Footprint Checklist

This checklist gives you a comprehensive list of measures you may wish to take in your quest to make your household become more sustainable. It is intended solely as a guide however we feel you will find it educational. Please print (using recycled paper of course) the printer friendly version of this checklist by clicking on the "Printer Friendly Version" button below. Keep the checklist on hand to act as a household guide to reducing your ecological footprint. There is a tickbox provided that will help you keep track of your progress.

Printer Friendly Version

Have you switched to 100% GreenPower?
Have you installed a solar water heating system?
Do you need more info on GreenPower?
Cooling and heating consumes about 25% of a home's energy.
Do you have ceiling and wall insulation?
If you have a central heating or air con system, do you keep the thermostat low in the cold season (19 – 20oC) and high in the warm season (24 – 26oC)?
Are all windows, shutters, curtains and doors closed when you heat or cool your house?
Are all unnecessary vents blocked, and cracks around doors and windows sealed?
Do you have organic natural fibre carpets or rugs to increase insulation?
In the warm season: Are blinds and curtains closed during the day to block out heat, and opened at night to cool the house and vice-versa in the cool season?
Have you replaced high energy consuming radiators or fan heaters with natural gas and reverse-cycle air-conditioners?
Lighting accounts for about 5% of a household's energy.
Have you replaced all incandescent light bulbs and switched to energy efficient bulbs?
Do you turn off all lights when not needed?
Do you use dimmers in rooms that do not need much lighting?
Do you have timer controls and daylight/movement sensors that switch off lights automatically?
Bathroom and toilet
Normal showerheads use 15-25 litres of water every minute; water efficient showerheads can save up to 40%.
Have you replaced conventional taps with push button taps?
Have you switched to AAA showerheads, which are inexpensive and efficient?
Have you switched to a water efficient dual-flush system?
Do you turn off the tap while you brush you teeth or whilst you shave?
Do you limit showers to 3 minutes?
Have you set the thermostat on your boiler to a temperature that does not require adding cold water?
Are all leaking taps or shower heads fixed within 48 hours?
Have you stopped using disposable razors?
Do you use grey water (waste water that does not contain human excrement) to flush the toilet, instead of fresh water?
The kitchen is an area where energy, water and waste problems can be improved dramatically.
Is your fridge in a cool spot, and are all seals working?
Does your fridge have a high Energy Star rating?
Do you make sure you only open the fridge door for a short period of time?
Do you only boil as much water as you need?
Do you put lids on pots whilst cooking, to reduce energy wastage?
Do you choose the appropriate pan size?
Do you avoid preheating your oven? (unnecessary waste in most cases)
Do you switch off the stove or oven a few minutes before the food is cooked, thus maximizing use of residual heat?
Do you defrost by taking out what you need early, instead of using the microwave?
Generally, do you use gas appliances rather than electric ones?
Do you make sure that hot food is not placed into the fridge to cool?
Do you avoid pouring oil down the sink, as this causes sewerage environmental damage?
If you hand wash dishes, do you do them all together in the sink (instead of letting the tap run and washing everything individually)?
Do you actually require a dishwasher? Consider manually cleaning dishes, cutlery and utensils.
If you use a dishwasher, do you only use it when you have a full load?
Have you installed aerated taps?
Do you use biodegradable cleaning products?
Do you use environmentally-friendly washing detergents, which are phosphate-free?
Accounts for up to 16% of a household's water usage.
Do you use a clothes line to dry clothes, instead of a dryer?
If you must use a dryer, do you make sure the spin cycle in the washing machine removes most of the excess water?
Do you only buy 5-Star energy rating washing machines?
Do you use a front-loading washing machine (saves up to 60% on water, 40% on energy and 50% on washing detergent?
Do you only use cold water or 40 Degree Celcius cycles?
Do you use the ‘economy' cycle if available?
Do you only use the minimal amount of washing detergent?
Do you use environmentally-friendly washing detergents, which are phosphate-free?
Do you re-use water (e.g. for gardening)?
Refrigerators and other appliances may make up about 30% of your energy consumption.
Do all appliances carry a 5-Star Energy rating?
Do you turn off all appliances at the powerpoint when not in use? Many appliances (such as TVs) use almost as much energy when in standby mode as when on)
Do you make sure that all chargers are unplugged when not in use?
Do you try to use your air conditioners as sparingly as possible?
Do you sell or recycle your old appliances?
Cleaning products can give off toxic solvents, such as ammonia and volatile organic compounds, which are both harmful to the environment and health.
Do you only purchase 100% biodegradable cleaning products?
Have you switched to fragrance-free or "natural" cleaners?
Have you switched to using washable cloths instead of single use disposable cleaning products?
Do you only buy unbleached, recycled toilet paper?
Have you considered using these products:
I. Baking soda (cleans and softens water, and is also a good scouring substitute)
II. White vinegar (works well on grease, used as a deodorizer and disinfectant)
III. Pure biodegradable soap
IV. Lemon juice (acts as bleach and a cleaning agent)
V. Washing soda (removes stains and grease)
VI. Borax salt (uses: cleaning, bleaching, disinfectant and pest control)
Recycling has become an integral part of Australian society, e.g. newspapers in Australia have about 40% of recycled content.
Please check with your local council with regard to recyclable materials: In most areas you can recycle:
Paper and cardboard; glass bottles and jars; aluminium and steel cans; empty aerosols and clean aluminium foil; plastic yoghurt, margarine and ice cream containers; milk and juice cartons; plastic milk, juice and soft drink bottles; plastic cups, plastic take-away containers, plastic detergent and shampoo bottles.
Do you wash and separate recyclable materials properly?
Do you try to purchase recycled products whenever possible (e.g. paper, toilet paper, tissues)?
Gardening & Pool
Up to a quarter of all household water is used on the garden.
Have you installed a rainwater tank?
Do you predominantly plant native plants (native plants also attract birds and other wildlife)
Do you only water your garden (if permitted) before 7am or after 5pm?
Do you use grey water to water the garden?
Do you compost kitchen and garden waste?
Do you have a worm farm? (100% recycled plastic, Australian made Worm farm available at
Do you only use organic pesticides?
Have you planted trees in your garden?
Do you plant your own fruits and vegetables?
Do you mulch your plants and trees?
Do you use petrol-powered mowers, whipper-snippers and blowers as sparingly as possible?
Do you use simple sub-surface drip irrigation systems (where permitted) rather than sprinklers?
Do you cover your pool or have you directed a down pipe into the pool?
Do you only use cleaning systems such as an ionising water purifier to clean your pool?
Transport represents 14.4% of all Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.
Do you try to use public transport as often as possible?
Do you walk or cycle to places whenever possible?
When buying a car, do you only look at ones which are fuel efficient?
Have you calculated your car emissions?
Do you offset your car emissions?
Do you avoid driving at high speeds and accelerating quickly, which increases fuel consumption?
Do you try to optimize and combine your car trips?
Do you try to avoid peak-hour traffic?
Do you try to limit air travel?
Do you offset your air travel?
Do you help to keep Australia clean by picking up litter on beaches, in parks, along roads, in your neighbourhood, etc.
Smart Tip: Turn off everything at once by 'turning off the house' at the mains (make sure you do not want to run your fridge or an alarm system though! If you do just leave those specific circuits on)

Copyright 2008