Monday, 30 November 2009

10:10 savings in the bag?

Having signed up to the 10:10 campaign at its launch on 1 September, I rushed to upgrade my home's energy efficiency once again. Despite having cut our annual energy use by 10 MWh (i.e., 10,000 kWh) from 2006 to 2008, I am delighted to find that we are now achieving further reductions in both electricity and gas usage versus last year.

Our annual electricity usage has dropped 15%, from 6.1 MWh this time last year to 5.2 MWh today.

The annual gas we used actually went UP in 2008, for two reasons. Firstly, the very cold weather we had from October to February and, secondly, I fitted a basic, wireless thermostat in an attempt to improve the control of our central heating. This backfired because the cheap model I used was much less accurate than the old bimetallic strip it replaced, leading to a couple of degrees overshoot every time the heating ran. I have now replaced this with a more sophisticated controller that is accurate to ±0.2 °C and features "adaptive intelligence" that learns how to control the boiler to achieve the required temperature without overshooting.

Since fitting this smart heating controller, and boosting the loft insulation to 400mm, our gas usage has dropped substantially. While the warm autumn weather is now coming to an end, I estimate that our annual gas usage will drop from 14.4 MWh in 2008 to 13.1 MWh in 2009. If we achieve this, we will have reduced our gas consumption by 9% and our home's total energy use - and carbon emissions - by 11% this year.

Away from home, we have avoided leisure flights for 3 years and have replaced our 30mpg BMW with a 50mpg Golf. However, we did buy a second car this year, to get four of us plus luggage to S-W France for our summer holiday (saving around 6.4 Tonnes of CO2 emissions compared with flying) and will keep it for next summer too. Other than holidays, it gets little use.

I hope to have a wider impact on my community's emissions by persuading others to sign up to the 10:10 campaign and embark upon their own footprint reduction. I am working on this with two local schools and preparing to speak with community organisations to advocate 10:10 and offer advice and support on energy saving to anybody who wants it. Wish me luck!