WE'RE constantly being told to recycle, reuse and watch our carbon footprintso now's the time to start making changes around your home.
You don't have to completely change your way of living, but even making small changes in the home and in your lifestyle can make a difference in the long term.
It's all been said before, but simple things such as switching off lights in rooms you're not using, washing clothes below 40°C, not leaving appliances on standby, unplugging chargers and using energy-saving lightbulbs can all make a difference.
You could also think about only filling the kettle with as much water as you need, and not leaving the water running when brushing your teeth. There's a whole range of small things you can do around your home.
Most councils are now providing fortnightly collections for recycled items, including cardboard, glass, tins, bottles and jars, so make sure you pop your recyclable waste into the right bin and you'll be doing your bit.
You can also get small food bins if you want to further recycle your left-over food items, or you could use this to create your own compost if you want to give your plants a helping hand or if you're growing your own vegetables.
To create your own compost, simply get a bin and put in garden waste such as grass and weeds, as well as some kitchen waste such as vegetable peels and teabags, don't use meat, fish or cooked food, though. It will take a long time to create, so you may want to see if your local garden centre has tips.
If you're looking at bigger projects to help you go green then ensuring your appliances are A-rated for their efficiency and your home is well insulated in the loft is a good place to start. If your windows were letting in plenty of draughts this winter, then if they're old maybe it's time to start thinking about getting them replaced with new energy efficient windows.
Some window and door manufacturers use a window energy rating scheme to show the energy efficiency of their product similar to the one on appliances such as your fridge A-rated windows are the most efficient. New double glazing will help keep your home warmer and quieter, as well as reducing your energy bills.
If you're actually thinking of generating your own energy, then small wind turbines could be for you. According to the Energy Saving Trust, around 40% of all the wind energy in Europe blows over the UK, making it an ideal country for small domestic turbines. Wind turbines harness the power of the wind and use it to generate electricity. Small systems known as microwind or small- wind turbines can produce electricity to help power the lights and electrical appliances in a typical home.
You could also try solar panels; although they are initially expensive they generate cheap, green electricity from sunlight.
Solar electricity systems capture the sun's energy using photovoltaic (PV) cells. The cells convert the sunlight into electricity, which can be used to run household appliances and lighting. PV cells don't need direct sunlight to work you can still generate some electricity on a cloudy day.
So whether you simply make a small few changes or install energy producing equipment, it'll all make a difference in the future.
For more energy-saving tips, log on to the website at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.