How to reduce the carbon footprint of your property

With a large stock of Georgian and Victorian buildings, property in Brighton and Hove leaves much to be desired in terms of its carbon footprint. As building surveyors, we’re well placed to advise you on modifications and improvements that can be implemented as part of the drive to become carbon neutral.

How to save energy in your home

Renewable energy

Firstly, switch supplier to a renewable energy company. Plus, ideally, install solar panels or underground heat source pumps. Any surplus electricity can be stored and sold back to the grid or used at a later date.

Upgrade appliances

Look at your energy efficiency around the home. Use LED lights, install smart thermostats and switch to programmable heating systems. Small changes can make a big difference.

Reduce energy waste

Close doors and don’t heat empty rooms. Make sure your loft, wall and window insulation are efficient. Seal gaps to minimise draughts and use trickle vents instead of open windows for ventilation in winter.

Water usage

The provision of drinking water and the disposal of wastewater both involve energy and chemical processing with your water company. Wasteful use of water therefore raises your carbon footprint.

Measures to reduce mains water consumption include prompt fixing of leaks and drips, taking short showers not baths, installing low-flow fixtures (toilets), and, outside, a water butt for the garden plants.

In the garden

Garden lawns and flowerbeds can be a huge drain on the mains water supply in dry weather.

To reduce water consumption, plant drought-resistant shrubs and trees, and perennial rather than annual flowering plants. Meanwhile, planting and looking after trees, since they capture CO2 and produce oxygen, will help offset some of your carbon footprint.

Leaves, grass cuttings and vegetable waste from the kitchen can be composted and dug into the soil, reducing the need for shop-bought fertilisers.

Choosing sustainable materials

Most building materials are carbon intensive. You should be looking to use sustainable materials (thatch for roofing, sustainably grown timber, reclaimed wood, recycled steel) wherever possible, and to make choices on products based on their expected functional longevity.

Our purchasing strategy is the very basics of life. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, also need to embody sustainability. Buy clothes that will last. Choose clothes and foods that are produced locally and organically. Avoid cheap flat-pack furniture that will fall apart in no time and consider buying solidly built second-hand alternatives.

Travel and transport

A huge part of most people’s carbon footprint derives from their travel and transport choices. Wherever possible, bike, walk, or use public transport (except planes) or car pools. When choosing a vehicle, go for electric (EV) or hybrid cars, and recharge EV cars with renewable energy.

Keep your annual mileage to a minimum, use video conferencing instead whenever possible, and think hard before undertaking any long-distance holidays.

Home energy audit

To get a clear idea of how much more you could do to reduce your carbon footprint, consider having a home energy audit completed by a qualified professional. At Tate Surveying Services, we can issue an Energy Performance Certificate for your home, and advise on costs and suitability of renewable energy systems, eco-friendly building design, insulation products, heating, ventilation and lighting systems.

How to measure your carbon footprint

The simplest method to measure your carbon footprint is to use a carbon calculator. Give it a go – it’s free.

Carbon offsets

If a carbon neutral status is beyond you, consider buying ‘carbon offsets’ to compensate for your greenhouse gas emissions.

A ‘carbon offset’ is an investment in a project which has been certified to be Verified Carbon Standard approved. Qualifying projects might be in renewable energy, reforestation and afforestation, carbon and methane capture or energy use reduction initiatives.

The bigger the investment (measured in tons of carbon saved), the greater the offset value against your carbon footprint.

Get in touch

If you’d like to learn more about how you could improve the carbon footprint of your property, speak to our team today by calling 01273 031 646.