Forget the scientists and politicians, it's you and your plumber who are going to save the world! There are many things you can get your plumber to do that will make your home more environmentally friendly.
Two big areas of concern which a plumber can help with are water and heating.
Water conservation is a huge issue in all areas of the country but particularly in the south east where reservoirs are running dry and increased housing is putting added pressure on water supplies. Who remembers the hosepipe ban in 2006 when lawns were parched and brown?
There are several ways to cut down on water use. Firstly, if you are having a bathroom refurbishment then fit a toilet with water saving or dual flush cistern and make sure you install a shower. Even if you want an occasional bath, the fact is that far less water is used by taking a shower so get into the habit! Also choose your taps carefully. Those that use a spray system use much less water than normal running taps. But also do your bit by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or shave. The average family can save 1,000 litres of water a month this way.
Maintain your taps and pipes properly. Leaking taps can each waste 30 litres of water a day and getting them fixed early on will prevent problems from worsening and will keep your maintenance costs low.
When it comes to washing clothes and dishes, use machines only once they are full or put them on half load settings. And when replacing appliances go for A rated ones which are the most energy efficient.
There are all sorts of things you can do to cut down on carbon emissions and bills related to heating. First insulate your home - the loft and cavity walls are where 50% of heat loss occurs hence a sensible place to start. Draught excluders on doors and windows can really help too. But watch out, if a room has a gas boiler or gas fire then ventilation is essential for safety.
Then make sure you have an efficient boiler. A new "A" rated condensing boiler will use much less fuel than an old one. If your boiler is 15 years old it probably needs replacing and new ones have to be energy efficient by law. A condensing boiler converts around 90% of the fuel it uses into useful heat, compared to around 60% for an old conventional boiler. It's also important to maintain your boiler properly - it should be serviced regularly just like a car.
Check your hot water cylinder is properly insulated with a new lagging jacket. When you replace your old cylinder install a pre-insulated one. The same goes for pipes. The last thing you want is a burst water pipe in cold weather. This can happen if pipes get too cold. The water inside freezes expands and bursts the pipes. Suddenly you have an emergency on your hands. So avoid this by wrapping insulating material around them.
Simple ways of saving energy and money include washing clothes at a lower temperature. You rarely need to wash anything beyond 30 or 40 degrees, so save the hot washes for really filthy clothes. Also ask yourself whether you could comfortably lower the temperature of your home by a degree through the winter. And if you have spare rooms that are rarely used, turn off the radiators. You can heat them up on the occasions when you do spend time in them. Conserve heat by keeping doors shut - rooms will feel much cosier inside.
So show the scientists and politicians who's got their head screwed on and start saving money - and the planet.