The benefits of reducing your carbon footprint

By Robbie Swift and Alex Milton

This is a letter of advice to students about energy consumption. Together we can save the planet whilst also saving our wallets!

The planet is currently in crisis. The last time carbon dioxide (CO2) levels reached the heights experienced today, modern humans didn’t exist. Instead, Megatoothed sharks prowled the oceans, sea levels were 100ft higher and surface temperatures were 11°F warmer. In order to curb the modern increase in CO2 and prevent catastrophic changes to our climate, we need to act fast! Did you know that in the UK, the domestic sector contributes to 30% of total energy consumption? Students make a fifth of Cardiff’s population, so let’s lead the charge in reducing Cardiff’s carbon footprint!

Not only will the tips bellow help mitigate global warming, they will also save you lots of money on your energy bills. Boilers in student home are generally dated and inefficient. Your landlord is unlikely to renew them so instead, you can install a tank jacket for as little as £25. Depending on how often you use it, this could save you up to £60. Hot water is expensive to run so try and keep showers short, particularly if it runs off electric. When heating your home in the winter months, avoid electric heaters at all costs! These can cost up to 50p an hour. Using these for just 2 months a year will cost you up to £85. Instead, set your central heating to turn on for a few hours each day when it benefits you most. Washing machines are an essential appliance in any home and are used frequently. But there are ways of reducing the amount of money spent on washing, without washing less. According to the Energy Saving Trust, washing clothes at 30C rather than 60C can save £13 pounds per year on energy bills. Additionally, whilst tumble driers are convenient, they are one of the least efficient appliances in a house. Large amounts of energy (and money) can be saved by drying clothes naturally. Fridge freezers cost an average of £62 a year to run. Most student homes contain two, creating a total exceeding £120. Make sure to turn these off during holidays when you go home. Finally, it is estimated that 16% of electricity bills are wasted on appliances left on standby, equating to as much as £86. Make sure to switch off all appliances like TV’s, charging laptops and games consoles when they’re not in use.

We should really care about the energy we use. Firstly, because any way to save money is always useful for a student! More importantly though, we are the future of this planet, and we should be making any attempt necessary to look after it so that it can be enjoyed by us, and future generations to come.

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