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Recommendations on how to reduce your carbon footprint

ReFLEX Orkney offers a range of products and services that can help you reduce your carbon footprint and your transport and energy bills. These are highlighted where relevant in the tables below.

In addition, we have provided a list of useful tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint. These are generic and are not linked to the answers given in the carbon calculator.

Scroll horizontally to see all the information in the tables below.

Household Energy & Housing

RecommendationsFurther information

Change your electricity tariff to a low carbon option

Find out more from ReFLEX Orkney on tariffs

Find out more from ReFLEX Orkney on batteries

Monitor your energy usage

An energy monitor or smart meter with in-home display or energy monitor can help householders save energy by increasing awareness of energy use, helping to cut waste.

Get advice about:

  • reducing energy bills
  • creating a warmer, more energy efficient home
  • exploring greener energy options like home renewables
  • financial support for all of the above, including grants and 0% loans

Home Energy Scotland is an advice service funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Energy Saving Trust. Find out more at https://www.homeenergyscotland.org/.

Home Energy Scotland has a Home Energy Check tool which can give you a personalised energy saving report for your property.

Typical savings indicated below (*) are based on a four-person household and estimates from the Energy Saving Trust are updated annually, however these are UK figures and some caution must be taken when applying figures to Orkney (including the absence of a gas network). They are just given as an approximation.

Lighting

Turn off lights.

Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. If you switch a light off for just a few seconds, you will save more energy than it takes for the light to start up again, regardless of the type of light. This will save you around £15* a year on your annual energy bills (Energy Saving Trust).

Fit energy energy-efficient light bulbs

Lighting typically accounts for 15% of the electricity in your home. If the average household replaced all their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £40* a year on bills (Energy Saving Trust). Find out more about Lighting from the Energy Saving Trust.

Heating

Install a new more efficient heating system

Find out more from ReFLEX Orkney on heating

Install thermostats and heating controls

Install a programmer to schedule when your heating and hot water goes on and off as well as and thermostats to control the temperature of each room/zone, rather than heating the whole house at the same temperature. Using these controls efficiently could save you around £75* a year (Energy Saving Trust). Find out more about thermostats and heating controls from the Energy Saving Trust.

Turn down your thermostat

If you already have a full set of controls, turning down your room thermostat by just one degree can save around £60 a year (Energy Saving Trust).

Upgrading your heating system

(Generating your own renewable heat)

Heating accounts for about 55% of what you spend in a year on energy bills so updating your heating system can reduce your fuel bills (Energy Saving Trust).

Technologies such as air-source heat pumps, ground-source heat pumps, solar hot water and biomass boilers can be used to heat your hot water and may be eligible for payments through the UK governments Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. If you’re thinking of installing a renewable heat technology in your home, there are a few things to consider before you start. First, you’ll need to consider what’s possible for your home. Use the Home Renewables Selector to see which technologies could be suitable for your property (in Scotland only).

Replace your old boiler with a new more energy efficient boiler.

Depending on the specifics of your property (for example, how it is currently heated and how the heat is distributed) then the renewable heat options outlined above may not be viable for you and you may want to look at replacing your old boiler with a new more energy efficient boiler.

Find out more about boilers from the Energy Saving Trust.

Hot Water

Reduce your hot water usage

The Energy Saving Trust estimates that you could save the following by:

  • Spending one minute less in the shower each day could save up £32* a year if everyone in a four-person household did this.
  • If everybody in your family of four replaces one bath a week with a five-minute shower, up to £10* a year could be saved on gas bills.
  • If a family of four replace their inefficient shower head with a water efficient one, they could save around £40 off their gas bills each year.
  • Using a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap and save £25 a year in energy bills.
  • A running tap wastes more than six litres of water a minute, so turn off the tap while shaving, or washing your face.
  • A dripping tap can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year, so make sure your taps are properly turned off and change washers promptly when taps start to drip.

You can use the Scottish Water GetWaterFit Calculator to estimate how much water you use and the amount of energy used to heat hot water in your home.

Preventing heat loss

Draught-proofing and insulation

Preventing heat loss by draught proofing and insulation is especially relevant to Orkney with the averge age and setting of the housing stock and the cool and windy climate. A range of measures for achieving this are outlined below.

Draught-proofing

Draught-proofing of windows, doors and blocking cracks in floors and skirting can save around £25* a year on energy bills and installing a chimney draught excluder could save around £19* a year as well (Energy Saving Trust). Find out more about Draught-proofing from the Energy Saving Trust.

Installing energy efficient glazing and doors.

By installing double glazing to windows in an entirely single-glazed property, you could save around £30-120 a year depending on the property size and rating of the widows installed. As well as windows doors can be insulated and draught-proofed to prevent heat escaping. New external doors now generally contain integrated insulation to reduce heat loss.

Find out more about reducing heat loss from windows and doors from the Energy Saving Trust.

Installing alternatives to double or triple glazing

Fitting a secondary pane of glass or other transparent material inside the existing window reveal is known as secondary glazing. Curtains lined with a layer of heavy material can reduce heat loss from a room through the window at night and cut draughts. Hollow blinds fitted into place with a sealed frame, and sealed shutters will also help cut draughts and keep your heat in for longer.

Find out more about reducing heat loss from windows and doors from the Energy Saving Trust.

Roof and loft insulation

A quarter of heat is lost through the roof in an uninsulated home. Insulating your loft, attic or flat roof is a simple and effective way to reduce heat loss and reduce your heating bills. You could save around £135-250 a year by installing 270mm of loft insulation in a totally uninsulated loft or around £12-25 by topping up your loft insulation from 120mm to 270mm depending on the property size.

Find out more about roof and loft insulation from the Energy Saving Trust.

Solid wall insulation

If your home was built before the 1920s, its external walls are probably solid walls rather than cavity walls. Solid walls can be insulated either from the inside or the outside. You could save around £105-375 per year depending on the property size by installing solid wall insulation.

Find out more about solid wall insulation from the Energy Saving Trust.

Cavity wall insulation

If your house was built after the 1920s, it is likely to have cavity walls. You could save around £345-610 per year depending on the property size by installing cavity wall insulation.

Find out more about cavity wall insulation from the Energy Saving Trust.

If your house was built after 1982, when regulations regarding minimum levels of insulation were introduced, the walls are probably already insulated.

Floor

Insulating your ground floor is a great way to keep your property warm. You should also consider insulating any floors that are above unheated spaces such as garages, as you could be losing a lot of heat through those. You could save about £30-75 per year depending on the property size by installing floor insulation.

Find out more about floor insulation from the Energy Saving Trust.

Insulating tanks, pipes and radiators

Lagging water tanks and pipes and insulating behind radiators reduces the amount of heat lost, so you spend less money heating water up, and hot water stays hotter for longer. You could save about £80-100 per year by adding 80mm of insulation on an uninsulated tank, or around £18-20 per year on a tank with an existing insulation level of 25mm depending on the property size.

Find out more about insulating tanks pipes and radiators from the Energy Saving Trust.

Appliances

Switch off standby

You can save around £35* a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode (Energy Saving Trust).

Find out more about the energy efficiency of home appliances from the Energy Saving Trust.

Don’t overfill the kettle

By only filling the kettle with the amount of water that you need you can save around £6* a year (Energy Saving Trust).

Cooking

In the kitchen beyond heating and hot water, cooking typically accounts for 13.8% of electricity demand in UK homes. The Energy Saving Trust suggests the following to save money when you cook:

  • using a microwave is far more energy efficient than cooking on a traditional gas or electric hob when you’re heating up small amounts of food.
  • always cover your pots and pans – the water will boil faster and use less energy to heat your food.
  • heat water in a kettle, rather than on the stove. You can transfer it into a pan once it’s already boiled.
  • only use as much water as you need – boiling extra takes more time and energy.
  • always cover your pots and pans – the water will boil faster and use less energy to heat your food.
  • turn off the heat a couple of minutes before your food is fully cooked – particularly if you’ve got an electric hob, as they take some time to cool down and will continue to cook your food.
  • don’t open the oven door repeatedly – you’ll let out hot air and waste energy. If you can, take a look through the glass door instead.

Cooling / freezing

Freezing or cooling food requires 16.8% of electricity used on average. The Energy Saving Trust suggests the following to save money when you cook, refrigerate and freeze food:

  • never put hot food directly into the fridge or freezer, allow it to cool on the side first.
  • defrost your fridge or freezer regularly.
  • don’t hold the door open for extended periods of time, as it’ll have to work harder to cool the temperature afterwards.

In addition, ensure that you fridge and freezer are correctly installed and maintained so that they work as efficiently as possible.

Wet appliances (such as dishwashers and washing machines)

Wet appliances, such as dishwashers and washing machines usually account for around 10% of household energy bills (Energy Saving Trust). Make sure that dishwashers and washing machines are full before you use them, and ensure you always use the most efficient water and energy settings. By cutting your washing machine use by just one cycle per week you could save £8* a year on energy (Energy Saving Trust).

Washing clothes

The UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) suggests that advice to only wash when necessary, rather than after every wear, and airing garments as a means of freshening, could be included on clothing labels, packaging and at the point of purchase. (Energy Saving Trust).

Drying clothes

When possible, dry clothes outdoors on a washing line which costs nothing and uses no energy. If drying Indoors on a rack you should be mindful of the increase in moisture levels.

Buy energy efficient appliances

When looking for energy efficient appliances for your home, you need to look out for the energy ratings label and consider the size of the appliance that you require. You can compare the total energy consumption of appliances by looking for their energy consumption in kWh (presented either as kWh per year, kWh per 1000 hours or kWh per 100 cycles, depending on the product group). Find out more about buying energy efficient products from the Energy Saving Trust.

  • Dishwashers can take up a significant chunk of your electricity bill, typically costing between £37 and £48 a year to run. Slimline dishwashers typically cost between £23 and £37 a year to run (Energy Saving Trust). Choosing an A+++ washing machine over an A+ one could save you around £65 over its 11-year lifetime (Energy Saving Trust).
  • If you need a tumble dryer, choosing one with an A+++ energy label over an A-rated one could save you around £370 over its 13-year lifetime (Energy Saving Trust).
  • Typically choosing an A+++ fridge freezer over an A+ unit will save you about £190 in energy bills over the 17-year lifetime of the product (Energy Saving Trust).

Renewable energy

Generating your own renewable energy

If you’re thinking of installing renewables in your home, there are a few things to consider before you start. First, you’ll need to consider what’s possible for your home. Use the Home Renewables Selector to see which technologies could be suitable for your property (in Scotland only).

Transport and Recreation

RecommendationsFurther information

Join a car club or car sharing scheme

Find out more from ReFLEX Orkney on joining the car club based in Orkney

Consider replacing your car with a low emission vehicle

Find out more from ReFLEX Orkney on leasing an electric vehicle.

For short journeys, walk or cycle

Choosing to walk or cycle just one mile to the shop and back once a week rather than drive will see fuel savings of £16 and 27kg in CO2 annually (Energy Saving Trust).

Find out more from the Energy Saving Trust on active travel.

Depending on the type of work that you do working from home might be an option. Discuss with your employer if you could do this part or full time

Analysis by the IEA shows that for people who commute by car, working from home is likely to reduce their carbon footprint if their journey to work is greater than about 6 kilometres. (IEA).

Consider car sharing to work or for the kids’ school run*

Use the bus (or a train when travelling off island) rather than your car

Public transport can reduce your CO2 emissions by 42% if using the bus and 73% if using the train (Energy Saving Trust).

Ecodriving - Save on fuel, reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality by following a few driving tips and thinking about your vehicle choice.

  • Assess the road ahead as much as possible to avoid unnecessary braking and acceleration, which increases the amount of fuel you use.
  • Driving at lower revs reduces fuel consumption so change up a gear at around 2,000rpm.
  • Many newer cars automatically turn off when stationary in neutral. If yours doesn’t, turn off your engine when you’ve stopped for a minute or so to save fuel.
  • Air conditioning can increase your fuel consumption by as much as five per cent. If you need to use air conditioning, try to use it sparingly and otherwise open your windows.
  • Under-inflated tyres increase your fuel consumption and can be dangerous on the road, so check them once a month and before long journeys.
  • Having these attached to your car when they’re not being used will increase drag and increase your fuel costs.
  • Remove excess items from your car before travelling to reduce weight.

Ecodriving can increase your car’s MPG by up to 15% (Energy Saving Trust).

To learn more about guide on fuel efficient driving in this handy guide produced the Energy Saving Trust.

Try to reduce the number of flights you take by considering other forms to transport or by using video conferencing for your business meetings.

Look for lower emission flights, where possible.

Direct flights usually have a lower carbon footprint as taking off uses more fuel than cruising and newer planes are likely to be more efficient.

Look for lower-emission flights on flight comparison websites when comparing route options for flights.

Flights in and out of Orkney itself are limited so this is not always possible depending on the destination but keep this in mind when travelling further afield.

If you need to fly, consider packing light

Heavier planes use more fuel so packing just a kilo less, once multiplied across every passenger and every flight, can make a huge difference to CO2emissions.

If you need to fly, consider traveling economy where possible.

Business and first class are responsible for more CO2 per passenger per kilometre.

Food

RecommendationsFurther information

Reduce food waste

A 2014 report by Zero Waste Scotland estimates that food waste costs every household in Scotland on average £440 a year. Read more about food waste at Zero Waste Scotland’s website and ways to reduce food waste. Read more about the environmental impacts of food waste at https://ourworldindata.org/

The Energy Saving Trust suggests keeping your fridge at 5 degrees Celsius or less. On average, we keep our fridges at 7 degrees Celsius, which means our food goes off sooner.

If you have a garden, try growing your own fruit and veg

Avoid the foods that are air-freighted (these tend to be foods which are highly perishable)

A general rule is to avoid foods that have a very short shelf-life that have a distant country of ‘origin’. These are more likely to be air-freighted (ourworldindata.org).

Buying local can reduce the transport portion of the carbon footprint of your diet but you can have a larger difference by focusing on what you eat.

Read more about the environmental impacts of food production at https://ourworldindata.org/

Consumables and Waste

RecommendationsFurther information

Avoid / Reduce

  • Turn down single use plastics when offered (e.g. straws, plastic bags, plastic cups, bottles, & cutlery)
  • Avoid over packaged products
  • Bring your own reusable bags, cups, bottles etc. and choose more durable goods over disposable ones
  • Use your power as a consumer to encourage organisations to reduce the carbon footprint of their products
  • Buying less stuff will help to reduce your products footprint, whether it is kitchen appliances, clothing or electronic gadgets
  • Consider buying second-hand if possible
  • You can also consider trying ‘collaborative consumption’ where you share e.g., tools or other things with friends and neighbours
  • Invest in products that lasts longer

Repair

  • Repair where possible, extending the lifespan of items you own is a great way to reduce your product’s footprint

Read more about Upcycling and DIY at Zero Waste Scotland’s website.

Reuse

  • Selling or donating your unwanted things to charity or second-hand organisations helps to extend the useful life of items and keeps them out of landfill.

Use Zero wate Scotland’s use our Reuse Tool to find organisations that accept larger items in your area.

In Orkney Restart Orkney sells good quality second-hand furniture, household items.

Recycle

  • Ensure products, packaging and waste are properly recycled

Read more about Recycling at Zero Waste Scotland’s website.

Use Zero wate Scotland’s Recycling locator to enter your location and find out what you can recycle at home and where you can recycle or pass on your unwanted items nearby.

Find out more about what can be recycled at your local recycling centres throughout Orkney from Orkney Islands Council.

Impact of services you use

  • Use your power as a consumer to encourage organisations to reduce the carbon footprint of the services that they offer
  • Consider the impact that your actions have on service providers such as hotels (e.g. when staying in a hotel - turn the lights and air-conditioning off when you leave your hotel room, and ask for your room towels to be washed every other day, rather than every day)
  • Consider the environmental policy of the accommodation providers that you use and choose providers that have taken steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

Read more about Visit Scotland’s green tourism scheme

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