Home Energy and Environment Advice


Measure your Carbon Footprint

Everyone has a carbon footprint - it's your own personal measure of how much you contribute to climate change - both through the energy you use at home, travelling, and the things that you buy.
To find out what your individual or household's carbon footprint is - and more ways to reduce it - check out the Act on CO2 website's carbon calculator. Repeat once you've made a few changes and you can see how much difference it has made.  The Energy Saving Trust has a carbon calculator - the  Home Energy Check and energy saving tips, information about how to reduce water use and waste. The Direct.gov greener living pages have lots more information and advice.

Improve Your Home's Energy Efficiency

Turning your thermostat down by just one degree could reduce carbon emissions and cut fuel bills by up to 10 per cent.

Insulate your home:

  • If you have cavity walls, get them insulated - about 30% of energy loss is through house walls.
  • Loft insulation (the national standard is now 27cm thick) is the next most cost-effective and energy efficient measure to reduce heat loss and the easiest to install.
  • You could also install draught proofing and double glazing.

Using low energy lighting can reduce the amount of energy used in lighting your home by 50% to 75%. Best of all, low-energy light bulbs last up to 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs and save you money. There are now LED bulbs available which use even less energy and look closer in tone to daylight.

Get an energy monitor from your electricity company. Many give these out for free, and it will help you know how much you are using - and spending - instantly so you know where to start to cut your energy use.

Switch off appliances - TV sets and other appliances on standby still use nearly 20% of the energy they require for full operation. Switch everything off and save yourself around £37 each year.

Dry your clothes outside - hanging your clothes outside rather than using the tumble dryer will reduce your CO2 emissions.

Choose more energy efficient appliances:

  • Buy a low-flow adaptor for your shower head, and have quick showers instead of baths - however, power showers can use much more water than a bath.
  • Choose A-rated household appliances, particularly fridges and freezers which are always on - well insulated models will rarely have to turn the pump on (until you open the door, so do that infrequently & quickly!)
  • Invest in an A-rated dishwasher, as a well-filled load is more efficient than many bowls of hot water to wash dishes.
  • Only run the washing machine when it's full - a full load uses less water and much less electricity than two half loads.
  • Only boil as much water as you need in your kettle and you could save up to £30 per year.
  • Don't leave water running while shaving, cleaning teeth or washing dishes, as a running tap uses 10-14 litres of water per minute.
  • laptop on average uses 30% less power than a desktop computer

     Seek advice :

    • Yorkshire Energy Partnership - the not-for-profit company, call them on 01904 545 020 to identify how you could save energy and money in your home, information on grants, insulation, renewable energy technologies, and contact details for local contractors.
    • Energy Saving Trust - National energy efficiency helpline 0300 123 1234 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0800 512 012 (Scotland).

    Reduce Household Waste

    • Reduce Use - the best way to reduce energy & resource use is not to use it in the first place. The same is true for shopping: buy only what you need, especially as wasting food costs the average family£50 a month and has serious environmental implications too. For ideas of how to cut food waste see Love Food Hate Waste.
    • Compost household and garden waste - York & North Yorkshire Waste Partnership are working with Get Composting to offer subsidised compost bins and food waste digesters for residents to purchase. They also offer agreed price water butts, which will allow you to use free rain water to reduce the cost of your water consumption.
    • Recycle and reuse items to reduce household waste. Use online groups like Freecycle and Freegle to swap things you no longer need (for free) for other things you need.
    • For more information about recycling services and facilities in Richmondshire see our Refuse and Recycling pages.
    • Help local charities and community groups as many will look to raise money through recycling and re-using many items including mobile phones, furniture, books and toner cartridges.

    On the Road

    The Department for Transport website contains a raft of information on sustainable travel including car clubs and car sharing, smarter travel choices, travel plans, walking and cycling. As fuel prices continue to rise, many of these measures will also save individuals and businesses money.

    Fuel-efficient Driving

    We live in a car dependent society, where giving up a car completely is not always easy or desirable. So it is essential to know how negative impacts of cars on society and the environment can be minimised, whilst maintaining the benefits of flexibility.   The Energy Saving Trust have a large amount of information ongreen travelincluding smarter driving habitswhich can save up to 15% of your running costs as well as cutting carbon emissions - you can use their "MPG calculator" to learn more fuel efficient driving techniques - how to use the car less, information on alternative fuels and buying a greener more fuel-efficient car. There are also green car comparison websites such as Next Green Carand the Green Car Guide so if you're looking to buy a car you can choose the cheapest, greenest one to run.

    Lift Sharing

    Liftshare, the largest car-share network in the UK and a national social enterprise - mission-driven rather than profit-driven - so it's free to join.  If you can't give up a car completely because of your job / where you live, you can still use the free national Liftshare database to find someone who travels the same route as you to share the journey. Even if it's only one day a week, you'll still cut your fuel costs and carbon emissions by 10%, as well as potentially being less stressed in traffic and having some company.  Use Liftshare's database to find a car-share partner who's travelling your way, and you could:

    • save hundreds of pounds a year on fuel and other car running costs
    • cut your carbon footprint
    • reduce your stress
    • and make your journeys more enjoyable
    • help reduce pollution and traffic congestion in Richmondshire

    Alternatives to the car

    Changing your travel patterns can also contribute to a healthier lifestyle - travelling by public transport or active transport (walking or cycling) means you get more exercise, so are less likely to have trouble becoming or staying a healthy weight and can be cheaper than owning a car when all costs are considered.  North Yorkshire County Council's transport and streets web page also provides local information regarding public transport, walking and cycling.

    • Use the Sustrans mapping service to easily plan your journey, create and share routes with friends and family.
    • Find new routes by foot, bike, bus or train plus inspiration for fresh air and fun: local on and off-road National Cycle Network routes; your closest bus, train, tram and ferry links; a handy "When's my next bus?" text service; and journey times by foot or bike (it's often quicker than you think).
    • For more info call 0845 113 0065

    For more information on ways to reduce your travel costs and carbon emissions (for both individuals and businesses), contact the Energy Saving Trust advice centre free on 0800 512012. Also look at their Travel pages for tips & information

    Water Saving in the Home and garden

    Reducing home water use saves energy needed to treat water to drinking quality standard, and pump it to homes - most of which we don't use for drinking anyway.

    • Yorkshire Water has information about saving water in the home, with a water saving web page with a tool to identify potential savings
    • DirectGov have pages relating to water usage.
    • How to Save Water - Top Tips  highlights how much water standard household activities use, and again gives tips on how to reduce use.
    • SaveWater, working with Yorkshire Water, have information and prices for water butts, and we also advise you to check with local garden centres and home hardware stores, agricultural stores, and online to ensure you get the best deal

    Water Companies

    The north of Richmondshire falls into the Northumbrian Water Company area and the rest is covered by Yorkshire Water area.  The water supply and sewerage areas overlap and in these areas water is supplied by one company and sewerage services by the other.

    • Yorkshire Water  PO BOX52, Bradford, BD3 7YD, Telephone : 0845 1242424, Fax : 01274 372800
    • Northumbrian Water, Abbey Road, Pity Me, Durham, DH1 5FJ, Telephone: 08457 171 100 Fax: 0191 384 1920

    For more information please contact the Community Development Team on 01748 829100 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Further Reading

    Contact Us

    Richmondshire District Council
    Mercury House
    Station Road
    North Yorkshire
    DL10 4JX

    Phone: 01748 829100
    Fax: 01748 826186
    E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.