Climate Change: How We Can Make a Difference
April 2019

As we are only too aware at the moment, climate change is a massive issue. It is going to take action at every level in order to limit global temperature rises. Nearly every country in the world has committed to carbon reduction targets in order to mitigate climate change. In the UK our dependency on fossil fuel is reducing but this is only part of the picture. We must reduce the amount of energy we consume, continue to switch to renewable energy sources and address our transport systems where emissions are still increasing.

The UK has committed to reducing carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050. This is one of the most robust and ambitious targets in Europe. But we need to act now to ensure these targets are met. For example, we will need to reduce domestic carbon emissions by at least 3% per year in order to meet this target. Even small actions by individuals at home and in the studio can make a significant difference. Our partner on the LCN programme, Cockpit Arts, invited Richard Rugg, Managing Director at the Carbon Trust, to speak to LCN artists and makers about how we can all make small changes in the way we live and work to reduce our energy consumption.

Richard’s advice to us was “don’t waste anything”, this includes energy and raw materials, but also ensuring we reuse and recycle as much as possible. He also asked us to consider:

– Where we buy our energy. How green is it? Does it come from a renewable source?
– How we move around. Could we use public transport? Is there a less carbon intensive alternative?
– What we eat. How much carbon is associated with the food we eat? What small changes could we make to reduce this impact?
– Where we invest our money. Is it sustainable? Is it ethical?

Energy efficiency has many benefits beyond limiting carbon emissions and reducing our environmental impact. It saves money, it could impact on your business reputation, and it will help you to prepare for the future. You could consider developing an energy statement or policy to demonstrate how you and your business are taking action to reduce your impact. Or you may want to set standards for who you work with to ensure your supply chain is as sustainable as possible.

This doesn’t have to be about big lifestyle changes. Thinking about the energy we use, and the carbon emissions associated with our actions, can help us to make small changes to reduce consumption – which all adds up to making a big difference.

It’s not always easy to see how to save energy within the studio – especially in a shared space or when you don’t own the building. It might be easier to consider ways to save energy at home and some of the following tips [1] can equally apply to the work place.

Appliances

You can save around £30 a year just by remembering to turn your appliances off standby mode. Switch off PCs, laptops and monitors when they are not in use and set your computer to auto sleep after periods of inactivity. Avoid charging electrical devices for longer than necessary.

You can save around £36 a year on your energy bill just by using your kitchen appliances more carefully. Using a bowl to wash up rather than a running tap saves £25 a year. By only filling the kettle with the amount of water that you need you will save around £6 a year.

Lighting

Turn your lights off when you’re not using them. In your home this will save around £15 a year on your annual energy bills.

Switch to LEDs. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and fittings. If the average household replaced all their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £35 a year on bills.

Cleaning windows and light fittings regularly to reduce the need for artificial lighting.

Heating

More than half the money spent on fuel bills goes towards providing heating and hot water. Aim to heat your home to between 19 – 21oC in winter. If you already have a room thermostat turning this down by just one degree can save around £75 a year.

Switch off heating and cooling before the end of the working day and make sure you are not heating and cooling at the same time.

Draught proofing your home (or studio) will make you feel much more comfortable and can save around £20 a year on energy bills. This will stop you losing heat through draughts around doors, windows and gaps in the floor.

The Carbon Trust work with a range of organisations to accelerate the move to a sustainable, low carbon economy. Through their START2ACT programme, Richard and his team are working with small and start up business across London to identify and implement low cost energy saving measures, to save money on energy bills and reduce their environmental impact.

For more tips about saving energy at home and in the workplace the START2ACT programme has developed an E-Learning platform which you can explore here.

Further reading

Carbon Trust: https://www.carbontrust.com/home/

Energy Saving Trust: https://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/

[1] Source: https://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/home-energy-efficiency/energy-saving-quick-wins

Words: Emma Sims, Administrative Coordinator, Cockpit Arts