Today I logged my weekly meter readings into www.zapcarbon.com and it says that I’m currently producing zero carbon through my domestic energy consumption!
We are living our lives completely normally and by taking some quite simple and inexpensive measures, there is no doubt that, at Vulcan House, we have a low footprint. The question that bugs me is, why don’t most people do the same?
What is the reality and how has it been achieved?
The reality is that we are not currently using the central heating so only burn gas for cooking and water, which on a weekly basis is not adding up to much CO2 output at all. Once the heating is turned on, we will be consuming much more gas so our energy conservation measures will come into play – insulation, draft exclusion, getting the timing and levels of the heating right. We actually want to buy a wood-burning stove, which will reduce gas consumption further as burning wood is recycling CO2 into the atmosphere that has been produced recently, rather than releasing it from ancient carbon stored in coal, oil or gas.
We currently use about 7.5 Kilowatt-hours of energy per day, which is very low compared to most 2 person x 3 bedroom households. This is achieved through using low energy light bulbs, especially where lights are on a lot, and simply not wasting electricity. However, in addition, we procure our energy from Good Energy. This is a UK energy supplier that sources all of it’s electricity from renewable generators (wind, hydro mostly) and they have calculated that the underlying carbon produced through their entire purchase is 32 tonnes per year. They then is off-set this through supporting Converging World, which works the same way as compensating for your air flights. So the actual carbon cost of my electricity is extremely low. The overall financial cost looks to be not very much higher than Scottish Power, which was our previous, relatively carbon -intensive, supplier.
This does not mean that we will start to waste electricity, because I like low bills – I can use the money elsewhere; but also there is only so much renewable electricity to go around at this point – it is precious. However, all in all, it does make me feel much better about the power we do use.
Apart from domestic energy, it is still work in progress and our lives are far from being carbon neutral. We flew to France on holiday this year and there are always decisions to be made that affect our overall footprint. However I feel that the change we have made to VulcanHouse energy use in the past 3 years is a major achievement that could be copied by many people without sacrificing their lifestyles.
If you want to know more, do email me at firstname.lastname@example.org