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As the clocks go back and it starts to get colder, residents and businesses across Stevenage are being asked to look at a series of simple ways to cut their emissions and save money and energy as part of our town’s climate action to become net-zero by 2030.

Buildings contribute around 40 per cent of Britain’s national carbon emissions. Direct emissions from burning fossil fuels for heating make up close to half of all from buildings. The other half comes from electricity use from buildings.

Council evidence has found that only 44 per cent of homes in the town are well insulated. An inadequately insulated home needs more energy to heat, producing more carbon emissions. It will also lose any heat it produces far more rapidly. Around 35-45 per cent of heat from a building is lost from its walls and windows (depending on the type of house) and 20 per cent from the roof. Ten per cent is lost through floors.

The key to cutting your emissions at home and saving money is to have your cavity walls and loft insulated. Current government recommendations are for loft insulation to have a depth of between 25 centimetres and 27 centimetres, but some new properties are increasing their level of loft insulation to 30cm.

The good news is that loft insulation can be fitted or topped up as a DIY task and is fairly low cost. The materials can be bought from DIY stores. Grants may also be available for insulation via the Simple Energy Advice website.

With energy costs rising, a further tip to save on heating is to reduce the central heating temperature by one degree; a comfortable temperature is often circa 19 degrees. Opening curtains fully in daylight and closing them when it gets dark can also boost and maintain room temperatures at no cost at all.

Despite big steps ongoing to decarbonise our electricity supply, lighting is a significant source of emissions from our homes. Replace your lighting with low energy LED light bulbs. They not only use 90 per cent less energy but they also last 10-20 times longer so you will rarely have to replace them. Turning off lights is also an easy step and turning off electrical products rather than leaving them on standby will also reduce your energy use.

Sealing doors, windows and chimneys to reduce heat loss is also important. Draft excluders and sealing materials are easy to fit from DIY stores. Unused chimneys can also be sealed off with chimney balloons or chimney sheep. Check to see if your hot water cylinder is insulated; wrapping one with an insulating cover will reduce heat loss and make for a safer home too.

Councillor Jeannette Thomas, Cabinet Member for Housing, Health and Older People at Stevenage Borough Council, said: “About 40 per cent of Britain’s carbon emissions come from households and with many people spending more time at home due to the pandemic, looking at ways to reduce carbon emissions within the home is more important than ever. Another incentive is that this often means saving money on utility bills in the process. I urge all residents to look at a least one step at home to reduce emissions and energy use.”

For more ways to go green and help Stevenage to get to net zero by 2030, visit the Climate Change page.

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