermostat and you can get an electrician or plumber to vary the set temperature. It is recommended that you don’t set the thermostat lower than 60ºC. Remember to switch the water heater off if you are going away for more than a few days.

3.  Electronic Appliances

Turn electrical appliances off at the wall.

Many appliances use electricity even when they’re not doing anything. When appliances are switched off at the appliance, but left on at the wall, they may use some energy called ‘standby’ power. Typically this is between 1 and 20 watts, with most appliances using less than 5 watts – that’s around 45 kilograms of greenhouse gas each year for each item.

4.  Heating and Cooling

Don’t over-heat or over-cool your home. A difference of one degree can reduce energy consumption and greenhouse pollution by up to 10%.

  • Set the temperature as low for heating and as high as you can for cooling.
  • Only heat or cool the rooms you are using and don’t leave the system running when you are not home.
  • Also dress for the weather, put on an extra jumper or cool down in a sarong!

5.  Refrigeration

The fridge uses a lot of energy and the older your fridge is, the higher the probability that it will be a big polluter.  Simple actions you can make that will save you up to half a tonne of greenhouse gases include:

  • If you have a second fridge that is mostly empty, turn it off.
  • Set the thermostat correctly. Fresh food compartments should be set at around 3 ºC to 5ºC and freezers should be set between -15ºC and -18ºC.
  • When taking things out of the fridge open the door as little as possible.
  • Keep the fridges and freezers in a cool, well ventilated spot, away from the oven and sun.

6.  Rubbish

On average households produce around 1.14 tonnes of rubbish per year. It’s really easy to reduce your household’s rubbish. Take actions such as:

  • Say no to junk mail which will reduce the amount of paper that goes to waste each year.
  • Take your own shopping bags.
  • Purchasing products with reusable packaging and avoid products that are excessively packaged.
  • Recycle everything you can!
  • Start composting food scraps.

More information

For more information the following websites are a wealth of ideas and assistance:

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