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Energy  Consumption

Coral reefs are dying, polar ice caps are melting and there is an increase in freak weather events; all as a result of global warming and climate change, but what can we do about it? One answer is to reduce our energy consumption and improve out carbon footprint. Here are a few simple tips on how you can start reducing your energy usage and help the environment:

1. When you have finished using your electronic equipment (e.g. lights, TVs and laptops) for the day, turn them off completely rather than leave them in standby mode, so that they are not constantly using energy.

2. Consider walking or riding a bike if you have a short journey to make; car sharing or using public transport over long distances can also help improve your carbon footprint.

3. Try to insulate your home as much as possible, by installing double-glazed windows and using insulating foam in the walls and roof of your house. This will help reduce heat transfer to the outside world and you’ll need to use less energy to keep your house warm, so you’ll be saving money on heating costs too!

4. Where possible, eat seasonal foods, buy local produce or maybe try to grow your own fruit and vegetables! A large amount of energy is used by companies transporting foods across the world to meet consumer demands.

5. Tumble dryers are very energy hungry machines, if you are able to (and if the weather allows!) why not dry your laundry out on a washing line or drying rack?

6. Take a 'staycation' rather than travelling abroad for your holidays. You will greatly reduce your carbon footprint whilst discovering more about the nature or towns and cities in your home country.

7. Recycle and re-use as much as you can! Single use plastic objects such as straws and plastic cups and cutlery take years to decompose; whilst some forms of plastic may not fully decompose at all! If such objects find their way into the environment they can be very damaging to the eco-system. Through recycling and reusing, the energy required to produce new plastic products will be reduced as demand for the material decreases.

8. Plant trees to save energy. By planting trees in the right place around your home they can help reduce your energy consumption. Once established, the trees will provide shade on hot days, lessening the need for air conditioning and in cold weather they may help guard against icy winds that cause building to lose heat. The important process of Photosynthesis, where plants convert carbo dioxide into oxygen will also be occurring all year long.

By Carolyn Foster - Tenerife Assistant Research Officer

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