How to be eco-friendly on Valentine's Day
We're calling on the people of Great Britain to show the environment some love. By turning the lights off for just two hours on Thursday, you will save a whopping 1,305,600 kWh of energy - that's enough to power nearly 4,000 homes for a whole month. Whether you spend that having a romantic dinner or some quality time is up to you.
Here are 6 easy tips to turn the heat up in your relationship, and the Earth's temperature down:
1. Switch to mood lighting
Have your romantic dinner by candlelight, to help set the mood and save on energy. If the whole nation turned out the lights for just 2 hours, we would save 1.3 million kWh of energy1 - that's enough to power nearly 4,000 homes for a whole month. And if you get a smart meter installed by your energy supplier, you can see for yourself just how much energy you are helping to save by switching the lights out.
2. Make it meat free
Reducing meat consumption is one of the biggest ways to reduce environmental impact - so even though Veganuary is behind us, why not challenge yourself to create a healthy vegetarian dish this Valentine's Day. If you make it meat free, you'll save 4.3kg of CO2 emissions2.
3. Skip on the chocolates
While it's traditional to give a box of chocolates, you might not realise the negative impact you're having on the planet. It takes on average 4,800 litres3 of water to make just one 200g bar of chocolate. A glass of wine needs 120 litres, so why not raise a toast instead?
4. Choose a sustainable restaurant
If you're going to eat out this Valentine's Day, then choose a restaurant that is focused on sustainability. The Sustainable Restaurant Association has a list of 8,000 eateries across the country that can help you make a more sustainable choice - from cafes and pubs to Michelin star restaurants.
5. Give plants that will last
Rather than the traditional bouquet, a potted plant not only lasts for longer, but also helps the planet, as well as freshening up your home. Cut flowers need to be transported via chilled trucks and are often wrapped in non-recyclable cellophane, so this year buy a locally-sourced plant instead.
6. Snuggle up together
If you're spending the night in on the sofa, why not cuddle up under a blanket, rather than turning the heating up. If the nation all turned the heating down just one degree we would save a staggering £5.6 million on our heating4.
1. 0.008 kWh per bulb, x3 bulbs for x2 hours = 0.048kWh. Times by 27.2m households is 1,305,600 kWh. Average annual energy use of a home is 3,940 kWh, 328.6 kWh a month (source: ONS). 1,305,600 divided by 328.6 kWh is 3,972.
2. Source: Climatic Change Journal
3. Source: Waterfootprint
4. 27.2 million households in the UK (ONS). The Energy Saving Trust states turning your thermostat down by one degree will save £75 a year. 27.2m x £75 = £2.04bn per degree we turn up the heating per year. £39 million cost per week, £5.6 million cost per day.