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5 Simple ways to make your home greener

In the wake of Cop26, the climate change and sustainability has never been higher up on the agenda. But as well as countries and big businesses agreeing to cut their emissions, it's important that we, as individuals, all do our bit, and one simple place where we can have real impact is in our homes. Did you know, a whopping 40 per cent of emissions in the UK comes from households, which means our homes have a very important role to play if we are to reach the government's ambitious target to cut emissions by 78 per cent by 2035, compared with 1990 levels. Here are five steps we can all take to make our homes eco-friendlier...

1 Fuel for thought
It's a shocking fact but your home emits an average of 2.7 tonnes of CO2 each year and that's purely from heating. It's well-known that gas boilers are bad for the environment. Indeed, it's possible that they will be banned in existing homes sometime in the future in the push to net-zero emissions. For the time being, however, if your gas boiler is coming to the end of its life, why not consider an environmentally friendly alternative. Electric boilers are much more eco-friendly as they don't burn fossil fuels and are also extremely energy efficient. As of 2023 all new build homes will be required to be fitted with a non-gas boiler.

2 Insulate yourself
You've no doubt heard of Insulate Britian from the news coverage, but what are they actually campaigning for? Well, insulating homes in the UK is deemed to be critical if we're to meets our target of zero emissions and it's a view backed up by a recent report from Nottingham Trent University and the IET. Trapping heat inside your home will not only prevent greenhouse gases from seeping out into the environment, but will also save you money by being more energy efficient.

Don't put the dishwasher on until it's full 3 The appliance of science
Energy efficiency can also be applied to other household appliances, such as your washing machine. Filled effectively, it will give a much more efficient performance than running lots of small multiple loads. The same applies to the dishwasher. We know it's tempting, but resist turning it on until it's full. Even your use of the kettle can make a difference. Fill to the minimum you need and use immediately, rather than boiling multiple times.

Unplug your devices when not using them 4 Standby me
We've all been guilty of it - leaving our devices on standby as opposed to turning them off. But for a greener home, turn them off you must, because as the Energy Saving Trust recently discovered, between 9 to 16 per cent of all UK household energy uses comes from devices left plugged in and on standby. Besides, switching off your computer, TV and speakers when not in use will not only make a positive impact on the environment, but you'll be saving money too.

Plant bee-friendly flowers 5 How green does your garden go?
By undertaking the above, you will have significantly reduced your greenhouse gas emissions, so how about now putting something good into the environment by turning your attention to your garden? Choose plants and flowers that contribute to the ecosystem, for example bee-friendly foxgloves and lavender or a holly plant for small wildlife to make a habitat in. Even indoors, a leafy house plant can make a big difference, with a recent study finding they can help absorb harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs), one of the main categories of pollutant gases.

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