What is a zero carbon home?

A zero-carbon home is one that returns to the national grid as much power as it uses over the course of a year. A zero-carbon home will need to be kitted out with equipment for micro-generation - the production of energy on a small scale.

Mini-wind turbines, solar panels and wood pellet burners have been developed for generating energy. But the use of energy can be reduced with draft exclusion, super-insulated walls, geothermal heating system (extracting heat from the ground) and triple-glazing.

Rain water harvesting to supply the washing machine and WC connected to a reed-bed sewage system for organically cleaning human waste should also be considered.

 

How can I keep my PRIMARY Footprint to a minimum?

Today it is more important than ever before to minimise your primary footprint. It takes a lot of energy to supply your water, but hardly any for you to save it. There's no better place to start reducing the size of your carbon footprint, and your domestic bills, than in the home. A few simple, cost effective changes will dramatically reduce the amount of energy you use heating your home and water. That means fewer carbon emissions and more money in your pocket.

  • Save water

Water companies use energy to treat mains water before and after use, and to supply it to homes. You also use energy when you heat water for baths, showers and washing up - and using energy means that C02 is released into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. When it comes to saving water, small changes can make a huge difference to your carbon footprint without making a huge difference to your lifestyle.

  • Fix Dripping Taps

Replacing worn washers is quick, cheap and easy, and you'll be preventing a dripping tap wasting up to 15 litres of water a day, or almost 5500 litres per year. If you're on a water meter, that could save you over £18 a year.

  • Save Energy - Is your water too hot?

Everytime you have a wash, a shower or a bath (or for that matter turn the television on) you are adding to global warming.

But you can minimise the effects.

 

Here's a list of simple things you can do immediately to reduce your contribution to global warming.

  1. If you have a hot water tank that supplies your hot water, the cylinder thermostat controls the temperature of the hot water stored inside. Your hot water cylinder thermostat should always be set to 60 degrees. This is hot enough to kill bacteria such as legionella, without overheating and therefore wasting energy. If you have a combination boiler, i.e. that heats water on demand for immediate use and therefore does not use a separate hot water tank, the temperature of the hot water will be set using the appropriate controls on the boiler unit.
  2. Turn down the central heating slightly. A typical setting for a room thermostat is between 18 and 21 degrees, however the most energy efficient approach is simply to set your thermostat to the lowest temperature at which you feel comfortable. Try turning it down by a degree at a time to see how low you can get it without feeling uncomfortable.
  3. Check the central heating timer setting - remember there is no point heating your house after you have left for work.

 

How can I keep my SECONDARY Footprint to a minimum

As well as your primary carbon footprint, there is also a secondary footprint that you cause through your buying habits.

  1. Try to buy products closer to home
  2. Don't buy over packaged products
  3. Recycle as much as possible

 

What is a zero carbon home - the government definition

www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/zerocarbondefinition