Fuming about emissions. How to cut your energy use and save money

The cost of living crisis is driven in large part by huge increases in fossil fuel costs and the knock on effect this has on pretty much every aspect of our lives. Much of these price rises are beyond our control, but in some areas of our lives we can reduce fossil fuel usage, and as a result save some costs and cut our carbon footprint as well.

Zero emissions day falls on September 21, when the aim is to spend a day without using fossil fuels at all, in order to give the Earth a break. Considering how integrally bound fossil fuels are into most aspects of our lives, it is extremely difficult to avoid them.

Oil is used in computers, food packaging, cleaning and beauty products, home furnishings, sports equipment, toys, agriculture, construction, clothing and many more.

However, there are some aspects of fossil fuel usage we can control more easily, and these are either within our homes, or through our travel choices. In each there is scope to cut our use of fossil fuels, and as a result carbon footprints and costs.


Driving a petrol /diesel car and airtravel are the two most intensive fossil fuel types of transport per kilometre. An SUV car will generate 9x as much carbon emissions as taking the same journey by train. The lowest in terms of carbon footprint and costs is walking and cycling.

So, the best way to cut your transport costs, carbon footprint and fossil fuel usage is to cut flying, especially if you fly frequently. Another good one is reducing fuel used in car journeys. Here are a couple of quick wins to begin with:

Drive more efficiently This can save 20% on your fuel usage

Don’t idle your car, as it wastes fuel, creates carbon emissions and costs money. It also creates harmful pollution.

And if you are keen for a really big cost saving, and reduction in your footprint too, cutting back or cutting out car use is a big impact option. Typically easier for the half of the world’s population who live in urban areas, where public transport is more available and attitudes to car ownership are changing too. The majority of car owning participants in a survey by UCL said driving in London is a nightmare. So here are a couple of alternative to driving in urban areas:

Green commute: Try cycling or walking to work, saves money and also better for your health!

Walk short distances and try to swap short car journeys by going on foot instead. Reduce emissions, fuel use, pollution and congestion and get fitter too.

But whether you live in a town or rural community, recent prices at the pump really highlight that the benefits brought by easily accessible fossil fuels may be coming to an end. As we learn to live with less of them, we can also significantly reduce our carbon footprints, and as a result do more for the planet.

Our Homes

Our homes are another key user of fossil fuels where we do have some control and influence too. Many people across the world heat their homes with gas, or oil, and much of the world’s electricity supply is created by burning gas, or coal.

As a result, all these areas have been, and continue to be subject to significant price increases. Cutting our fossil fuel and electricity use at home has the dual benefits of cost and carbon savings.

The ease of access to energy has enabled people to heat their homes to higher temperatures, cool their homes to lower temperatures, live in larger homes, and use a higher volume of electronics.

This increase in per capita use of power has increased our exposure to steep price rises, as our dependence on energy increases. So here are a few ways to decrease our need, save costs and shave a bit off our carbon footprint too.

A few to get started:

Turn off radiators in unused rooms saves fuel and money. If all radiators were turned off in all unused rooms across the globe, it would save enough energy to power millions of homes!

Take a shorter shower going from the average 8 minute shower in the UK to under 5 minutes every day makes a difference. Also if you always end up adding cold, just heat the water to a slightly lower temperature to save more energy.

Turn the lights off when you don’t need them saves energy and means light bulbs last longer too.

If you’re working from home, chances are you’ll need to heat part of your house in colder parts of the year. Check your Working from home checklist to minimise energy use and costs.

If you are ready to go for some bigger savings here are some suggestions to try

Turn down heating even by just 1 degree will see a reduction in your fuel use immediately

Smart heating helps you heat your home as efficiently as possible

Green electricity this is one of the best big impact steps, as it can cut your electricity carbon footprint by 90%

Whatever our personal situation, the impact of rising energy costs is highlighting just how integrated fossil fuels are into every aspect of life. Fossil fuels have brought great progress over the last 150 years, they have transformed our world entirely, but they have also been a key driver in the climate crisis we face, and are now a key driver in the cost of living crisis we face too.

While the world is figuring out how to deal with these huge challenges, we can all start by finding ways to reduce our personal dependence on fossil fuels immediately, and cut carbon and costs at the same time.

You can sign in to Giki Zero now to take steps to cut pollution and emissions.