environmental citizens organization

Walk the Talk checklist for reducing your footprint in the home

Things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce your energy use:

(click here to download this list in Excel spreadsheet form)

No investment required
Measure the temperature in your most-used rooms to find hot/cold spots
Monitor your energy use to find the major/unexpected users (Kill-a Watt meter)
Review the times for heating (and hot water, if applicable) to come on /off
Turn off lights when you are not using them
Turn “greedy” appliances off (not standby) – put several on a shared power bar
Winter: turn thermostat down to 20C
Winter: turn thermostat down to 19C…or lower
Summer: turn thermostat up to 25C
Summer: turn thermostat up to 26C…or higher
Take short showers instead of baths
Only heat the amount of water you need in the kettle
Run washing machine with cold water and only run when full
Dry clothes outside when possible, or on drying racks indoors
Defrost fridge and freezer regularly, vacuum the outside
Open / close blinds and curtains to help keep warm in winter, cool in summer
Turn off heating / AC in rooms which are not in use
Put fridge and freezer in cool areas in the house

Low cost or DIY
Find where heat is escaping by getting an infrared scan of your house (ecoCaledon)
Check hot-water tank insulation, add if necessary
Check if you need more attic insulation (clues from frost / snow patterns on roof)
Replace light bulbs with more energy-efficient ones (cfl or led)
Draught-proof external doors and windows, fireplace dampers, attic hatches etc
Insulate hot water pipes
DIY temporary secondary glazing on single/poorly glazed windows
Install an outdoor washing line
Save water costs by installing barrels to collect rainwater for garden use
Switch to renewable electricity/gas (eg Bullfrog Power)
Have your heating system inspected to ensure it is operating safely and efficiently
Install a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one
Use timers for things like: pool filter pump, Xmas lights, outdoor lights etc
Get Home Energy Audit including leak test (approx $500 for before & after tests)

Low-Carbon choices to consider when you have changes planned
When buying electrical appliances, look for the most energy-efficient model
Buy the smallest appliance you can manage with
For building work – exceed current regulations regarding insulation etc
Consider triple glazing for north-facing or very large windows
Choose a wood-burning stove in place of an open fire
If a wood-stove is not an option, consider a wood-burning insert for your fireplace
Upgrade central heating controls to programmable
Consider adding heat recovery systems to kitchen and bathroom extractors
Seal gaps round any holes in external walls (eg for drier outlet)
Choose low-carbon building materials (eg FSC timber, locally produced)
Choose low-carbon materials like natural fibres for floor coverings
Choose low-carbon insulation (sheep’s wool, hemp, recycled paper, etc)
New extension: make use of passive heating/cooling by optimal siting
If moving house, choose the smallest house you can manage with
If moving house, look for one with energy-saving features

Larger projects
Replace old furnace and A/C with new system (depending on age of current eqpt.)
Install passive solar for hot water heating
Install biofuel heating (eg wood-pellet boiler)
Install solar photovoltaic panels for electricity generation
Install a ground source heat pump (“geothermal”)
Replace any poorly insulated windows with low-e, double- or triple-glazed versions
Replace old external doors with highly insulated versions
Consider extra wall and floor insulation (if suitable for your construction type)
Consider moving to a smaller house