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6 easy ways to nudge yourself closer to a net zero lifestyle

It all boils down to more conscious choices about how you spend your money.

happy smiling woman with food in reusable net bag
Reducing your meat intake can seriously slash your carbon footprint (Alamy/PA)

There are various ways we can try to help the planet, including supporting the drive towards net zero.

The goal is to reach a balance between the carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere and the amount of carbon removed from it – and Net Zero Week (July 6-12) puts this very issue in the spotlight, highlighting how global industries, businesses, policy-makers and academics can aid in these goals.

While widescale action at those levels is key, what can individuals do to help reduce carbon emissions in their own lives?

1. Turn devices off when not in use

According to Kelly Becker, president of UK & Ireland, Belgium & Netherlands at Schneider Electric, things like heating and running a shower or hot bath is what consumes most energy at home – but every little helps when it comes to reducing energy usage. “That’s the biggest drain on our energy bills. However, we can economise by turning devices off before we go to bed or while we’re at work,” says Becker.

2. Install smart temperature controls

Woman holding a tablet and using a modern app to control the system of her Smart House

Ultimately, the cheapest energy is the energy you don’t use – and this is better news for the environment too.

“That’s why you should think about installing smart temperature controls for both heating and cooling to help save money and reduce carbon emissions.

For example, using smart thermostats to control the temperature for individual rooms, alongside smart mode settings, can save you up to £420 a year,” says Becker.

“We recently asked 2000 UK consumers questions about saving energy at home and found that 68% want to install smart thermostats. Smart home technologies can learn your routines and provide you with intel that lets you cut energy waste. They can also be programmed to manage heating and lighting automatically, or you can control everything yourself via a smartphone app.”

Young woman regulating heating temperature with a modern wireless thermostat installed on the white wall at home. Smart home heating regulation concept

For Becker, smart plugs connected to electrical devices, kitchen appliances, white goods, and indoor and outdoor lighting, can save you over 30% on your energy bill.

“Now is as good a time as any to start making energy-efficient improvements in the home,” she adds. “There is a strong appetite for these home improvements amongst consumers. We also discovered that 35% have already replaced older light bulbs with LED lights, which are now cheaper to buy and use significantly less energy.”

3. Set goals

Denise Johansson, co-founder and co-CEO of Enfuce, suggests making greener choices part of your spending goals. This might be being more mindful of purchases and researching sustainable brands.

“It all boils down to making a few smart choices about how you spend your money and what you spend it on,” says Johansson. “Let’s get real, making changes to our habits takes commitment. That’s why setting up a plan, a fun challenge or mapping out the goals we want to crush can be extremely motivating and can keep us on track.”

4. Choose more sustainable transportation

2B7CR3D Young people standing and using smartphones in the parisian metro, Paris, France, Europe

Ditching your car for public transport, walking or cycling is an easy way to cut down your carbon footprint, stay healthy and get closer to a net zero lifestyle. Fewer cars on the roads mean less pollution, and you can skip the hassle of traffic and parking.

“Enfuce’s latest research with Deedster, the climate action app, revealed that daily commutes make up around 13% of people’s total carbon emissions, outweighing both food and shopping. So, finding more sustainable ways of transport is a simple yet impactful action you can take to reduce your carbon footprint,” says Johansson.

5. Embrace a plant-based diet

If you don’t want to go fully vegan, Monika Liikamaa, fellow co-founder and co-CEO of Enfuce, suggests giving things like ‘meatless Mondays’ a go.

vegan plant based meals

“Reducing your meat intake can seriously slash your carbon footprint. Load up on delicious plant-based meals and opt for local, seasonal produce for extra eco-points,” says Liikamaa. “You can also opt to eat at home instead of out at a restaurant, and use the money you save to purchase healthy, environmentally-friendly produce to use to cook up a storm.”

6. Educate yourself and your community

Liikamaa adds: “Knowledge is literally power. Most people have no idea how their everyday actions affect the environment. Learning more about climate change and sustainability, and having real talks with friends, family and colleagues on these topics can help everyone make more environmentally-conscious decisions”


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