What you can do as an individual
Solar Together - collective buying scheme for solar panels
From 13 June until the 11 August, if you own your own home and live in Wiltshire you can register to join Solar Together Wiltshire, a group-buying scheme which offers solar panels with optional battery storage and EV charge points.
It is free to register and receive a free, no obligation initial recommendation. Once you are registered, the scheme will take you through the process, starting with your personalised recommendation, followed by a full survey and installation if you decide to go ahead.
Wiltshire Council and Swindon Borough Council are working with iChoosr, independent experts in group-buying, to launch a second Solar Together scheme, following the success of the first in 2022.
In June 2023 'You and Yours' recently focused on customers impacted by Green Energy Together (GET UK)'s failure to deliver, who are in London, Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire only. This is not a company used in Wiltshire as part of the Solar Together scheme.
With regards to the Solar Together Scheme in Wiltshire (2022-2023) which has just come to an end, both installers used, Infinity Renewables and EE Renewables, had great success and satisfaction levels from customers, with over 80% of customers saying that they would recommend Solar Together to their friends and family. Overall, there were 712 installations in Wiltshire, which equates to over 12,900 tonnes of carbon avoided over 25 years (the equivalent to roughly 7,000 cars off roads for a year) and with more than £7.5 million invested in the scheme from our residents. Only 3.6% of customers contacted iChoosr with a complaint and we are satisfied that they have worked to keep in touch with customers to understand and resolve the issues.
Installers working with Solar Together are in a contractual relationship with iChoosr, and the qualification process for the installers involves multiple elements including:
- evidence of MCS certification plus either HIES or RECC certification
- evidence of a CRM system that enables them to manage a high volume of customers.
- evidence that the installer can realise an Insurance Backed Guarantee for workmanship.
- evidence of Insurance policies that cover liability, works and indemnity.
- annual accounts
- details of organisation and employees
- evidence of customer satisfaction results
- financial due diligence which is performed by an independent specialist
Before its qualification in February 2022 GET UK had successfully installed around 1,000 PV installations in multiple programmes; and was qualified and approved to participate most recently in February 2022. Since this time, its performance has deteriorated, and it has not been qualified to bid in further auctions with Solar Together. iChoosr are working hard, alongside industry bodies such as MCS and HIES as well as the councils where these customers have been impacted to work through the issues they are facing as GET UK customers. For those customers who are seeking a deposit refund where there was no installation, iChoosr are helping by highlighting how they can get their deposit refunded which depends on their circumstances.
Therefore we are confident that for Scheme 2 (2023-2024), that irrespective of the installer(s) selected, iChoosr will work with them and us to ensure the best service for its customers and our residents.
Find out your carbon footprint
To begin lowering your carbon footprint one of the first things you can do is to establish what your footprint is. The WWF carbon calculator is a good tool to achieve this.
Spread the word
To ensure greenhouse emissions decrease fast enough we are going to need engage within society. Talking about it encourages others to think about it and spreads the message further.
In your home
Switching to a green energy provider can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
For further information about the types of green tariff visit Energy Saving Trust: Switching your energy supplier.
Wiltshire's homes account for 26 per cent of the county's total carbon emissions, with around three-quarters of this coming from our heating systems. Decarbonising domestic heating and improving the energy efficiency of homes is a major part of reaching net zero.
Get free and impartial energy saving advice from GOV.UK: Find ways to save energy in your home or on 0800 444202 (freephone helpline). The Energy Saving Trust: Energy at home also provides information and resources to help make your home more energy efficient, reduce your carbon emissions and lower your energy bills.
Here are some further energy saving resources:
- use GOV.UK: Find ways to save energy in your home to access personalised information on energy efficiency and any grants that might be available in your area
- find free or low-cost suggestions on Centre for Sustainable Energy: What can tenants do?
- find out which appliances in your household which are contributing most to your carbon footprint on Carbon Footprint: Household Energy Consumption
- monitor your energy usage in real-time by upgrading to a smart meter, Smart Energy GB: Smart Meters - How smart meters can help to reduce your carbon footprint
Save energy and money by turning the output dial to zero about an hour before you go to bed or go out.
Reducing your room temperature by 1°C could save 310kg of carbon dioxide and £60 per year.
For more information visit Energy Saving Trust: Energy at home.
There are two main types of energy efficient light bulbs available, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
CFLs are what you typically think of as an energy efficient light bulb. CFLs are a cost-effective option for most general lighting requirements. Replacing a traditional light bulb with a CFL will save you around £3 per year, or £50 over the lifetime of the bulb.
LEDs though more expensive to buy initially, are more efficient than CFLs and will save you more money in the long term. Replacing a halogen spotlight with an equivalent LED will save you around £4 each year, or £140 over the bulb's lifetime.
Wash at 30ºC: Washing clothes at 30°C uses around 57% less electricity than at higher temperatures.
Avoiding half loads will also save energy and money; for more information visit Energy Saving Trust: How to save energy when using your washing machine.
Reduce/stop tumble dryer usage; tumble dryers can be the most energy hungry of all domestic appliances, therefore the less you use it the more money you will save.
Drying clothes outdoors on a washing line costs nothing and uses no energy, so it is the ideal way to dry your clothes. Indoors on a rack can also be a no-cost, no-energy solution, although you should be mindful of the increase in moisture levels. Keep the room ventilated so that that moisture doesn't turn into damp.
An Air Source Heat Pump uses the heat in the air as a heat source. Heat pumps can be successfully installed to existing homes, providing efficient low-carbon heating and hot water solutions. Whilst Wiltshire Council does not endorse any specific brands the sharing YouTube: Heat Pump Possible Project 1: Peacehaven (VaillantUK) video of Kevin McCloud visiting a heat pump retrofit project is intended to demonstrate the benefits of heat pumps.
Heat pumps deliver a lower heat over a longer period than conventional boilers so you will need to ensure that your home is well insulated so you are not losing heat.
For more information visit Energy Saving Trust: Energy at home.
It is best to look at how you can improve and reduce the energy use of the existing building first ('fabric first approach'), prior to installing low carbon technologies. There are a range of measures that can be undertaken from simple steps, such as draught proofing, to large scale works, such as external wall insulation. A well-insulated building will allow low carbon heat technologies such as heat pumps, to then work most effectively.
If you are renovating your home, consider the following:
- insulation and draught proofing - as you work on the building you may be able to identify problem areas, or things that could be improved. Well insulated homes require less energy to keep warm. This costs you less money and reduces your carbon footprint. For more information visit Energy Saving Trust: Draught-proofing.
- can you use more environmentally friendly materials? Embodied carbon is important (the emissions from the production and shipping of the material) as well as thinking about how it will be reused or recycled at the end of its life.
- reducing chemicals in your home and furnishings - this affects indoor air quality so chemicals and ventilation are important to consider when you may be making your home more air tight to avoid carbon emissions and keep cosy.
- build in low energy solutions into your renovation project - think about your heating, appliances (energy rating, and switching to electric cooking), lighting and smart controls
- asking your contractors questions - even if they haven't got the answers you will raise awareness that there is demand for greener solutions.
For further information visit:
GOV.UK: Find ways to save energy in your home - Government endorsed advice site
FutureProof is a pay for service to help homeowners and builders in the South West of England (including Wiltshire) to carry out energy saving home improvements and refurbishments with confidence.
The following information has been developed by Bath and North East Somerset Council, but provides detailed useful information on different retrofitting options and how these can relate to different house types. Bath & North East Somerset Council (BANES): Energy efficiency, retrofitting, and sustainable construction supplementary planning document and Bath & North East Somerset Council (BANES): An introduction to the typical house types.
Historic buildings, in particular those that are listed, need careful consideration as to what technologies and measures can be installed, but there are growing examples of how this can be done. Historic England provide some good information, with case studies. For more information visit Historic England: Energy Efficiency and Historic Buildings or Historic England: Low and Zero Carbon Technologies.
Warm and Safe Wiltshire is a commitment by Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council, Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy. The initiative aims to give residents access to advice and support to improve energy efficiency and fire safety in the home. This initiative supports people who are unable to afford to heat their home and are exposed to potential health risks associated with living in cold homes, such as respiratory conditions.
Reducing your waste is about cutting down the amount of waste you make and is a great way of reducing your impact on the environment.
For some tips on how to reduce your waste visit Reducing your waste and composting.
As well as reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, recycling helps conserve raw materials and protect natural habitats.
All our clothing can be either reused or recycled. See Love Your Clothes for lots of ways to make the most of your clothes.
If something is broken, consider repairing instead of replacing.
Not sure if an item can be recycled in Wiltshire? See What you can bring to a HRC.
Reduce food waste:
A third of the food prepared does not make it from farm to fork. Producing uneaten food squanders a whole host of resources—seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, hours of labour, money - and generates greenhouse gases at every stage. The food we waste is responsible for roughly 8 percent of global emissions.
Buy local food
Buying Wiltshire produce supports Wiltshire's economy, reduces your 'food miles' and means you know exactly where your food has come from. It's fresher, it's tastier and it's good for Wiltshire.
Most of us need to reduce the amount of dairy and meat we consume. Eating meat and dairy less often could allow more of us to afford to support better quality local meat and dairy.
Grazing land for imported meat and the need for land to grow animal feed is the single greatest driver of deforestation, including in the Amazon, which has major consequences for biodiversity loss.
Why not try to adopt meat free Monday into your week.
Find out where your money goes. Voice your concerns about responsible investment by writing to your bank or pension provider and ask if you can opt out of funds investing in fossil fuels. There are also a number of 'ethical banks' you can investigate:
- find out more from the free and impartial MoneyHelper set up by the Government
- find out what responsible investment means for your pension through Imperial College London
- check the ethical credentials of a wide range of saving and investment products with Your Ethical Money.
68% of all car journeys taken across the UK are under 5 miles (and 23% are under 1 mile). The latest local authority carbon dioxide emissions data shows transport is one of the largest contributors to Wiltshire's carbon footprint at 45%. If we just had just one car free day every week, we could save over £120 a year on petrol bills and around 300 kilograms of CO2 emissions as well.
Information on how to travel sustainably can be found on the Connecting Wiltshire website.
To find out more about electric vehicles visit Energy Saving Trust: Low carbon travel.
Fuel consumption has a lot to do with the car you buy, but whatever you drive there are things you can do to save fuel, save money and cut pollution.
By driving more economically, for instance driving smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking and avoiding short journeys you can reduce your fuel consumption.
Stick to the speed limits- going faster uses more fuel. Drive at 70mph and you'll use up to 9% more than at 60mph and up to 15% more than at 50mph.
A commuter can typically save around £1,000 a year by car-sharing. Car sharing is a great way of alleviating the stress caused by travel and reducing road and parking congestion. Liftshare has found that by sharing regular car journeys rather than travelling alone, you can cut your carbon footprint by over 10% a year.
Car clubs are a great new way to get access to a car without the costs or stress of ownership. They can give you the flexibility to use a car at work, while commuting by public transport. Businesses can also save money using car clubs instead of operating pool cars. If you drive less than 6000 miles a year, a car club can save you up to £3,500 every year.
A list of car clubs in Wiltshire can be found on the Connecting Wiltshire - Car Clubs website.
Flying can make up the single largest part of an individual's carbon footprint,
a return long-haul flight can generate more emissions that any other lifestyle activity in a whole year.
Want to get away on holiday or go adventuring, but aware that flying is bad for the climate? Try train travel, The Man in Seat 61 guide is a good place to start.
In your garden
Green spaces are crucial for combating the effects of climate change, the more biodiverse those spaces are the better. Plants can reduce summer air temperatures, reduce pollutants, help with flooding and drought, encourage wildlife into our gardens and positively affect our physical and mental health. As well as all that, they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it away.
For more information visit: Why should we green Great Britain? / RHS Gardening and Top tips for a biodiverse garden / Kew.
Area for area, peatlands store more carbon than rainforest, but increasing damage to these landscapes is leading to loss of carbon and habitat.
Peat free compost is now widely available and just as good, or why not make your own compost - it's a great way of recycling kitchen and garden waste and saves you money.
For more information about peat free gardening visit: RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society): Peat-free gardening.
For more information about damage to peatlands visit: IUCN UK Peatland Programme: Peatland Damage.
Soil holds large amounts of carbon dioxide. Digging exposes soil to the air and greenhouse gasses and water are lost. You can improve the quality of your soils by using homemade mulches and weeding by hand.
To find out more about no dig gardening visit: RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society): No-dig alternatives.
To find out more about making your own mulches visit: RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society): Mulches and mulching.
Power tools can generate a hefty carbon footprint, especially if they are petrol powered. Could you swap and use hand tools instead?
Mowing less often saves you time and is better for biodiversity. Visit: RSPB (The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds): Stop mowing your lawn for nature for advice.
In your greenhouse minimise the need for heating over winter by keeping them insulated and thinking about what you are growing- do you need to keep chilli plants in winter when you could start fresh in summer? If you do need to use a heater, use a renewable source if possible.
Lighting your garden at night can negatively affect wildlife- disrupting behaviour patterns, increasing risk of predation, and affecting breeding cycles.
There are measure you can take to reduce these effects, dim white lights are less likely to affect wildlife than coloured bulbs. Turning off bulbs not in use or use timers if lights are essential for security. Consider using solar-powered lights to save energy.
For more information visit: RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society): Garden lighting: effects on wildlife or Bat Conservation Trust: Threats to bats - lighting.
Climate change makes water an important resource in your garden. Using less water in your garden not only saves you money, it helps the water industry ensure we all have water during peak demand, and don't forget water from your tap also has a carbon footprint!
Using mulches and homemade compost is one way of saving water, by keeping it in the soil there is less need to water your garden.
Collecting, storing, and re-using makes use of the water that falls on your garden and can help with the expected increased frequency of water shortages.
For more information visit: RHS (The Royal Horticultural Society): Managing water in your garden.