One of the best ways to accomplish a lower carbon foot print and at the same time provide much better insulation for your family is by adding and upgrading your insulation in your home. Heat loss is one the biggest reasons why you can end up using a lot more energy than you actually need to keep your home warm. While windows were the main area of heat loss in the passed, double and triple glazing has largely alleviated this. You will find that in most homes there is either not enough or no insulation in certain areas that are the main reason for heat loss.
The first are to have checked out is your walls. It is relatively inexpensive for an insulation specialist to assess how much and what type of insulation is the cavity of your walls. Modern and new technology now allow you to have additional insulation material pumped into your walls to improve your energy efficiency. But there are circumstances where this is not possible.
Sometimes, the building construction may not provide a large enough cavity to make a significant enough impact. For such situations you can either do in internal or external wall insulation job. Externally, the walls are clad with a type of insulation foam that shields your house form the cold and damp, and this can significantly improve things. In addition to this you should consider adding internal foil backed dry wall insulation. This can be easily fitter to the walls on all external facing walls and will make a huge difference. You will also be surprised how quickly such jobs can be done which means they are less disruptive to your household.
Another area where you can make some very quick and significant improvements is with blown in attic insulation. This is a very simple technology that uses a blowing machine, like a revers vacuum cleaner, with a long hose to pump insulation material into you attic. It is a pretty simple DIY job that just takes little bit of planning. First you decide how much insulation you want and then you calculate how much attic insulation you need.
Head down to you nearest HomeDepot or other hardware store and all you will need to do is buy enough insulation for the size of your attic and hire the blowing machine for a day. Once you are ready and set up is best to have one person stand at the blowing machine outside and keep the machine filled. Within a few hours you can have transformed your attic and the blowing machine will make it pretty easy for you to even reach the tight and awkward areas. Just point the hose nozzle in the direction you want and you will be good to go.
For an average size attic you could be all set for about $1000 which will be saved within a few years, as the attic can be a significant rare of heat loss in the winter. You will also notice that your home becomes so much more comfortable. If you keep track of your energy costs through utility bills you can quickly find out how much you are saving. And the great thing is that this is a one time job, the materials do not degrade and you can always add more if you think it will help.
The best thing you could possibly do is share all the positive experiences you have. Every one of us can make a difference with small changes that are adopted by people all around us. But we do have to share this information. Talk to friends and family about little things you have done and point out how they have impacted yur life. I always find that pointing out out how much fun it has been to crow my own food with the kids, or how much money I have saved on energy bills since I added attic insulation.
Not all people will listen but if you can convince a few of your friends, family and neighbors to follow your advice then more people will talk about it and soon even those that weren’t initially interested will hear many more people talk about it. Many changes in society will only come when a type of herd mentality point is reached where people will feel left out if they do not adopt a certain way of living. The more people you can convince the more impact there will be bringing on a change in the minds of the wider society.
But don’t just share your successes. It is just as important to share any things you have tried that have failed. There is no point in people trying and failing with the same things that you did, so you can save them the time and hassle and get them to focus on either new things or the things that really work.
Sharing information can be as easy as conversations with family at a reunion, or a char with a neighbor over your backyard fence. But you can also start a simple blog site where you regularly post updates in short little posts that people can read and enjoy. Reach out to other groups in your area and share their information on your blog. The more info you put up the more likely that even random people will find your blog through search engines.
Remember, there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful, so make sure that you become part of the movement that is spreading hope.
Even if you have only a small garden with limited space it can be a lot fun for the whole family to get involved in growing certain fruit and vegetables. It does take a little bit of research, but there are countless online resources that will give advice on how to best get started on a small scale. By starting your children at a young age to have an interest in growing food you will provide them with a great practical education.
If you live in an apartment it is obviously a lot more difficult to get started with this, but there are increasing food growing associations and clubs in large cities where you can rent some food growing space. But even in an apartment you can grow certain herbs in small window boxes, just to give you an idea what it is like.
The great bonus of growing your own food is that it can save you a little bit of money but will also reduce your carbon footprint as the food does not require harvesting machinery or transportation to market and your home. Even if you buy food directly from a farmer or small farmers market, that food will still have a carbon foot print. And dependent on how far it had to travel that can be significant. By growing your own food you can practically bring the carbon emissions related to that food to zero.
Again it is only a small thing you can do, but if people start doing this at a societal level throughout the country it can bring significant improvements. Every little bit helps and if we can change people’s habits from the ground up there is first of all more chance of success and secondly a greater acceptance by friends and family. It doesn’t take much to get started and it can be a great family activity with my own kids always getting excited about the different harvest times.
photo credit: fishermansdaughter via photopincc
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon output is to simply use less energy derived from non-renewable sources. It happens too often that celebrities show off their new Prius only to head off across the country in a private jet and Hummer stretch limousine. People like Al Gore preach that we need to lower carbon emissions but they live in houses that use 10 times more energy than the average American household. Yes, they say they buy carbon credit to offset their usage, but that is not a viable solution to a problem of too much non-renewable energy use.
For most people getting rid of a car is simply not viable due to the distances a lot of us have to travel. But the first thing you should do is try to get into a habit of using your legs a bit more. For many short distances you can either walk or use a bicycle and it will have the added benefit of being a great source of exercise. Especially in a busy lifestyle this can be a great way to squeeze in a little bit of fitness.
For the trips that really require car you should make sure you get a small car with very good fuel efficiency. Hybrid cars are extremely popular these days, but they are not always the most efficient. Europe has a much more dominant demand for cars with Diesel powered engines, which are in many cases more efficient than a lot of hybrid vehicles. Before you buy a car, make sure you check the average miles per gallon and use that as a comparison guide.
Using public transport like trains instead of air travel will also provide a huge carbon saving as railways are so much more efficient at transportation. In many cases this can also be a lot more convenient when you factor in that you do not have to arrive at an airport far outside a city 2 or 3 hours ahead of your flight to clear security and then be transported to another airport far outside a city which is not really that close to where you want to go. Most railway stations are very conveniently located reducing travel time significantly.
In your home you can do a lot of simple things like using energy efficient appliances and lighting. This will cost a bit more upfront, but over time this will pay off in energy savings. Also make sure you put on an extra layer of clothing before you turn on the heating. You don’t have to sit in the dark with a ski suit and frozen fingers, but just one extra shirt or sweater will make a small difference. The same is true for air-conditioning in hot climates. It is not necessary to have it running full throttle all day to provide enough comfort for you and your family.
This website is all about making lots of small changes to help fight climate change and to get others to do the same. Start now and spread the word and share with us any ideas you have.
photo credit: kevin dooley via photopincc, jurvetson via photopincc
Hope In A Changing Climate is one of the great low budget independent documentaries of recent years which aims at showing some of the positive developments throughout the world. While climate change is causing ever greater problems there are movements across the globe that are making significant changes for good in local ecosystems. While these small efforts will not suddenly reverse the damage done so far, they are a source of great inspiration that great change can happen from the bottom up, rather than having to rely on politicians who are spending more time discussing than taking action.
Watch the trailer:
On this site we will be publishing some great ideas for people in the western world to make similar impacts through small changes in lifestyle and subtle home improvements.