From Greenhouse to Green House

The threats of climate change
CO2 emissions and savings


The spreadsheet, below, shows CO2 emissions (in Kg) from our household (including travel) before we did anything to reduce them and after we had adopted emissions-saving measures. The estimated savings, expressed as fractions, are shown between the two.

The overall savings in Kg and as a percentage of original emissions are shown near the bottom of the spreadsheet. Percentages are in bold red type. The original estimates come from the carbon calculator provided by the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

The effect of air travel is strking. Before we started on this exercise, we normally took about two trips each year involving air travel, each trip being roughly equivalent to a flight to America and back. Now we aim to reduce this to not more than one and, perhaps, zero. One extra air trip each year can totally wipe out all one's savings in other areas.

Since air travel is such a big factor, we were interested to see the effect of all our other measures, discounting air travel. These savings, shown on the last line of the spreadsheet, are about 50%, not far short of the Government's 60% target for 2050.

If, as we are now doing, we reduce our flights from two overseas trips a year to one, our overall savings, including savings from air travel, are close to 50% (shown below against the percentage for 'reduced flights').

If we were to cut out air travel altogether, our overall savings would be over 75% (shown below against the percentage for 'zero flights').

Overall, our conclusion is that, at a personal level, it is possible to reach or exceed the Government's target's for 2050 by adopting relatively simple, inexpensive measures without undue inconvenience or loss of comfort. If the same is true of industry, commerce and administration - and we suspect it is - then there should be no difficulty in hitting the Government's 60% target for 2050 and doing it very much sooner than that date.

Source Before     Saving   After      
     Water 890                
          Condensing boiler       0.3   623      
          Solar water heater       0.5   445      
               Combined       0.65     312    
     Space 3561                
          Cavity wall insulation       0.3   2493      
          Condensing boiler       0.3   2493      
               Combined       0.51     1745    
     Total (heating)   4451           2057  
Electricity 925                
     Purchase from Good Energy       0.1   833      
     Total (electricity)   925           832.5  
     Car1 (6000 miles) 1524                
          Use of bio-fuel       0.9   152      
     Car2 (4000 miles) 1016     0   1016      
     Train & bus (2 people) 1524     0   1524      
     Air travel (2 people) 10786                
          Reduced flights       0.5   5393      
          Zero flights       1   0      
     Total (transport, including flights)   14850              
     Total (transport, reduced flights)               8085  
     Total (transport, zero flights)   4064           2692  
Overall total   20226              
Overall total (reduced flights)                 10975
Overall saving (reduced flights)                 9252
Percent saving (reduced flights)                 45.74
Overall total (zero flights)   9440             5582
Overall saving (zero flights)                 14645
Percent saving (zero flights)                 72.4
Percent saving (discounting flights)                 59.13