You may recall that I promised my children the full financial benefit of our home's energy savings in 2009, as an incentive for them to concentrate on switching things off, avoiding standby, and so on.
At the end of November I predicted a 10% saving, worth £100 to my kids. In the event, December turned very cold and we had to use much more gas than expected. Still less than last year, however! The annual gas usage fell by 374 kWh, just 2.6% of our total.
We did much better on electricity - saving 728 kWh vs. 2008, that's a reduction of 12.1%. Overall, our 2009 energy usage was 5.4% less than 2008 and resulted in a 7% reduction in CO2 emissions.
So what did the kids earn? £44 each. Good for them, they helped reduce energy wastage throughout the year. Hopefully, this will become instinctive for them as they grow up and make their own ways in the world.
Now for the 10:10 challenge! Since September I have invested in serious loft insulation and replaced the undercounter fluorescent tubes in our kitchen with LED striplights. For Christmas I was given the Fit-PC 2 net top computer (running Windows XP) which has completely replaced my 6-year old Mesh PC tower. This little black box (10cm X 12cm X 3cm) runs silently on just 8 watts, compared with up to 200 watts for my old Mesh monster. If your desktop is left on 24/7, replacing it with a Fit-PC would pay for itself within 3 years. Of course, the first thing to do is stop leaving it on 24/7 - as I did a couple of years ago - but even so, I can now take great delight in running spreadsheets, email, music, videos and internet as fast as ever, but for less power.
With other tweaks around the house, I have managed to halve my baseload electricity consumption (ie., everything off apart from landline phones, built-in appliances, hard-drive recorder, etc) from 160 to 80 watts.
I am setting the benchmark for my 10:10 challenge, at home, as the year to Christmas eve 2010. To cut our emissions from home energy use by 10%, compared with the same period in 2009, our targets will be 17,425 kWh in total (4,770 kWh electricity, 12,655 kWh gas), resulting in household emissions of 4.5 Tonnes CO2e.