So, let’s explore what your carbon footprint is and how it’s calculated.

Carbon footprint definition

Carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs) produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2eq). It includes emissions from the burning of fossil fuels, land use changes, industrial processes, waste, and even our food choices.

Think of your house like a hidden emitter. From heating to hot water, it generates GHGs – contributing to climate change. This invisible "carbon footprint" adds up, but managing it can boost your property's value and well-being.

How to calculate your carbon footprint

Everyone always talks about their carbon footprint, but how do you actually go about working out yours?

1. Use an online calculator:

Several online calculators can estimate your footprint based on your answers to questions about your energy use, transportation habits, and other factors.

2. Calculate it yourself:

  • Write down each activity that involves burning of fossil fuels to give an initial insight into your overall emission factors. This can be done by creating a simple bullet-point list for easy reference

  • Collect data about your energy use (from utility bills), EPC rating, waste disposal (from your waste removal service), source of energy (you should be able to get this information from your energy provider), and water use (from your water bill). If you have a smart meter this could make this process easier.

  • Calculate it! The most common equation used for this is: ‘GHG emissions = data x emissions factors’. 

  • Once you have this figure, find conversion factors that convert your usage data into CO2 emissions. These factors are available from various sources, such as the Environment Agency and government websites. To symbolise a carbon footprint, the CO2 emissions (CO2eq) per unit of comparison is frequently used.

3. Get a calculation from a professional:

If you need a more detailed or accurate assessment, you can hire a professional energy auditor or carbon footprint consultant. They can conduct a comprehensive analysis of your property and provide you with a detailed report.

Benefits of calculating your carbon footprint

Think of your carbon footprint as your home's hidden efficiency gap – an unseen drain on its potential. By understanding and minimising this impact, you unlock a range of tangible benefits:

Energy-efficient upgrades

From LED lighting to smart thermostats, investing in modern technologies can dramatically reduce energy consumption.

Sustainable lifestyle adjustments

Simple habits like shorter showers, line-drying clothes, and eco-conscious product choices can collectively make a significant impact.

Renewable energy installations

Harnessing the power of solar panels, heat pumps, or wind turbines can significantly decrease your reliance on fossil fuels and generate clean energy.

Improved wellbeing

Sustainable homes go beyond energy savings. Proper insulation, optimised ventilation, and reduced reliance on harsh chemicals create a healthier and more comfortable living environment.

Increased property value

By implementing more eco-friendly solutions throughout your home, you can actually raise the value of your property. Homebuyers are increasingly placing importance on eco-friendly homes, and so making green changes to your property can pay off in the future, for the environment, and your pocket!

How to improve your carbon footprint

Improve your energy efficiency: Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances, use LED light bulbs, weather-proof your home, and install a programmable thermostat.

Reduce your reliance on fossil fuels: Consider switching to renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power.

Change your transportation habits: Walk, bike, or take public transportation whenever possible. If you must drive, choose a fuel-efficient vehicle and practise eco-friendly driving habits.

Reduce waste: Compost food scraps, recycle and reuse materials, and avoid single-use plastics.

Conserve water: Fix leaky faucets, take shorter showers, and water your lawn efficiently.

Taking ownership of your property’s carbon footprint can benefit yourself and the planet as a whole. Making changes now can have a greater impact later down the line, both environmentally and financially.

If you’re wanting to further improve your home’s energy efficiency, or are looking for a new eco-friendly property, it is worth considering remortgaging to, or taking out, a green mortgage. A green mortgage can offer certain incentives, such as potentially lower interest rates and cashback offers. Speak to one of our expert advisers today to talk through your options.

Important information

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

There may be a fee for mortgage advice. The actual amount you pay will depend on your circumstances. The fee is up to 1% but a typical fee is 0.3% of the amount borrowed.

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