With delegates and leaders from around the world descending on Glasgow for COP26, it’s no surprise that climate change and what we can do to save the planet is a hot topic for most of us right now. COP26, or the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, is being held in Glasgow between 31st October and 12th November and during these two weeks parties from around the world will join forces to tackle the issue of climate change and how, together, we can protect communities, reduce emissions and invest in renewable energies.

Like most of us, you’ve probably found yourself doing little bits here and there to become more eco-friendly, like recycling waste and reducing the amount of driving you are doing. But is there more you could be doing to help reduce your carbon footprint? At home especially, there are many small changes we can make that could make a huge impact over time.

Control your heating

According to The Energy Saving Trust, the first step we should all be taking to cut our carbon emissions, and reduce our bills, is to control our heating. Understanding how your heating is controlled is key, especially for those renting. For most central heating systems this involves a timer, thermostat, and radiator valves. Ensuring these are fitted and working properly is crucial, so if you haven’t had these checked in a while, then book in for a boiler and heating service with your current provider as soon as possible. Ideally, you should have an annual service scheduled to keep your heating working as efficiently as possible.

Once all is running as it should, make sure your heating timer is set only for when you need it. For example, you don’t need the heating running full blast if you’re not at home and you should only heat the rooms you need. Consider your schedule, when you’ll be home and when it starts to get colder outside. Also, your heating patterns at the weekend will no doubt be different to during the week depending on your work schedule so remember to consider that. Heating apps such as Hive are great for controlling your heating through your smartphone, plus you can control your lights and other electricals too.

Around a third of the heat in an insulated home is lost through the walls, according to the Energy Saving Trust, so it’s important to check that you have the right insulation and check your pipes are covered too. You can check your loft insulation easily, but you may want to get a survey done and have a professional look over the whole house. If you live in a new build your home is no doubt built to be as eco-friendly as possible, but for older houses, losing heat through the walls and cavities can be a big issue.

Check your energy supplier

We would always recommend checking for the best deal when it comes to renewing your energy supplier, but in addition to checking for the best prices, you may also want to consider which providers are the most environmentally-friendly too. There are some suppliers dedicated to greener energy but most of the big energy companies also offer greener energy tariffs.

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Ditch the toxins

Many of the chemicals in cleaning products can do more harm than good, from releasing toxins into the air, causing damage to surfaces or just not being as efficient as advertised. It’s important to check over the products you are currently using and switching to a more eco-friendly brand such as Method and Bio-D. Switching to another product doesn’t always mean spending more money, you can swap out many of your products for common household items. Lemons, baking soda, white vinegar, natural salt and various essential oils can all be used to clean everything from curtains to cupboards.

Reuse and recycle

In addition to swapping out your products for ones more eco-friendly in the way they are produced, you can also find brands that package their products so that they can be recycled or reused. Refills are becoming more popular, so instead of repurchasing a spray bottle each time for example, you can buy the liquid in a plastic bag which is then used to refill the bottle. The refill bag can be recycled and there’s no need to purchase another bottle, simply reuse the old one.

This isn’t just for cleaning or household products, it is commonly practiced throughout the toiletries, beauty products and even food industries. Refill stations in shops and supermarkets are becoming more popular where you can take your own containers and fill them up with pasta, rice, spices, flour and much more!

For beauty products, try swapping out cotton pads and face wipes for ones that can be washed alongside your clothes. You can pick up reusable cotton pads from most pharmacies and online, and you can swap out facewipes for linen cloths or towels. These seemingly small steps can make a huge difference to the environment.

Flip your furniture

We can all do more to reduce the number of things we are buying, and a great way to do that is to upcycle our existing furniture by giving a well-loved piece a new lease of life. Not only is it a great way to pass time and save money, it’ll help towards reducing waste. Even if you’re a DIY novice, there are plenty of sites and social media accounts out there dedicated to upcycling projects. From painting your kitchen cupboards to reupholstering your sofa, it’s not just small items you can tackle.

Not only can you find all of the hottest properties for sale and to rent at s1homes, we have even more useful tips for homeowners and renters looking to update their home on a budget. Check out our latest advice at s1homes.com/blog.