While we need to take collective action on climate change, as an individual, there are lots of things you can do.

Some of the easiest and most effective actions you can do are to leave the car at home whenever possible and when you need to replace your car, consider getting an electric vehicle.

There are many simple, low or no-cost ways to reduce your household's greenhouse gas emissions. Saving carbon almost always also saves you money and contributes to a more sustainable lifestyle, which is good for your health and your home.

Know your impact

Measuring your emissions helps you to understand what’s creating your footprint. Once you understand this, you can take some simple steps to reduce it. 

Future Fit(external link) provides a household carbon calculator using New Zealand information.

Toitu Envirocare(external link) and Ekos(external link) help you measure and offset your emissions.

GenLess(external link) provides tips, tools and stories of Kiwis taking action on climate change.

Improve the energy efficiency and health of your home

The energy used in homes and other buildings makes up 19 per cent of the emissions from Christchurch. You can save money, increase the energy efficiency of your home and reduce emissions simply by increasing insulation, draft-stopping, installing curtains, and choosing energy-saving appliances. 

Here are some more helpful tips to make your home energy efficient.

  • Book a free healthy home assessmentChristchurch home owners can receive free, no obligation, expert advice about the health and efficiency of their home. For more information and to book visit Build Smarter – Live Better.(external link)
  • Insulate and heat your home efficiently. In partnership with the Government’s Warmer Kiwi Homes programme, Community Energy Action (a local not-for-profit trust) is able to offer free ceiling and floor insulation and a 90% subsidy for a heat pump or log burner (to a maximum of $3,000 incl. GST) to homes located in low income neighbourhoods. For more information and to apply visit Community Energy Action(external link).
  • Improve your home using your rates bill. Canterbury rate payers can add the cost of insulation, a home heating appliance, kitchen and bathroom ventilation and a ground moisture barrier to their rates bills. A maximum of $6,000 (including GST) is available per ratepayer to be paid back over nine years. For more information and to apply visit Healthier Homes Canterbury(external link).
  • Book a free home design consultation. If you are thinking about designing a new home or undertaking major alterations, you can book a free one hour consultation with the Councils Eco-Design Advisor. For more information and to book your appointment visit Eco-Design Advisor. (external link)
  • Check the health of your home. The New Zealand Green Building Council has developed a simple to use online check of the health and energy efficiency your home. To see how your home measures up visit HomeFit(external link).
  • Build a super-efficient home. The local Superhome Movement is a group of designers, builders and suppliers building healthy and energy efficient homes. They offer tours, workshops and have a detailed home design guide. For more visit Superhome Movement(external link).

Waste less and save more

Waste disposal accounts for 7 per cent of Christchurch’s greenhouse gas emissions. Preventing waste wherever possible and recycling and composting all that we can will make better use of our resources while saving money and reducing emissions.  

Buy and grow local food

The way we shop and the food we eat can have a big impact on our household footprint. Choosing New Zealand made products and locally grown food will cut emissions and support local jobs. Growing food at home and having a plant-rich diet can help even more and will shrink your shopping bills too.

    Plant native trees or shrubs

    You can do this at home - use the Ōtautahi-Christchurch ecosystem map for information about your neighbourhood's soil type and historic indigenous vegetation.

    Volunteer(external link) for planting days at public sites to help remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere.

    Offset your flights(external link) or household emissions in ways that support native restoration.

    Save our precious water

    Reducing water use is an important way to lower emissions and preserve our supply of quality drinking water. Supplying water to homes and businesses and treating wastewater is a significant source of emissions in Christchurch.

    You can help save water at home. The Council’s water like you oughta(external link) site has plenty of practical water saving tips for around the home and garden.

    Be prepared

    Make a household or workplace plan(external link) to respond to risks and natural hazards such as extreme weather events, drought, fire and flooding.

    Share your views

    Become an active citizen and encourage political leaders, friends and family to take action on climate change.

    •  Take part in community discussions about our responses to climate change. Visit Have Your Say(external link) to view opportunities to engage in Council decision-making.
    •  Talk about the actions you are taking and encourage others, such as businesses, political leaders, friends and family to also take action on climate change.
    • Support environmentally responsible businesses through your purchasing decisions. Conscious Consumer(external link) makes it easy to support environmentally aware businesses and to measure the footprint of your purchasing decisions. 

    Businesses and consumers can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, save money and be more energy efficient. Consider changing the vehicles in your fleet, updating the power-hungry equipment in your office, buying from environmentally-friendly local suppliers or encouraging your staff to car-pool. Here's some handy resources to explore.

    Become a more conscious consumer

    Support local businesses and social enterprises that are actively trying to reduce their environmental footprint, and using profits to support social or environmental aims.

    Invest in the rapidly growing and innovative green economy.

    Check your Kiwisaver fund to see where your money is invested, and divest from fossil fuel investments.

    Manage your energy use 

    The Council's Target Sustainability services for business can help you understand your energy use and identify where you can be more efficient and save money.

    There is loads of information about initiatives to help businesses understand and reduce their emissions on the Gen Less(external link) website. Topics include energy efficiency, measuring emissions, heating, funding for projects, and transport. 

    Travelling

    Whether it's getting to work, shopping, car-pooling, or for transport planning advice, the Council's transport website has a range of information to help you get around. 

    Transport is the biggest contributor to Christchurch’s greenhouse gas emissions, making up 54% of our emissions. There are lots of things we can all do to travel smarter and reduce our transport emissions. 

    Leave the car at home whenever possible

    Regularly walk, cycle, scooter, bus or carpool to work or school.

    Go by bike

    Cycling is a great way to get around our city. Christchurch is the cycling capital of New Zealand with extensive cycle networks and services. Find out more at Cycle Christchurch.
    (external link)

    Plan your journey

    Whether you are going to work or school, choose ways that are better for you and our environment. For more information, visit getting to work(external link) or getting to school(external link).

    Council provides free travel planning advice and support for businesses and schools in Christchurch. For more information and to book your free consultation visit our travel planning page(external link).

    You can find more information about each of these options on our Transport page.

    Hire zero-emissions vehicles

    Hire services are available in Christchurch for electric cars, bikes and scooters. Check out Zilch(external link), Lime(external link) and Flamingo(external link) for these services.

    Consider an electric vehicle when replacing your car

    An electric bike or scooter(external link) could be a good alternative to a second car for your household.

    If you are thinking about buying an electric bike, scooter or car, Consumer NZ(external link) has independent and detailed buyer’s guides. 

    Plugshare(external link) and Charge Net(external link) show handy maps of public electric vehicle charging points available in Christchurch and throughout New Zealand.

    The Gen Less(external link) website has more information about the benefits of electric vehicles and how much money you'll save by making the change.

    Maintain your vehicle

    If you're currently driving a petrol or diesel car, make sure to regularly maintain your vehicle so it can run as efficiently as possible and keep tyres fully inflated to save money and reduce emissions. For tips on how to maintain your car visit Drive NZ(external link).

    Choose a safe and energy-efficient car

    If you are thinking about buying a new petrol or diesel vehicle Right Car(external link) helps you choose a safe, energy-efficient, low-emission vehicle.  

    Avoid long-distance flights to lower your emissions

    Enjoy local destinations and visitor activities, and support local businesses instead.

    Christchurch NZ(external link) has information to help people explore our beautiful region. If you can’t avoid flying, check if your airline provides the option to purchase carbon offsets to reduce your environmental impact.