This site is not about selling you 'hell' or 'hell-avoidance', but
rather all about practical things that I have done or thought about to make my own life (and that of my family) a little better and lower-carbon without wearing a hair-shirt, and many of them are things that you could do too... (But note that the average European probably has to cut their carbon-footprint by 80% to stand a chance of averting the worst of climate change!)
Catch yourself doing something right and do more of it!
Love what you are doing and the fantastic data sets you have made available. Well done! RF, US.
... You have inspired me to get Solar panels. PF, UK.
I recently stumbled across your quite fantastic website... AE, UK.
I've been reading your site for the last couple of years and think it is excellent. PF, UK.
Thanks for your wonderful website - I look at it a lot. A, UK.
... thanks again for your great site, I look forward to reading the rest of it and learning even more. JM, UK.
It's very refreshing to see something that outlines the benefits, drawback[s] and the options in such a non-judgemental way... JS, US.
... some very useful & interesting info... GR, UK.
... a great resource when it comes to cutting your power consumption. MS, UK, via Twitter.
This is a fantastic comprehensive site. I have found a whole load of interesting stuff from it. JC, Wales.
Things That We've Done
We've crunched our carbon footprint,
we've become a SuperHome,
pondered other things that we might do,
but most of all there's been quite a lot of fun learning.
Maybe it's my engineering mindset,
but I've made a hobby out of conservation and meter watching,
and had fun out of 'tuning' life a little,
and the rest of my family humours me!
See a full list of articles in the site guide,
but here's some things to start with that we did:
High-efficiency white goods (eg fridges) and other electrical goods at home and at work; look at energy consumption in use, eg per wash or while on, and in 'standby' mode if you won't be turning them off at the wall.
For cooking: investigate CO2 savings with induction cookers and microwave ovens.
Clothes washing: alternate ideas with drying (eg on a line), and low-temperature (cold/30°C/40°C) washing and do full loads.
Also, simple changes in habits and textiles (wool is brilliant compared to cotton for whole-life costing as well as washing/drying/ironing).
Low water-use toilets, showers.
Insulation and thermal mass (over-cladding buildings).
Close curtains at dusk to retain heat (and on hot sunny days to keep the sun/heat out).
Don't have your hot water thermostat set higher than 60°C/140°F, and 'instant' water heaters avoid losses from a tank for new systems.
Don't leave gadgets and appliances on standby/charging, turn them off (maybe with a smart power-strip or trailing adaptor) or unplug them; you might trim as much as 30% off your electricity bill.
Check your mains electricity use at home with tools such as the Kill-a-Watt meter, or just read your supply meter daily or weekly. Gas too.
Minimise the electricity you use at times of peak grid load (eg 4pm to 9pm in the autumn/winter in the UK) since more carbon-intensive and expensive fuels may be burnt in 'peaking' plants, and the grid is under most strain too. Intensity at peak time circa 2009 is probably ~0.6kgCO2/kWh, as much as 50% over typical levels.
2012/11/05: New move to make EPCs appear in all advertising: "From January 2013 all sales or lettings advertisements in the commercial media should show the EPC rating of the property being advertised. There is no requirement for the full certificate to be displayed but the A-G rating needs to be clearly shown."
2012/10/17: Cornwall and Scotland hold UK's wave power potential: rows of wave 'farms' up to 1,000km long facing the Atlantic could generate around 11% of the UK's current power generation. While the theoretical resource is as high as 18GW, around 10GW of capacity is more realistic. "It was surprising that the best sites were so far offshore — our analysis indicates that it is worth going so far offshore to harness the more energetic waves."
2012/09/24: What is energy efficiency doing to power demand?: in US, "more than half of utilities estimate that energy efficiency has reduced their load growth by up to 1% per annum, with nearly an additional quarter estimating a reduction of up to 0.5%, and "(Conservation is another matter, Macquarie notes. Efficiency measures are things that get built into systems; conservation is behavior, and utilities see conservation behavior being strongly driven by the economy, and thus only temporary.)" and "... decreasing correlation between power demand and GDP."
2012/09/24: Heating controls often aren't used effectively: "Research indicates that households can save an average £59 per year on heating bills just by installing a room thermostat. By upgrading every home to have a room thermostat and a full set of thermostatic radiator valves the Government estimates that it would reduce carbon emissions from domestic heating by 8 per cent (about the same as estimated savings from loft insulation)."
2012/08/08: The Rebound Effect: Large or Small? "We find that there are both direct and indirect rebound effects, but these tend to be modest. Direct rebound effects are generally 10% or less. Indirect rebound effects are less well understood but the best available estimate is somewhere around 11%. These two types of rebound can be combined to estimate total rebound at about 20%. We examined claims of "backfire" (100% rebound) and they do not stand up to scrutiny. "