TRIM YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT - and your Electricity Bill, In the March edition of the BVI Property Guide we drew attention to the carbon footprint of the BVI and the average personal contribution – approximately 4 tonnes per annum.
Your Carbon Footprint is defined by the amount of carbon dioxide you are responsible for releasing into the atmosphere through your everyday living practices. One of the biggest contributing factors to your footprint is through the burning of fossil fuels – petrol and diesel. We use these in large quantities from the moment we wake up in the morning and switch on the light.
Electricity is an expensive commodity. By reducing our electrical consumption, we stand to gain a few years for the planet and, more rewardingly, in our efforts to save the earth we can actually shave a few dollars off our electricity bill. For more information on why our electrical consumption is detrimental to the planet, log on to websites such as www.treehugger.com. In the meantime, here are 10 tips which, when deployed on a daily basis, will help you reduce your carbon footprint by up to 25%:
- • Turn off lights and fans. Every time you leave a room, if only for a short time, flick the switches.
• Switch off any appliances that you usually leave on standby. Turning off your cell phone charger, DVD player, stereo, cable box, computer, television and amplifier at the mains will reduce your carbon footprint by 10%;
• Look at the lighting in your house and swap the bulbs in the rooms you use most for eco bulbs. Philips Ecobulbs are available at $4.55 each from RiteWay. An eco bulb emits up to 70% less carbon dioxide than an ordinary bulb, and as an added bonus, will last up to four times as long.
• Limit your washing to just twice a week, on a 30% cycle rather than a 60% cycle. This one is a toughie if you have guests and small children, but just reducing the temperature should help. Your clothes will last longer, too.
• Hang out your washing to dry rather than use a tumble drier. If it dries ‘hard’ an eco-friendly fabric softener in your wash will help.
• Turn off the a/c and open the windows. Circulating fresh air is far healthier than the re-cycled air conditioning output–you may find that you aren’t so susceptible to coughs and colds in the long term, too.
• Go solar! The warm sun, of which we have plenty in the BVI, is free. Installing a solar heater may cost a little bit in the first instance, but its rewards are multiple. Free hot water, and an opportunity to run the rest of your electrics should there be a power cut.
• Have a shower rather than a bath. On average, we spend just 4 minutes in the shower, whereas a bath will take about 10 minutes to fill. That’s six fewer minutes for your pump to run.
• If you need to run outdoor lighting, invest in some solar garden lights such as those found at www.greenfingers.com
• And finally, site your fridge and freezer as far away from your cooking appliances as possible; regularly defrost them, don’t leave the doors open for prolonged periods and make sure you stack your food efficiently.