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1. Choose energy-efficient-rated appliances

When purchasing your next appliance, take a moment to consider its energy rating. This can have a significant impact on the amount of electricity consumed – which in turn is one of the greatest contributors to your carbon footprint. Since 1991 large, energy-consuming appliances – such as dishwashers, washing machines, fridges and tumble driers have been sold with an energy rating – often labelled as A+, A++ or A+++. This is slightly confusing – over 90% of appliances sold are of an A rating or higher. However, from March 2021 the ratings have been changed, with “+” signs being replaced by a simpler scale that runs from A to G3. If possible, look to purchase A-rated appliances, as this will help make a significant impact on your electricity consumption and footprint.

2. Be brighter about lighting

In addition to turning the lights off whenever you can(!), LED lights are a great way to lower the amount of electricity you use, and therefore your carbon footprint. LED lights use on average 90% less energy than the typical incandescent bulb, as well as having a life expectancy that is 20 times longer than a traditional bulb – helping you reduce your secondary carbon footprint as you will only have to replace them once every 50,000 hours (or 17.12 years, in simpler terms).

3. Get smart about heating

Heating via gas or electricity is a huge contributor to your carbon footprint at home. A boring but simple place to start is to look at your insulation – not just in your loft and walls, but also windows and doors – to make sure your home retains heat during the winter and stays cool in summer. On a tight budget? There are lots of useful resources just a quick YouTube search away that will show you how to do this yourself. Many heating systems provide smart devices to ensure your heating is only on when you need it – saving wasted energy heating the home when not required.

4. Be aware of your water use

A huge amount of energy is required to process and supply water to our homes, which is a significant indirect emission for individuals at home. Where possible, reduce the amount you used in the garden (water butts are a great way to do this), turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, and have short showers rather than baths if you can.

Want to do more?

Carbon Neutral Britain Link opens in a new window calculate that the average UK carbon footprint falls between 12-14 tonnes of CO2e emissions each year. In addition to those created at home, your emissions come from all of your consumption (purchases), waste and travel – adding up considerably each year.

For those that want to do more, with Carbon Neutral Britain’s Carbon Neutral Subscription Link opens in a new window, for £6.99 each month you can plant 20 trees and offset 1.25 tonnes of CO² Emissions through sustainable and certified carbon offsetting projects around the world. That is 15 tonnes of CO2e emissions, and a whopping 240 trees each year – reversing your total climate impact.

Greener Mortgages & Green Reward Scheme

Virgin Money is proud to be partnered with Carbon Neutral Britain to provide a range of Greener Mortgages Link opens in a new window; offsetting 5 tonnes of CO2e emissions – and planting trees in sustainable projects around the world for eligible mortgage customers.

Also, if you're an already existing Virgin Money mortgage customer check out our Green Reward scheme Link opens in a new window. You could bag £250 cashback* when you spend at least £2,500 on eligible green improvements to your property - from windows and doors, to insulation, heating and solar energy - all of these upgrades and more are eligible.

*You'll need to take out additional mortgage borrowing with us. If you do qualify for the scheme, you will have until and including 31 July 2024 to complete the home improvements and make the cashback claim. Check out the full terms here Link opens in a new window. Don't risk losing your home - keep up those mortgage repayments.

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