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!
I've found the info and articles at earth.org.uk really useful - thanks. TK, UK.
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.
NEW 2013/08/26: Back to Basics: Direct Hydropower in conjunction with hydroelectricity. Note also in comment "The power formula is a litre of water falling one metre per second is 9.8 watts maximum. A cubic metre (1000L) of water falling one metre is 9.8 kw falling two metres is 19.6 kw and so on. A practical kinetic to electrical efficiency is about 70%. That needs a generous diameter penstock (ie not restrictive) with a head (vertical drop) of at least 10 metres connecting to an efficient generator."