Inspired by food and drinks brands such as Quorn and Oatly, which provide carbon labelling on their products, we have carbon labelled some of the routine activities the average family does around the house.

At Viessmann we have a keen interest in all activity which relates to carbon emissions. We thought it would also be interesting to show you the impact of some everyday household chores and activities in terms of their CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) as we spend more time at home with our families. This standard unit is used to compare emissions from different greenhouse gases based on their global warming potential.

We hope that this information will get you thinking about all the little things that make up our carbon footprints and the small steps we can take to lessen our impact on the planet, whether we’re at home or out in the wider world.

To help you put the numbers into perspective, check out our infographic The Carbon Footprint of (Nearly) Everything. We’ve also calculated how far you could travel in a mid-range family car (with emissions of 200 g CO2/km) for the same CO2e. These figures are based on data from the Equa CO2 Index.

Staying clean

Whether you and your little ones are doing PE with Joe Wicks, getting stuck into some gardening or doing endless crafts, one thing’s for certain, staying home doesn’t necessarily mean staying clean. And let’s face it, personal hygiene is always important - whether you’re leaving the house or not. So, what’s the carbon price tag associated with the average family’s showering and bathing habits?

  • Two 13-minute showers (one for each adult): 5,307 g CO2e
  • Two bubble baths (one for each child): 6,532 g CO2e
  • Having a hairdryer on for 30 minutes: 451 g CO2e
  • Total: 12,290 g CO2e - this is the same as driving over 61 km by car 

Doing the laundry

Tempted to stay in your PJs all day every day during lockdown? Or do you need to have a pair of jeans on to start your day? Whichever type of at-home dresser you are, it’s inevitable that your laundry basket fills up sooner or later. Here we’ve broken down the carbon output of doing two loads of laundry.

  • Two loads in the washing machine: 546 g CO2e
  • Two loads in the electric tumble dryer: 2148 g CO2e
  • Ironing two loads of clothes (two hours): 638 g CO2e
  • Total: 3,332 g CO2e - this is the equivalent of driving over 16 km by car

Cleaning the house

If you feel like your house only stays clean and tidy for a few minutes at a time with everyone at home all day, you’re not alone. More time in the house often means more home cooking, more dirty dishes and more crumbs on the floor. We’ve calculated the CO2e of two of the most common household chores to get you thinking about how even our cleaning habits affect our carbon footprints.

  • Vacuuming for one hour: 765 g CO2e
  • Running the dishwasher for one cycle: 622 g CO2e
  • Total: 1,387 g CO2e - this is the equivalent of driving almost 7 km by car

Film nights

Staying entertained with Disney +, Netflix or another streaming service? Or perhaps you’ve dusted off your old favourite DVDs for fun family film nights at home to combat the boredom? However you like to watch them, it’s no surprise that people have been turning to screens more for entertainment during lockdown. We’ve totted up the CO2e of enjoying a cosy family film night for a family of four, complete with hot chocolate and a lovely log burner.

  • Watching a two-hour film on an LCD TV: 172 g CO2e
  • Boiling the kettle to make four cups of hot chocolate: 68 g CO2e
  • Lighting the log burner for two hours: 600 g CO2e
  • Total: 840 g CO2e - this is the equivalent of driving over 4 km by car

Tips for reducing your carbon footprint at home

The greenhouse gases emitted through doing simple domestic duties and staying entertained at home tends to pale in comparison to the amount of carbon we create when running cars and taking flights, for example. So, it’s important to keep things in perspective.

However, to lessen your impact on the environment while maintaining a healthy and enjoyable lifestyle at home, follow these simple tips:

  1. Fit eco-friendly shower heads if you don’t use an electric shower.
  2. Set a timer on your phone when you’re in the shower to avoid using too much water.
  3. Turn off taps when not in use.
  4. Don’t boil more water than you need.
  5. Only run the washing machine when you have a full load of laundry to do.
  6. Reuse bath or shower water to water the garden or pre-soak muddy or stained clothes.
  7. Use a sweeping brush rather than a vacuum cleaner on hard floors where possible.
  8. When buying appliances, choose ones with good energy ratings.
  9. Turn the TV off when no one is watching it.
  10. Hang clothes on a washing line instead of using a tumble dryer if you can.

Get your free consultation on a new heating system.

Share this article

Share this article

Looking for a new heating system?

Get your free quote from a local installer

Most read articles
Latest topics

Which heating system is the best for you?