How well do we make use of energy in the spaces we use everyday? Heating and cooling of our spaces produces nearly 50% of the UK greenhouse emissions. Let’s make an action plan for how to save some energy in our everyday lives.
There are some changes we can make that we would hardly notice. For example closing doors or not heating rooms when they are empty. And some changes that require more money or effort — for example, insulating buildings, or changing the windows.
Make a step-by-step action plan on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your home, school or another space you go to regularly.
What to do
Start by making a plan (drawing) of your house, school or youth club. Include every light, door, radiator, window and electrical appliance in your plan.
Read the check list (appendix). Find out the answers to all the questions and label them on your plan. If you cannot find an answer from your own experience or from looking around, try to find someone who can help you.
After answering the questions, think about what needs to change to reduce the use of energy in the room. Write or draw all your ideas in your plan, next to the items concerned.
How difficult is it to achieve your ideas? Think about if your ideas are ‘short-term’, ‘medium-term’ or ‘long-term’ measures. How fast and easily can you implement your measures?
For each action, think about who is able to make this change — is it the caretaker, the children, the parents, the landlord of the building?
Now you’ve made a plan, what could you do with it? Could you make an agreement for you and everyone else who uses the building agreeing to make the changes you can do? Could you approach the person who owns the building about making some of the other changes?
Is there anyone else who you might send your plans to? If it is a public building, could you send your plans to the council or the mayor?
Appendix: Energy Action Plan Checklist
Are lights on unnecessarily?
Are all lights turned off in empty rooms?
Can you switch on the lights in one area only (e.g. the area furthest away from the windows)? Are there any non energy-efficient light bulbs?
Are all unused computers (including monitors) and other electrical appliances turned off?
Are all computers and other electrical appliances turned off at the end of the day?
Windows and doors:
Are there drafts around the edges of windows and doors?
Do the windows have double glazing?
Are windows and doors left open in winter?
Can you turn heating up or down in this room only?
Are the corridors kept as warm as the rooms? (Heating can be lower in corridors, as people are moving around).
Is the heating timed to turn off when the room is not in use?
This information from Cambridge University gives some ideas of the amounts of energy we use on all these things.
Take it further
This activity was adapted from the Handbook for Action Against Climate Change from our partners at IFM-SEI. With lots of useful background information and more activities for groups on the climate emergency.
Find out how much carbon your lifestyle releases into the environment, then face your carbon elephant and work out what reductions you could make.