There are many simple, low or no-cost ways to reduce your household's greenhouse gas emissions. Saving carbon almost always also saves you money and contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle, which is good for your health and your home.
Know your impact
Measuring your emissions helps you to understand what’s creating your footprint. Once you understand this, you can take some simple steps to reduce it.
Future Fit(external link) provides a household carbon calculator using New Zealand information.
GenLess(external link) provides tips, tools and stories of Kiwis taking action on climate change.
Improve the energy efficiency and health of your home
The energy used in homes and other buildings makes up 19 per cent of the emissions from Christchurch. You can save money, increase the energy efficiency of your home and reduce emissions simply by increasing insulation, draft-stopping, installing curtains, and choosing energy-saving appliances.
Here are some more helpful tips to make your home energy efficient.
- Book a free healthy home assessmentChristchurch home owners can receive free, no obligation, expert advice about the health and efficiency of their home. For more information and to book visit Build Smarter – Live Better.(external link)
- Insulate and heat your home efficiently. In partnership with the Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme, Community Energy Action (a local not-for-profit trust) is able to offer free ceiling and floor insulation and a 90% subsidy for a heat pump or log burner (to a maximum of $3,000 incl. GST) to homes located in low income neighbourhoods. For more information and to apply visit Community Energy Action(external link).
- Improve your home using your rates bill. Canterbury rate payers can add the cost of insulation, a home heating appliance, kitchen and bathroom ventilation and a ground moisture barrier to their rates bills. A maximum of $6,000 (including GST) is available per ratepayer to be paid back over nine years. For more information and to apply visit Healthier Homes Canterbury(external link).
- Book a free home design consultation. If you are thinking about designing a new home or undertaking major alterations, you can book a free one hour consultation with the Councils Eco-Design Advisor. For more information and to book your appointment visit Eco-Design Advisor. (external link)
- Check the health of your home. The New Zealand Green Building Council has developed a simple to use online check of the health and energy efficiency your home. To see how your home measures up visit HomeFit(external link).
- Build a super-efficient home. The local Superhome Movement is a group of designers, builders and suppliers building healthy and energy efficient homes. They offer tours, workshops and have a detailed home design guide. For more visit Superhome Movement(external link).
Waste less and save more
Waste disposal accounts for 7 per cent of Christchurch’s greenhouse gas emissions. Preventing waste wherever possible and recycling and composting all that we can will make better use of our resources while saving money and reducing emissions.
- Avoid waste by shopping wisely. Reuse items and buy pre-loved items. For practical tips for avoiding waste visit Rubbish Free Living.(external link)
- Recycle and compost all that you can. Find out what items can be recycled or composted in the Christchurch kerbside collection service(external link)
- Share, lend or borrow household items. Mutu(external link) makes it easier to share, lend and borrow tools, sports gear and other household items.
- Reduce food waste. Love Food Hate Waste(external link) has tips on cutting food waste and recipes for food that’s too good to waste.
- Avoid waste by shopping wisely.
- (external link)(external link)Learn more about sustainable living. The Sustainable Living(external link) runs practical Future Living Skills courses in Christchurch.
Buy and grow local food
The way we shop and the food we eat can have a big impact on our household footprint. Choosing New Zealand made products and locally grown food will cut emissions and support local jobs. Growing food at home and having a plant-rich diet can help even more and will shrink your shopping bills too.
- Buy NZ made. Select items that are made or grown in New Zealand.
- Support local markets and green grocers. Christchurch has 10 regular farmers markets and many more fruit and vegetable shops selling fresh local produce. Edible Christchurch(external link) has a list of local farmers markets.
- Consider your diet. Eat more vegetables, fruit and less red meat to help reduce your emissions footprint.
- Grow food at home. Edible Christchurch(external link)(external link) and the Canterbury Horticultural Society(external link)(external link) can help with gardening tips.
- Gather fruit and nuts from trees growing in public places. To encourage food foraging the Council has a mapped edible trees(external link) growing in public places throughout the city.
- Help out in your local community or school garden. Christchurch has 35 community gardens(external link) and many more school gardens which are great places to learn about food growing and generally offer fresh produce to people who help out in the garden.
Plant native trees or shrubs
You can do this at home and volunteer(external link) for planting days at public sites to help remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere.
Offset your flights(external link) or household emissions in ways that support native restoration.
Save our precious water
Reducing water use is an important way to lower emissions and preserve our supply of quality drinking water. Supplying water to homes and businesses and treating wastewater is a significant source of emissions in Christchurch.
You can help save water at home. The Council’s water like you oughta(external link) site has plenty of practical water saving tips for around the home and garden.
Make a household or workplace plan(external link) to respond to risks and natural hazards such as extreme weather events, drought, fire and flooding.
Share your views
Become an active citizen and encourage political leaders, friends and family to take action on climate change.
- Take part in community discussions about our responses to climate change. Visit Have Your Say(external link) to view opportunities to engage in Council decision-making.
- Talk about the actions you are taking and encourage others, such as businesses, political leaders, friends and family to also take action on climate change.
- Support environmentally responsible businesses through your purchasing decisions. Conscious Consumer(external link) makes it easy to support environmentally aware businesses and to measure the footprint of your purchasing decisions.