Here are 10 ways to make your home more eco-friendly.
Get energy-saving bulbs. Would you use a mobile phone based on inefficient, 100 year old technology? No, yet still many of us light our homes with incandescent bulbs, which use five times as much energy and cost five times as much to run as energy-saving alternatives. You can now buy energy-savers in all shapes and sizes, including IKEA-style spotlights. They are available in most DIY shops and supermarkets, and online at Natural Collection.
Insulate! Roughly half the average house's heat is lost through walls and your loft. If you've got cavity walls, get them insulated - it usually only costs a few hundred pounds - and for your loft, lag it with an eco-friendly insulation such as recycled newspaper Warmcel.
Build a mini power plant. If you've already ticked off half the things on this list, it's time to make like David Cameron and create energy at home. Despite our fickle weather, solar panels are surprisingly good at making electricity in this country - £7,000 worth of panels could generate half a typical UK home's annual needs - while a solar thermal install will provide 50 per cent of your hot water needs for much of the year. Mini home wind turbines aren't great in cities, but ask installers to visit your house if you live somewhere with wind and space.
Fit foil behind radiators. It sounds a bit Blue Peter, but half the heat from most radiators goes straight out the back and, usually, gets wasted. Fit reflective foil panels behind your radiators - it's cheap and you can pick them up at DIY stores including B&Q.
Boil less, get an eco kettle. A recent survey revealed over a quarter of us overfill the kettle when we're boiling a cuppa. As well as wasting your time waiting for a brew, it wastes energy and CO2: the Energy Saving Trust reckons we could power the nation's street lamps if we all just boiled the right amount. To make life easier, take a look at the eco kettle available at Ethical Superstore
Switch your tariff. Changing your electricity supplier to a green tariff is the easiest thing you can do, and one of the most effective. Two of the best are Ecotricity, which builds wind turbines with its customers' money, and Good Energy, which uses 100 per cent renewable energy and buys electricity from homeowners producing it at home. Switching takes about five minutes on a site such as uswitch.com and greenelectricity.org.
Say Bye Bye Standby. The average Brit wastes between 6 and 10 per cent of their electricity bill a year to keep gadgets unnecessarily blinking on standby. Save yourself £38 and avoid the 'average Brit' label by turning electronics off at the wall when they're not in use - or get a gadget such as the ByeBye Standby, Standby Buster or Intellipanel to do it for you.
Waste less water. In Australia, good toilet practise is to follow the mantra of 'if it's yellow, let it mellow...if it's brown, flush it down'. While you may not want to take matters that far, we each waste a staggering 150 litres of water daily, and the lavatory's one of the key water wasters. Either get a dual-flush loo or fit an Interflush, Hippo or simply stick a full plastic water bottle in your cistern so it uses less water per flush.
Get a smart meter, hunt energy hogs. Most people have no idea how much they're spending on electricity at home, even after another confusing bill's landed on their kitchen table. To get a handle on what you're spending - and what's eating the most juice - get a smart meter like the Electrisave and Wattson, which'll tell you your real-time usage in pence and pounds. The Wattson even glows blue when you're using little energy, getting redder the more your consumption goes up.
Buy energy efficient appliances. What's on in every home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year? Yep, it's your fridge-freezer. Whenever you're replacing yours or buying other big white goods - including washing machines - look out for the EU Energy Label. It goes up to A for washing machines, but for the fridge-freezer you can now get A++, which means 'B' and 'C' aren't actually as good as they sound. Another new energy saving appliance is Sky’s ‘Auto Stand-by’ feature, it monitors whether people are using their Sky+ of Sky HD boxes overnight. If not, the box will go into stand-by mode automatically.