Once you have calculated your level of greenhouse gas emissions, the next step is to identify key areas that could benefit from reduction strategies and then you can begin to reduce, reduce, reduce.
Some key areas that may benefit from reduction strategies are:
- Household – reduce your standby power and turn appliances off at the wall when not in use or investigate insulation to minimise heating and cooling for your house, or focus on reduce, reuse and recycle where possible as the amount of domestic waste produced can have a impact on your greenhouse gas emissions.
- Road – ensure your vehicle receives regular maintenance and the tyre pressure is regularly checked, avoid peak hour and reduce idle time where possible or perhaps investigate carpool or alternative travel options when available.
- Travel – combine trips where possible or fly non-stop where possible, pack light and research public transport options at your destination.
- Diet – reduce food wastage through planning meals in advance or reduce your meat and dairy consumption, or ensure your food is locally produced where possible.
Reduce Your Emissions on the Road
- Maintenance – regular vehicle maintenance can reduce emissions by up to 25 per cent.
- Be aware of your driving habits – try to drive smoothly. By reducing the engine’s output and slowing down, you can reduce your vehicle’s carbon footprint. Accelerating and braking or driving moderately will assist with this.
- Turn off your air conditioner - Your car uses more fuel when the air-conditioning is on. Flush out hot air first before using the air conditioning or use natural ventilation.
- Reduce idle time - According to the Environmental Protection Authority, if your car is idling for more than one minute, you should turn off the engine.
- Weight – remove any excess weight from your car such as tools.
- Avoid Peak hour – the stop-start motion of driving during peak times is very inefficient.
- Carpool – plan your destinations so you link up trips with others instead of making multiple trips.
- Alternative travel - Walking, riding a bike or using public transport contributes less greenhouse gas emissions per passenger kilometer compared to a car.
Buying a Car
- Check out The Green Vehicle Guide - an Australian government initiative to help consumers identify more efficient and environmentally friendly new cars. All cars models are star rated according to data provided by manufacturers from testing the vehicle against Australian standards. You could consider changing to a car with a smaller engine that uses less fuel. Better yet, consider a hybrid or a fully electric vehicle.
Reduce Your Emissions at Home
- Turn off appliances at the wall when you're not using them and switch lights off when you leave the room.
- Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescents. They use up to 80% less energy and last up to 8 times longer.
- Compare Energy Rating labels before you buy an appliance. Energy efficient appliances will save you money with lower running costs.
Heating & Cooling
- Installing ceiling insulation will minimise your heating and cooling costs for years to come.
- When air con is a must, start your air conditioner before it gets hot and don't overcool - decreasing the thermostat by even one degree can have a big impact on running costs.
- Dress appropriately to avoid the need for heating and cooling.
Choose Renewable Options
- Most Australian electricity retailers offer a renewable energy option allowing you to source your energy from renewable sources.
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
- The domestic waste we generate has a large impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce, reuse and recycle whenever you can.
For more tips about how to make your property more sustainable download the Sustainable Living Reference Guide and the Sustainable Energy Association's 6-star guide to operating an energy efficient home.
Reduce Your Emissions at Your Office
- Reconsider printing – does it need to be printed? Consider email or saving it as a file on your computer. Double-side print where possible as this also saves paper.
- Enable power management of your computer and monitor so that they shut down.
- Reconsider how you travel to and from work – public transport, car pooling, walking and cycling.
- Use video-conferences for meetings – reduces emission levels and saves on business travel.
- Office lighting – only use lights when required and turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.
- Optimise the heating and cooling of your office – a change in the temperature band from 18°C to 25°C from 20°C to 23°C can reduce energy use by up to 20 per cent.
Reduce Your Emissions Through Your Diet
- Cut down on meat (especially red meat) and dairy products. Using meat and cheeses to flavour dishes rather than as a major ingredient can save up to 3 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year. Beef and cheese accounts for 5-10 times more emissions than nutritionally equivalent grain and nut foods
- Don’t waste food – plan meals in advance and write a shopping list before buying groceries. Check your fridge daily and use up any leftovers.
- Breads, pastas, nuts, bean dishes and oats are high in protein, energy and fibre and efficient to produce. They can easily replace meat and are healthier to eat.
- Transporting food and other products uses a lot of fuel. Check the label; if it’s made in another state or country, reject it in favour of a locally produced brand. Buy from farmers’ markets and other local providers where possible.
- Tinned and bottled food and drinks are usually mostly water and much more energy and emissions go into making the container than the food itself! Buying fresh or dried food and mixing or cooking it will save 50 - 75% of emissions.
- Fresh or dried fruit and fresh veg in season are easily obtainable in most areas. They taste better and incur about 1/2 of the emissions of the tinned or frozen equivalents.
- See if you can grow your own – fruit trees and a backyard veggie patch can provide you with fresh food and herbs.