carbon footprint reduction

How to reduce your carbon footprint

Tips and Ideas

On this page, you will find tips and ideas for the reduction of CO2-emissions for the following areas:

  • Individuals and Families
  • Businesses and Organizations
  • Schools and School Classes
  • Travel

Ideas for Individuals and Families

Your carbon footprint can improve greatly, if you switch to a renewable energy source. Added to that, you can use one of the many innovative technologies designed to make energy use more efficient, such as energy-saving LEDs, power strips with multiple outlets that can be switched off when not in use, as well as energy-saving devices such as those with an A+/A+++ energy label. Maybe you could even invest in renewable energy projects or install your own photovoltaic system on your roof. And have you ever thrown a junk mail reduction party?

If you want to reduce emissions originating from heating, the most effective measure is switching to a renewable energy source. To make sure that your heating system is working efficiently, check your thermostat and vent your heating system before you start heating in the fall. Another easy way to avoid unnecessary heat loss is ventilating your house or apartment correctly - periodically open your windows for a short time instead of leaving them tilted all day. When you renovate your house or apartment or when you build a new one, check if you can install an aquiforous underfloor heating system.

  • You should regularly check if any of your taps is dripping as this can cause thousands of liters of wasted water.
  • Fully loaded, energy-efficient dishwashers can save up to 50% more water and 28% more energy than washing dishes by hand.
  • Investing in a water saving cistern and a dual-flush system for your toilet can reduce water consumption by about a third.
  • In order to lower emissions in this category and at the same time enjoy delicious food, you should choose seasonal and regional produce.
  • A plant-based diet generally has a lower carbon footprint, but you need to be especially careful with substitute products such as soy, if you do not want to cause even worse environmental harm such as large-scale loss of primary forest. Large amounts of soy are also being used as food for animals in the meat industry every day, which is one reason why eating meat has such a high carbon footprint.
  • Meat lovers know that an occasional piece of organically farmed meat tastes better and overall is more enjoyable then the daily consumption of meat from factory farms.
  • In any case, organic products are a lot more animal-friendly, use less pesticides and maintain healthy soil.
  • One way to reduce emissions originating from mobility would be to walk or bike more and at the same time become fitter!
  • If you need a car, carsharing can free you from many responsibilities and reduce your costs.
  • Many business trips can be replaced with online meetings and allow you to be more relaxed as well.
  • If you do not want to or cannot stop flying, booking direct flights reduces emissions.
  • You should also check for rail&fly offers of your airline which allow you to affordably and quickly get to the airport by train instead of having to take the plane or your car.
  • If you want to lower travel emissions, you should book your trips with agencies that follow sustainability standards and also compensate carbon emissions. However, it is important to check the project for a reasonable, tangible and long-term impact.
  • If you do not get around without flying, you can cut down on stress and emissions by booking direct flights.
  • Also check for rail&fly offers that get you to the airport by train. They are usually very affordable and get you to the airport quicker and without traffic.
  • Organizing private accommodation or staying at a natural campsite instead of in a hotel does not only reduce emissions, waste and other environmental damage, but also allows for more individuality, freedom and quietness.
  • You can avoid unnecessary emissions from excess purchases by only buying cloths you really need and actually wear.
  • Preferably buy your outfits in small stores that sell clothes with certificates which ensure their fair and ecological production.
  • The largest reduction of emissions is possible when things such as furniture, clothes and books are bought second-hand.
  • Using recycled paper also cuts down emissions and saves valuable resources.
  • If your local waste management company treats garbage seperately, you should definitely seperate trash and use a recycling bin. You can usually find information about how to seperate and recycle correctly on the company's website.
  • You can also reduce trash by eliminating disposable packaging as far as possible, for example by shopping in zero waste stores and replacing indispensable packaging with biodegradable materials, or by reusing old bags as garbage bags.
  • Drinking tap water wherever the quality allows, using a carbonator if desired, and carrying a reusable water bottle, eliminates emissions and transport of plastic and glass bottles.
  • Buying in bulk and choosing reusable or refillable packaging also helps.
  • You could even compost your biodegradables in your garden or with an indoor worm composting bin.
  • Sustainably produced and energy-efficient devices reduce the most carbon dioxide. Eco-labels help to distinguish such devices.
  • Another measure is the reduction of electricity consumption in general.
  • Make sure you also use the devices as long as possible and dispose them correctly so that they can be recycled if possible.
  • Devices should be purchased from companies that ensure a fair supply-chain for raw materials.
  • We recommend buying durable, energy-efficient devices that were produced sustainably. Eco-labels help to distinguish such devices, for example the EU label that differentiates from the energy efficiency classes A+++(most efficient) to D (least efficient).
  • Another measure is the reduction of electricity consumption in general, which usually depends on the size of the device.
  • Make sure you also use entertainment electronics such as your smartphone as long as possible and dispose them correctly so that they can be recycled if possible.
  • Devices should be purchased from companies that ensure a fair supply-chain for raw materials.

Ideas for Businesses

  • Your carbon footprint can improve greatly, if you switch to a renewable energy source.
  • Maybe you could even produce your own energy with photovoltaic system on the roof.
  • Added to that, you could use one of the many innovative techologies designed to make energy use more efficient, such as energy-saving LEDs, power strips with multiple outlets that can be switched off after work, and energy-saving devices such as those with the EU A+/A+++ energy label.
  • Check if your business or organization can switch to an efficient and environmentally-friendly heating source, such as hybrid heating, wood pellets, geothermal heating or aquiforous underfloor heating systems. Often, these sources are also more cost-efficient and future-oriented.
  • Making sure that your existing heating system is running efficiently can also make a difference. For this, your heating system needs to be vented regularly and the thermostats have to be checked.
  • Added to that, any unnecessary loss of heat should be prevented: are your outer walls and windows well insulated? Ventilating correctly is another easy way to avoid unnecessary heat loss - periodically open your windows for a short time instead of leaving them tilted all day. This way, a maximum amount of air is exchanged while only a minimal amount of heat is lost.
  • You should regularly check if any of your taps is dripping as this can cause thousands of liters of wasted water.
  • Fully loaded, energy-efficient dishwashers can save up to 50% more water and 28% more energy than washing dishes by hand.
  • Investing in a water saving cistern and a dual-flush system for your toilet can reduce water consumption by about a third.
  • Certified recycling paper saves resources and minimizes your carbon footprint.
  • Added to that, you can save paper by printing on both sides whenever possible. Ideally, your business or organization implements online working structures and completely avoids paper chaos.
  • Investing in a signature pad can also reduce many unnecessary prints. You can also reduce expenses and trash by refilling your printer cartridges. Most companies also take them back for recycling.
  • A letter generally causes 20 grams of carbon dioxide emissions, so reducing paper mail helps to keep emissions low as well as printing only what is really necessary and double-sided wherever possible.
  • Certified recycling paper saves resources and minimizes your carbon footprint.
  • Should you have to use fresh fiber paper, make sure to buy from a certified brand that ensures responsible forest management.
  • Cardboard packaging can often be reused for returns or other mail. Even an email causes about 10g of CO2 on average.
  • Reducing the data size of attachments and the amount of emails in general can help.
  • If your local waste management company treats garbage separately, you should definitely separate trash and use a recycling bin.
  • You can usually find information about how to separate and recycle correctly on the company`s website.
  • You can also reduce trash by eliminating disposable packaging as far as possible and replacing indispensable packaging with biodegradable materials and buying in bulk or in reusable or refillable packaging.
  • Providing washable fabric towels instead of paper towels also reduces emissions, as well as biodegradable soaps.
  • When it comes to cleaning, prevention pays out most. A doormat for example reduces the amount of dirt that enters the building.
  • Cleaning products are usually overdosed by about 100%, so making sure you only use the necessary amount lowers consumption and emissions.
  • But also the type of product you use matters, so try to buy ecological cleaning agents. You yourself will also profit from this, since many products contain corrosive, irritant and allergenic substances that are harmful to your health.
  • Drinking tap water wherever the quality allows, using a carbonator if desired, and providing reusable water bottles eliminates emissions and transport of plastic and glass bottles.
  • You can also provide loose tea and coffee instead of bags and capsules which cause a lot of trash.
  • Regional products, in the best case certified organic, travel short distances and therefore cause fewer emissions.
  • Some organic farms also offer delivery of snack boxes with organic fruit and vegetables.
  • Vegetarian and vegan days in the cafeteria can showcase the variety of meatless nutrition.
  • The style of driving has a big influence on the fuel consumption and can make a difference of around 20%. That is why an economic and sustainable driving style is worth it.
  • When purchasing a new vehicle, consider a small, fuel-efficient vehicle or maybe even an alternative engine. However, it is important to know how to handle those engines, otherwise, fuel consumption for hybrids for example can be a lot higher than expected.
  • Proper care and maintenance, such as checking tire pressure and regular oil change are still indispensable for a fuel-efficient functioning of the vehicle.
  • Organic motor oils are to be preferred.
  • As a business or organization, you can motivate your team to reduce CO2 emissions from mobility by providing company bikes or financing a job ticket for public transport.
  • Existing company vehicles can be used more efficiently by carpooling.
  • And their fuel consumption can be optimized by maintaining a constant tire pressure.

Ideas for Schools and School Classes

  • The kind of power source you use has a big influence on the size of your carbon footprint. It will reduce significantly if you switch to a renewable energy source, or maybe even produce your own power (with a photovoltaic system, for example).
  • Added to that, you can make sure that the electronic devices that you buy are efficient and have a low electricity consumption. Energy labels such as the EU-Ecolabel (scale from A+++ to D ) can help you with that.
  • Devices need even less power when they are connected to a power strip with multiple outlets that can be switched off at the end of the school day. That way, even stand-by power consumption is avoided.
  • Try to find out about alternative ways of heating that are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, such as hybrid heating, wood pellets, geothermal heating or aquiforous underfloor heating systems. Often, these sources are also more cost-efficient and future-oriented.
  • Making sure that your existing heating system is running efficiently can also make a difference. For this, your heating system needs to be vented regularly and the thermostats have to be checked.
  • Added to that, any unnecessary loss of heat should be prevented: are your outer walls and windows well insulated? Ventilating correctly is another easy way to avoid unnecessary heat loss - periodically open your windows for a short time instead of leaving them tilted all day. This way, a maximum amount of air is exchanged while only a minimal amount of heat is lost.

Schools normally have a low water consumption. However, it could be worth checking the flushing efficiency: older toilets need about 9-14 liters of water per flushing, while 6-9 would be sufficient.

  • Certified recycling paper saves resources and minimizes your carbon footprint.
  • Added to that, you can save paper by printing on both sides whenever possible.
  • Ideally, however, your school implements online structures for worksheets and homework, for example.
  • If your local waste management company treats garbage separately, you should definitely separate trash and use a recycling bin. You can usually find information about how to separate and recycle correctly on the company`s website.
  • You can also reduce trash by eliminating disposable packaging as far as possible and replacing indispensable packaging with biodegradable materials.
  • You can look for a caterer that uses regional and organic produce and who offers vegetarian and vegan meals. Maybe you can even initiate a meatless Monday?
  • Installing water fountains where students can fill up their bottles reduces waste from plastic bottles.
  • And how about declaring a recycling challenge to raise awareness, where the class with the most recycling collected wins a prize?
  • You can motivate your students to walk, bike or carpool to school by placing challenges or discussing it in a theme week about health and the environment.
  • Or maybe there is a way to organize reduced or even free tickets for public transport.

When it comes to making changes, staff set an important example. That is why they, too, should be motivated walk, bike and carpool to school. That can be achieved by providing bikes or offering benefits, as well as with staff challenges and prizes.

  • When thinking about where to go, think about selecting a destination close by, as this will reduce emissions from traveling.
  • Traveling by bus or train further reduces emissions.
  • There are also many travel agencies that are committed to offering sustainable trips and opportunities for carbon compensation.
  • Try to buy mostly organic food and eat little meat.
  • Sustainably produced and energy-efficient devices reduce the most carbon dioxide. Eco-labels help to distinguish such devices.
  • Another measure is the reduction of electricity consumption in general.
  • Make sure you also use the devices as long as possible and dispose them correctly so that they can be recycled if possible.
  • Devices should be purchased from companies that ensure a fair supply-chain for raw materials.

Ideas for Travel

  • If you want to lower the emissions of your trip, you should try to book with agencies that are committed to sustainability.
  • Added to that, you can compensate the emissions of your trip, but make sure to thoroughly check the project: Does it implement reasonable measures for the climate and nature protection? Does it have a tangible and long-term impact?
  • Generally, emissions are higher the further you travel. Check out train and bus offers - especially in the summer time, you can get around pretty much all of Europe at an affordable rate without having to fly.
  • Whenever you need to fly, you can reduce emissions by booking direct flights.
  • You can also check for rail&fly offers of your airline, which allow you to affordably and quickly get to the airport by train instead of having to take the plane or get stuck in traffic with your car.
  • Staying at a private accommodation or a natural campsite instead of in a hotel does not only reduce emissions, waste and other environmental damage, but also allows for more individuality, freedom and quietness.
  • Alternatively, you can choose an eco hotel or lodge.
  • If you are not a fan of sleeping in a tent, check if the campsite also offers caravans or cabins for rent.
  • It is best to eat local foods on your trip.
  • Cooking yourself instead of eating in a restaurant allows you to try out typical recipes of your vacation destination and adjust them to your personal preferences.
  • When your are eating from a buffet, you can avoid unnecessary food waste by putting only as much food on your plate as you can actually eat.
  • The more vegetarian food is requested, the more diverse the selection of meatless food will be.
  • Try out public transportation or walking to meet locals and experience everyday life at your holiday destination.
  • Renting bikes is also an excellent way to get to know the area at your speed and get close-up to everything that interests you, following your own route.
  • Outdoor sports emit relatively few carbon dioxide.
  • Eating at restaurants and going out to bars at night are an essential part of traveling and vacations for most of us. Choosing regional food and drinks helps to reduce emissions from transport.
  • Skiing can have grave environmental impacts, so choosing locations with natural snow fall and resorts that use renewable energy sources is important.

Ideas for School Trips

  • Staying at a private accommodation or a natural campsite instead of in a hotel does not only reduce emissions, waste and other environmental damage, but also allows for more individuality, freedom and quietness.
  • Alternatively, you can choose an eco hotel or lodge.
  • If you are not a fan of sleeping in a tent, check if the campsite also offers caravans or cabins for rent.
  • It is best to eat locally on your trip.
  • Cooking yourself instead of eating in a restaurant allows you to try out typical recipes of your vacation destination and adjust them to your personal preferences.
  • When your are eating from a buffet, you can avoid unnecessary food waste by putting only as much food on your plate as you can actually eat. The more vegetarian food is requested, the more diverse the selection of meatless food will be.
  • Try out public transportation or walking to meet locals and experience everyday life at your holiday destination.
  • Renting bikes is also an excellent way to get to know the area at your speed and get close-up to everything that interests you, following your own route.
  • Outdoor sports emit relatively few carbon dioxide.
  • Eating at restaurants and going out to bars at night are an essential part of traveling and vacations for most of us.
  • Choosing regional food and drinks helps to reduce emissions from transport.
  • Skiing can have grave environmental impacts, so choosing locations with natural snow fall and resorts that use renewable energy sources is important.
  • When you walk or ride a bicycle, you are traveling in the most environmentally friendly way.
  • If you travel by means of transport that have an internal combustion engine, gasoline or diesel is burned. This is derived from petroleum, which has formed in the earth over thousands of years and stores a lot of carbon. Cars and motorcycles emit the most CO2.
  • When traveling by bus and train, the emissions are distributed among all the people who ride and are therefore lower for the individuals.