4 ways to lower your carbon footprint

Solar panels at Marwell Zoo

With COP26 just around the corner, you might be thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint. We share four easy ways to do just that!

1. Heating your home

We have been working on becoming carbon neutral since 2008 and we found that a lot of energy at Marwell is used in heating. We’re very careful with heating timers and thermostats to make sure we’re not over-heating our animals and people, or heating at the wrong time of day. We also heat different parts of buildings to different temperatures. For example, the lemurs like it warmer than giraffes, so their part of the building is warmer.

If you’ve got radiator controls in your house, turn the temperature down in the rooms you use less often. Lowering the temperature in your bedroom for example will reduce heating bills and help you sleep better. Remember to turn the lights out in the rooms you’re not using and switch off or unplug chargers and devices while you’re not using them.

2. Rethink the way you travel

For many families, travelling by car is a big part of their carbon footprint. Here at Marwell, we’re hoping to have electric car charging installed in 2022. If you’re not ready to change your car yet, think about how you could use it less. Get your school to join the walk to school challenge, or travel by bus.

Over the last two summers, we’ve mostly all been holidaying in the UK and holding meetings online and it’s been fine! If you’re a frequent flyer, try taking short breaks in the UK instead of flying and keep business meetings online.

3. Meatless Mondays

Cafe

At Café Graze, we were awarded the Soil Association Food for Life award in 2019 for our commitment to local and sustainably sourced food. Red meat in particular is very carbon-intensive, but you don’t have to go vegan to remove carbon from your diet. Slow-grown, outdoor reared, and grass-fed animals have a much lower carbon footprint. If you integrate these with more plant-based options you can make a big difference to your carbon diet and improve animal welfare in farming.

4. Go renewable

A male okapi at Marwell Zoo

One of the first big steps we did to reduce our carbon footprint was to switch to a renewable energy supplier. This means that all of our electricity is carbon neutral. Normally, this would be one of the easiest changes you can implement that will make a big difference, and may not cost more than your current supplier – depending on your tariff. With the current energy crisis, now is not a great time to switch. Put a note in your diary for April 2022 and find yourself a renewable tariff when prices should be better.

At Marwell, we have solar panels on our Wild Explorers, Café Graze, Heart of Africa, and okapi buildings, as well as at Wallaby Walkthrough. If you’re a homeowner, solar panels can provide you with free carbon-neutral electricity. Couple this with a heat pump to provide low carbon heat. With these, you’ll be well on your way to reducing your carbon footprint and being a carbon-neutral household. Although this is a big investment upfront, it will save a lot in the long run.

You’ll need to make sure your house is well insulated to get the biggest savings. Don’t forget your loft, wall and underfloor insulation, double glazing, and draught-proofing if you haven’t done these already.

Find out more about Marwell’s journey to reduce our carbon footprint and become carbon neutral by 2022.

By Dr. Duncan East, Head of Sustainability at Marwell Wildlife