What is Clean Air Day?
Before you have even read this post, the chances are you will have been outside today, breathing in the harmful emissions that permeate our air. Even before you left the house you may have been breathing in damaging fumes from cleaning products, deodorants, heating and cooking appliances and mould. Air pollution is everywhere, but it is largely invisible to the naked eye, which is perhaps the reason why the spoiling of such an important resource as the very air that keeps us alive, is not being treated as a more serious threat to our existence. We feel as an energy consultancy, that we are responsible for promoting renewable forms of energy generation that cut out fossil fuels and adopting sustainable travel alternatives over gas guzzling cars that clog up our daily commute. Clean Air Day is a great day on which to address this.
So how bad is the state of our air?
According to the UK Government and the World Health Organisation (WHO), air pollution is the largest environmental health risk we face today. On top of this, official Clean Air Day website cleanairday.org.uk states that:
‘Every year, up to 36,000 people die from air pollution in the UK.’
The effects are very wide ranging. It can inhibit reproduction through low birth weights, premature births and pregnancy loss. It can contribute to lung disease and the poor development of children’s lungs. It also causes heart disease and affects the brain with dementia and even mental health problems.
What can we do about a lack of clean air?
There are many simple ways in which we can all help to improve our air quality on Clean Air Day and beyond. At home we can steer clear of using open fires and stoves, avoid using harsh chemical cleaning products, make sure we ventilate our houses, and get regular boiler checks.
Outside the home, the main contributors to air pollution are related to travel, heavy industry and the energy industry, all of which fall under our expertise. At Monarch we offer Sustainable Development Management Plans (SDMP), which are detailed plans to make you more sustainable across the board. One of the elements that makes up the service is creating an organisation-wide Travel Plan. These plans promote the environmental and health benefits associated with active travel options and increases electric vehicle (EV) options and charging points.
Reviewing your company’s transport preferences is also a part of our Planet Mark certification, where we measure your carbon footprint, support you in reducing it and award you with a certification, as long as you pledge to reduce your carbon footprint by 5% each year.
If you are interested in our SDMPs or a Planet Mark certification, get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 020 8835 3535.
Clean Air Day also takes energy generation into account as a key factor. As for improving the air quality through sustainable energy sources, we all know that wind, solar, hydro, and heat pumps produce less harmful emissions than the lion’s share of the grid’s supply. Since the removal of the feed-in-tariff in April this year, the immediate incentives for renewable energy installations have all but vanished, but we can install solar panels and heat pumps (air/ground) with no up-front costs and ensure the rates you pay are lower than the market prices. So not only are the long-term benefits for the planet and your wallet restored, due to the lack of up-front costs, you will also make savings from day one.
Heat networks contribute to clean air
The last cause for consideration on Clean Air Day 2019 is heat networks, or district/communal heating, as an alternative low-carbon option to traditional heating methods such as gas boilers. Heat networks distribute heat from a centralised location through a system of insulated pipes, which provide you with heat and hot water. When these systems incorporate combined heat and power (CHP) it is known to have one of the lowest carbon footprints of all fossil generation plants and the more modern systems have zero CO2 emissions on-site. This means heat networks are helping massively to lower the amount of air pollution.
These systems are widely used throughout Europe, particularly Scandinavia, but we are still far behind in the UK. If you wish to know more, Welcome Energy provide services for district and communal heating.
Whatever you do to help, make sure you raise awareness on #CleanAirDay 2019