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How you can help tackle climate change

We need everyone in Derbyshire to pull together to help meet our targets for reducing carbon emissions to prevent further global warming.

Whether you're young or old, at work or at home, there are things we can all do. We'll bring you details of the latest initiatives we're working on to help you make greener choices and everyday decisions.

Check out the Energy Saving Trust and Everybody's Talking About Climate Change for hints and tips on cutting carbon emissions from your home. You can see what your own environmental footprint looks like using the WWF's online footprint calculator.

We've already started talking to businesses and other groups about some exciting new projects to reduce carbon but if you've got ideas about what you could do in your community then we want to hear from you.

Drop us a line and get in touch by email

Energy saving advice and tips

We've put together lots of advice about how you can reduce the amount of energy you use and save some money.

Some of them require an initial cost but lots of them are completely free.

Stay warm, cut costs. Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C can save you as much as £80 per year.

Layer up. Wearing more jumpers, socks and slippers around the house and putting an extra blanket on the bed means you won't be tempted to turn the heating up.

Turn the pressure down. A high-pressure power shower uses a surprising amount of water - sometimes even more than a bath. Turning the pressure down can save costs.

Install a new boiler. Apart from ensuring boiler safety, upgrading to a highly-rated boiler can improve your home's energy efficiency.

Don't leave the tap running. Turn the tap off when you're brushing your teeth or washing your face - it can waste more than 6 litres of water per minute while it's running.

Get a water-efficient shower head. This will cut down the amount of hot water you use but still feel like a strong shower.

Turn the lights off. When you leave a room, don't leave the lights on unless you're coming back.

Run cold washes in the washing machine. Washing your clothes at 30°C rather than 40°C can save you a third on your washing bills.

Put exterior or security lights on timers. Make sure any exterior lights are on a timer or activated by motion so they only come on when needed.

Electric mowers are much less hassle to use than petrol-powered mowers and are more energy-efficient as well. Try and invest in one if you can.

In the kitchen

The kitchen is a key area of the home when it comes to energy wastage, with a huge amount of energy to be saved when cooking if you know where energy is most likely to be wasted. Here are just a few of our tips.

Use a microwave. Heat up food in the microwave as often as possible. It's generally the most efficient way to heat up and cook food.

When you're boiling food in a pan, make sure you only use the amount of water needed to cover the amount of food you're cooking - boiling water you don't need can waste a lot of energy.

Take it slow. To save energy try using a slow cooker to cook throughout the day - they only use about as much energy as a light bulb.

Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight or while you're at work. Defrosting food in advance typically halves the cooking time and means that you don't need to use a microwave to defrost more quickly.

Use glass or ceramic dishes in the oven wherever possible. They retain heat better than their metal counterparts, making them the most energy-efficient option.

Invest in a fan-assisted or convection oven, which circulates heat throughout the oven. This means the heat doesn't have to be as high as it would in a normal oven.

Use the right size pan. Always use a pan which is the right size for the amount of food you are cooking. This means you won't waste energy while heating a bigger surface area than you need

Use the right size hob. A bigger burner will waste energy and a pan that's too big will take longer to get to the right temperature.

Keep heating rings clean. Keep your heating rings as clean as possible. Any food that sticks to the ring will absorb heat, which will make it less efficient.

Use the right ring for the right thing. If you're going to use the oven, cook a few meals at a time to get the most out of having your oven on and hot.

Energy-saving laundry tips

Because of the amount of water used in washing clothes and the amount of energy that goes into drying them, there are a few ways you can bring down your energy usage and financial spend when doing the laundry.

Ninety per cent of a washing machine's energy expenditure is spent heating the water, so if you wash your clothes at 30°C to 40°C you're saving a significant amount of money.

Hang up your laundry. Air-dry your laundry rather than tumble-drying it, particularly if the weather is warm or windy.

Save yourself ironing time. Take your clothes out of the dryer before they're completely dry. They'll iron much quicker and you'll use less energy on your drier.

Save gas

There's a lot you can do to use less gas around your home - here are just a few of them.

Install a smart meter. By clearly indicating where you're spending the most on your energy, you can take steps to cut down usage wherever possible and save money.

Upgrade your gas appliances. With more energy-efficient appliances on the market than ever before, make sure you're investing in the models which use gas in the most efficient way.

Invest in a smart thermostat. A smart thermostat will enable you to track your gas usage and make adjustments when it comes to using less.

Save electricity

Similar to gas, there are a few changes you can make around your home that could help cut down your average electricity usage and the amount of money you have to spend.

Use energy-saving lightbulbs. A lot of electricity is used in lighting your home, but you can use less energy by investing in specific energy-saving lightbulbs, which are readily available. You won't lose any light, and you'll save money too.

Install dimmer switches. This way you'll be able to light a room as much as you need, which means you can tailor the amount of electricity you'll be using to do so.

Use energy-efficient electric appliances. Some appliances, like dishwashers, run on electricity as opposed to gas, so it's worth seeking out the most energy-efficient models to ensure you're not spending more than you need to.

Don't leave anything plugged in that isn't being used. A lot of wasted electricity occurs through leaving appliances plugged in that aren't being used.

Even charger cables that don't have anything plugged into them, but are still connected to the socket, can waste electricity. So unplug anything that isn't being actively used and switch the power off at the plug.

Insulation and home improvements

During the winter, insulation is one of the key ways you can bring down your energy costs when it comes to heating your home. Here's how.

Insulate the loft. A quarter of your home's heat is lost through the roof as warm air rises, and older properties that already have insulation in place may not have the recommended levels, particularly if it was installed in the 1970s or 1980s.

If you've got single glazing (or a lot of heat is being lost through the doors and windows), install double glazing to more efficiently trap heat.

Insulate the walls. Whether you have cavity walls or solid walls, both can be insulated (or re-insulated) to encourage heat retention. You can also insulate gaps between the floor and skirting boards.

Insulate hot water pipes. Uninsulated water pipes mean it takes longer for hot water to become hot while it's running. Insulating the pipes will help prevent water wastage.

Consider solar panels. Having solar panels installed on your house could save you as much as a third on your electricity bills.