New Leaf Health Check
The New Leaf Health Check helps you identify those aspects of daily life where you are already helping to protect our planet. It will also indicate the areas you need to focus on, and the positive changes you can make to help tackle climate change.
Answer our 16 quick questions, choosing the response that most closely aligns with your circumstances. You will not be scored. Answers in red highlight areas you need to focus on. An answer in amber indicates there may still be more you could be doing. A green answer suggests you are looking after the planet well in this area.
1. Which best describes your home’s construction?
Good. Your home will have been built or fitted to modern standards for insulation and double glazing.
Your home probably has sufficient levels of insulation and double glazing but might benefit from additional insulation or replacement glazing. Check whether there is an Energy Performance Certificate for your property; this will help identify the energy saving improvements you could make.
You could be losing a lot of energy from your home and it is worth reviewing the insulation and glazing to ensure it is adequate. This could save you money in the long term. Many providers offer a free survey which identifies energy saving measures and their potential cost savings.
2. How is your home and hot water heated?
Brilliant! Don’t forget to service your boiler to make sure its running efficiently.
If you use gas or electricity you should change to a green tariff.
Consider replacing your boiler with a more modern energy efficient model or ‘renewable energy’ source. Minimize your use of open fires as they are inefficient heat sources and contribute to air pollution.
3. Do you have a smart meter?
Fantastic. See our ‘At Home’ section for many tips to further reduce your energy usage.
Good start. Try putting your meter into ‘current usage’ display to see your ‘spend per minute’. Then try turning off as many things as you can to find your baseline usage. Watch how it changes when you use different items in your home. This helps you understand where the energy is being used and allows you to target your energy saving efforts.
Smart meters are free. Ask your energy provider to fit one then use it to monitor your energy use.
4. Which best describes the way you heat your home?
Fantastic. If you are often away from home or work irregular hours think about installing a system to control your heating remotely.
Setting a timer to turn your heating ‘down’ or ‘off’ during the night and when your home is empty will help your purse and the planet.
You can really help tackle climate change by turning down your thermostat and wearing warmer clothing instead.
5. Which best describes your home lighting?
LEDs use a quarter of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than old style bulbs. Making this change will more than pay for itself.
You can really help tackle climate change by turning off lights when they are not needed and replacing your bulbs with low energy ones which use a quarter of the energy.
6. Which best describes the way you wash?
Good. Consider installing an ‘aerated lower flow’ eco shower head. These clever devices reduce the amount of hot water used while creating the illusion of a higher flow of water.
Reduce your hot water thermostat to 50°C and add less cold water. This will save a lot of energy over the course of a year. Try using a timer to limit how long you shower for.
Reduce your hot water thermostat to 50°C and add less cold water. This will save a lot of energy over the course of a year. Bathing generally uses far more energy than showering. Try reducing the number of baths you take and consider them more of a treat. Other ways to reduce your impact are to take shallower baths or share the bath!
7. Which best describes how you do laundry?
Save up your laundry so you have a full load. Try using lower temperature cycles. Washing at 30°C rather than an Eco 40°C cycle uses around 40% less energy over the course of a year. Opt for natural drying where possible and check the filter is clear if you do tumble dry.
Only washing clothes when they really need it and drying naturally saves energy and makes your clothes last longer. Clothes rarely need a hot wash cycle and if you tumble dry make sure the filter is clear of fluff so your machine works efficiently.
8. Which best describes the meals you eat?
Good. Try eating more raw vegetables or using a steamer so you can cook several vegetables at once if you don’t already. Check out our advice in 'Food & Cooking' for more energy saving tips for cooking.
Try batch cooking and freezing to provide meals for when you’re short of time. Try to eat food that is in season and check out our simple recipes for swapping out those palm oil containing items like biscuits and cakes.
While microwaving food is more energy efficient than oven cooking, convenience and takeaway food is generally a greater contributor to global warming due to it's processing, packaging, transportation and reliance on palm oil as an ingredient. The drive for palm oil is contributing to the destruction of rainforest in Asia. Try setting aside some time to prepare a number of meals from scratch and then divide into batches and freeze for ‘homemade’ convenience food.
9. Which best describes your diet?
Great - you are following the best diet for our planet.
Meat and dairy are responsible for 14.5% of man-made global greenhouse gas emissions. Keep trying to increase your meat free days. Check out our recipe suggestions for new ideas.
The carbon footprint of beef is over 5 times greater than that of chicken. You can really help tackle climate change by cutting down on red meat and introducing meat free days to your week.
10. How much food waste do you have?
Try shopping for fresh food locally and more often. Think about getting a composter and check out our recipes for soup and compotes for using up vegetables and fruit.
Try planning your meals and making a shopping list to prevent overbuying and reduce waste. Wasting processed food not only wastes the energy that’s gone into producing and processing the food but also in packaging it. Make more use of the freezer for leftovers and foods approaching expiry like milk and bread so you can use them up at a later date.
11. Which best describes the flights you take in a year?
Even if you are carbon off-setting your flights keep trying to reduce the number of flights you make.
Could you make the trip by car or train instead? Carbon off-set your trip - to see how, visit our travel section.
Changing how you fly will have a huge impact on your carbon footprint. Cutting down the number of flights, flying economy and flying direct will all have a positive effect in reducing Co2 emissions. After this it’s important to carbon offset the flights you make.
12. How often do you make car journeys that could be walked or cycled in under 30 – 40 minutes?
Look at the reasons for these journeys. Could they be avoided by lift sharing or combining errands into a single trip?
Try walking or cycling instead, it’s good for your health as well as the planet’s. Two thirds of all UK car journeys are under 5 miles and short journeys made with cold engines are the most polluting. Cycling or walking offers time to ‘unwind’ from the working day and walking to and from school allows uninterrupted quality time to talk with your children. Even if you can’t walk or cycle the whole journey due to physical or time constraints, maybe you can park and walk part of the way - it beats being stuck in traffic.
13. Which best describes the longer journeys you make (i.e. over 5 miles) ?
Next time you change your car think about replacing it with an electric car. See if you can reduce the number of car journeys by using public transport, working from home or car sharing.
Minimising the number of car journeys you make by working from home, car sharing and using public transport as an alternative, will have a big impact on reducing your carbon footprint. Make sure your car is serviced and you regularly check the tyre pressures. Next time you change your car think about replacing it with a more energy efficient model.
14. Which best describes the way you shop for clothes?
Excellent! Check out the New Leaf Company Directory for retailers selling items made from reclaimed and recycled materials. Remember you can hire clothes instead of buying, especially for a special occasion that requires an outfit that’s worn infrequently.
Good. Consider buying second-hand clothes. You might ‘bag a bargain’.
Textile production is one of the most polluting industries, second only to oil. Buying clothes you don’t need or which don’t last because they either go out of fashion or are poorly made, is a major contributor to climate change. Donate the clothes you never wear to a charity shop and steer clear of the shops and do something else instead, like spending time with your friends, going to the cinema, taking up a sport or hobby or joining a club or community group.
15. Which best describes your use of plastic products?
Fantastic. Have you tried your local ‘zero waste store’? Check out the New Leaf Company Directory for local shops that are eliminating plastic packaging, providing refills or allowing customers to bring their own containers to buy their products.
Lots of products in our homes contain hidden plastics. These include wipes, nappies and sanitary products. For more advice on switches you can make see our shopping advice.
Plastic production contributes to global warming and pollution - and we can’t recycle our way out of the problem, instead we need to reduce the amount of plastic being used. Avoiding plastic packaging by buying fresh food sold loose and choosing tins and jars over plastic containers will help tackle climate change. Use a refillable drinks bottle and start replacing plastic consumables with non-plastic reusable alternatives.
16. Which best describes your recycling practices?
Well done! New recycling schemes are constantly appearing so check our directory to see if there are more things you could be recycling.
There are many additional opportunities to recycle so check our directory to see the other recyling schemes that are available.
Placing the incorrect items in the recycling bin can lead to a whole consignment of recycling being rejected. See the guide on what can and cannot be accepted through the doorstep recycling collection.