Environmental Protection

Tips Tuesday: Glow-worm's Guide to a Low Carbon Christmas

The team at U.K.-based Glow-worm, has put together an eco-friendly holiday guide to help us all achieve a low carbon Christmas. Bursting at the seams with facts, figures and energy saving tips for 25 days of December.

December 1 - Feeling a little too toasty?
If you're feeling a little too warm indoors this holiday season, turn down your heating by one to two degree Celcius. Not only will this make the temperature in your home more comfortable, it can reduce your winter heating bill by up to eight to 10 percent.

December 2 - Frosty freezer?
If inside your freezer is coated by more than five centimeters of ice crystals, then now's the right time to defrost before you fill it with Christmas food. This will free up some welcomed space and, as a defrosted freezer uses less energy, it will save you money.

December 3 - Shop for Christmas with your bags for life!
Christmas shopping often results in you ending up with tens of festive branded carrier bags to transport your presents home in, many of which take years to degrade. Go green and use your bags for life as bags for the Christmas shopping and reduce your non-degradable waste.

December 4 - Buy your boiler a present!
Yes really! By insulating your boiler you can reduce your bills and your carbon emissions. At a one off cost of around £10, you can save £10-15 on your energy bills each year. Go on, buy your boiler a jacket and improve its efficiency this Christmas. A boiler upgrade to a High Efficiency model like the Ultracom2 could save you around £200 a year.

December 5 - Send an e-card!
Each year we send over 1.7[2] billion Christmas cards, most of which find their way to a landfill site when the festive season is over. Instead of sending paper cards this Christmas, why not send your loved ones e-cards? Not only can you reduce your carbon footprint, you can buy personalised e-cards from a range of charities, so you can give money to a good case at the same time.

December 6 - Don't heat unused space!
Most of us have our heating system set to fit in with the 51 weeks of the year surrounding Christmas. As such, our settings will be in place to coordinate around our working week... if you're out and about visiting friends and family remember to change your settings. Or conversely if you have everyone over for Christmas week, make sure you adjust your settings when everyone heads back to work and school in the New Year.

December 7 - Real vs. fake Christmas trees!
Buying a real Christmas tree is by far more sustainable than a fake one. A fake tree is likely to contain plastics and chemicals that could be harmful to the environment. By planting your tree in a pot indoors then back out in your garden until next year, you can keep your tree alive and re-use it year upon year.

December 8 - Ditch digital photo frames!
Pictures make the perfect personal gift. However, did you know that an average digital photo frame emits an average of 18kg's of CO2 emissions each year and costs £4-5 to run? This may not sounds like a great deal but when millions are now sold each year world-wide, the emissions can soon add up.

December 9 - Eco-toys rule!
Eco-toys aren't too dis-similar to regular toys at first glance. The only difference between the two is that eco-toys are kinder to the environment, contain more bio-degradable parts and they come from sustainable sources. Your kids won't even notice the difference. Eco-toys can be purchased from a number of retailers, including naturalcollection.com

December 10 - Check your water temperature!
There's nothing better than a long hot bath during the winter months. Have you ever considered how hot your water is and if it's costing you too much? If you're water temperature is above 60 degrees, turn it down.

December 11 - Buy Cool Gifts!
Stuck for gift ideas for friends and family? Why not consider a gift from Cool Earth; who Glow-worm is a proud supporter of. You can purchase jewellery, t-shirts, even coffee from their online shop and the proceeds will go towards helping protect endangered rainforests. There's also a range of fantastic community gifts, where your purchase will help to protect rainforest communities from deforestation. Buy a mosquito net to help save a life, give an education with the purchase of school books, provide forestry training or help foster female enterprise.

December 12 - Low carbon fairy lights!
For indoors, opt for LED fairy lights. They are around the same price as traditional fairy lights and use much less energy. If you're looking to decorate the outside of your home, why not try solar powered lights? They charge through the day, and treat light up your house at night. Carbon free!

December 13 - DIY Decorations!
Save yourself for money this holiday by making your own, recycled Christmas decorations. You can create paper baubles, felt friends and star-shaped candles by simply re-using what you have lying around your home. Craftgawker.com has hundreds of ideas for you to try.

December 14 - Say farewell to standby!
If you're going to make one New Year's resolution, make it this. "Thou shalt not leave electrical items on standby". The Energy Saving Trust says that each year the U.K. wastes £740bn[3] worth of electricity from leaving things on standby. If we all stick to this resolution, we will reduce the U.K.'s carbon footprint dramatically.

December 15 - Give your boiler a service!
Waking up to a broken boiler on Christmas day is not how you want to start your festive celebrations. All boilers, regardless of the make or model need to be serviced to ensure they're kept in tip top condition. Be sure to schedule in a boiler service before the white stuff sets in. That way, there's no chance you'll be eating your Christmas dinner in the cold. Check out our online tool to find an engineer in your area.

December 16 - English wine!
When you think of wine, your mind will most likely take you to the vineyards of California or the fields of the Mediterranean. With about 400 vineyards in the U.K., the demand for English wine is on the increase. As the bottles only need to travel up the road, rather than on a plane across the globe, opting for English plonk could greatly reduce your carbon footprint.

December 17 - Close the curtains!
A thick set of curtains can work wonders in keeping a room warm. The cool glass surface on your window can impact on the air temperature in your room, cooling it down at the same time you're trying to heat it up. Curtains provide a barrier between the windows and your room, keeping cool air out and the warm air in.

December 18 - Make the most of your heating!
Having the heating on full blast through winter doesn't come cheap. Invest in the latest intelligent controls like the Glow-worm Climapro2 RF to ensure you're heating the right zones of your property, exactly when you need to. Your central heating will be more efficient and provide more consistent levels of home comfort for you and your family.

December 19 - The new three kings!
Here at Glow-worm we have come up with some new kings; the three kings of a low carbon Christmas. Meet 'Reduce', 'Reuse' and 'Recycle' - the three key things you need to remember if you want to save money and reduce your carbon emissions this winter.

December 20 - Low carbon turkey and trimmings!
Can you really have a low carbon Christmas dinner? We're happy say; yes you can, and it's easy! By purchasing your Christmas meal from local suppliers, you reduce the miles your dinner travels to your door, whilst supporting local, independent trade and agriculture. It's win-win!

December 21 - Dinner by candle light!
Fairy lights are a quintessential part of Christmas, but they may be using non-renewable energy. By switching them off and opting for beeswax candles whilst you eat your Christmas dinner, you can create a beautiful festive atmosphere whilst reducing your impact on the Ozone layer.

December 22 - Scrabble and charades!
With the launch of motion controlled games over the past few Christmases, family games have moved away from the carbon free to the carbon plenty. So, for some of your Christmas entertainment, switch of your Wii, wave goodbye to your Xbox and engage in a spot of scrabble or charades.

December 23 - Don't like sprouts?
If you don't like sprouts, or you fill up everyone's plates to find they are the only thing left, here's the perfect excuse to leave them on the supermarket shelf. If they are going to get wasted, don't buy them! Simple!

December 24 - Last minute wrapping!
If your wrapping your presents at the very last minute, make sure you're using recycled wrapping paper or paper from sustainable sources. Funkywrappingpaper.com has a great eco-friendly range, including ribbons to match. Quick - Santa's nearly here!

December 25 - Happy low carbon Christmas! From everyone at Glow-worm we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a low carbon New Year! We hope our festive guide to a low carbon Christmas has helped you reduced your carbon emissions and your energy bills! Take a look at our website for more information on high efficiency boilers and our renewables ranges to see how you could become greener in 2012!

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