Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Carbon reduction actions

As promised earlier, here's a quick reprise of the definite ways I've actively tried to reduce carbon emissions over recent years:

  • I've given up flying completely (since the start of 2007) and have managed, fairly easily, to maintain 10-12 journeys per year to London ... and even managed to make it to Rome this summer ... all by train
  • given that most of my London journeys are on dates I know well in advance, they are definitely costing less than flying. I'm not going to claim the train trip to Rome was cheaper than flying - it wasn't :-(
  • we switched our electricity supplier to Good Energy - a 100% renewable energy provider
  • the tariff is higher than our old supplier but we also now use a 'real-time' energy monitor in the flat and our electricity bills have plummeted as a result
  • Good Energy have just started selling a gas product as well, so we've now switched our gas supply to them also - too early to be certain on the cost-implications of this yet!
  • since July 2007, I've cycled more than I've used the bus to get to work ... so much so, that I no longer buy an annual bus pass
  • thus the cycling is obviously saving me considerable sums of money - not to mention the health benefits :-)
  • we do own one small car, but use it as sparingly as possible
  • I've joined the City Car Club, and use that whenever required - and, who knows, it may help lead us to be without a car completely one day?
  • we're growing most of our own veg (and some fruit!) since getting an allotment plot in February 2008 ... was a near three-year wait on the list for my better-half, but the sooner you get your name down!
  • there's just no question that the allotment is saving us a fortune in food bills - not to mention, again, the obvious health benefits --- of all the digging, not necessarily the food ;-)
  • our family composts and recycles just about everything possible - the Council make it pretty easy - and there's no doubt our general consumption levels have fallen considerably as a result
  • our general household bills are definitely down due to the high levels of recycling undertaken - in both directions, of course!
  • we renewed our household fridge, which was well over 10-years old, and bought a new A+ rated model
  • that new fridge uses a significantly lower amount of electricity, and is saving us a fortune - we know, because of that eco-eye :-)
  • I generally don't bang on about this last point, but we are all vegetarian - I'm in my 16th year; my better-half about her 30th year; and our 11-year old has known nothing else
  • meat is more expensive, less healthy, and generally much more damaging to the environment - in terms of achieving a positive, collective environmental (not to mention a positive, personal health!) impact, its probably the single biggest step most of us can make ... and, its so easy to do

All of these steps have been fairly painless to make, and all of them have saved us very significant sums of money - and undoubtedly made us healthier into the bargain :-)

But - I know we can make another 10% reduction by 2010 ... we certainly now need to fit a new (condensing) boiler for the gas central heating of the flat. The money we've already saved can easily pay for it (not to mention any 'subsequent' payback) and I'm going to try and have one installed by the start of this winter!

That act alone, alongside doing better on (and more of) all the above, should take a further 10% off our carbon emissions by the year-end ... watch this space ;-)


Good Energy said...

great work councillor, great work indeed.

Good Energy

Andrew said...

Many thanks for the positive feedback - much appreciated ...