September 2009


Thought I’d post a quick update on how we’re going without a tumble dryer – following all our posts on the Rotaire Dryline we’re using. It’s been cold, wet and windy this week, and we seem to be drowning in washing, but even with bursts of rain every hour the clothes are still getting dry (eventually)! Incredible. Here it is again in case you haven’t seen it before:

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You can get them online from Rotaire from £30 – and you’ll be saving hundreds of pounds a year on using a tumble dryer

We’ve had our first full month in the Eco-House, so here’s our monthly report – our Carbon Footprint for August. We’ll be plotting these each month on a graph to see how we go. I’m anticipating that this’ll be one of our lowest months – the lights have hardly been on, and there’s been no heating used. It’ll be interestiung to see how we go through the winter, and then how next year’s figures compare.

Our Energy Consumption: 1396 kWh

Carbon Footprint Aug 09 Energy Comsumption

As you can see, the majority of our energy came from using the car – 830 miles at an average 49.9 MPG . That’s significantly higer than previous months – not helped by a 300-mile round trip on the bank holiday weekend. Now lets convert this into our Carbon Emissions:

Our Carbon Footprint: 412kg of CO2

Carbon Footprint August 09

What’s interesting to see here is how the electricity we use has a much higher impact on our Carbon Footprint than it should for the energy we use. With that in mind we’ve changed electricity supplier to Good Energy. Good Energy only supply electricity from renewable sources, so we can remove electricity from our carbon footprint.

Our carbon footprint with 100% renewable electricity: 258 kg

Carbon Footprint Aug 09 Good Energy

So that’s a significant reduction – 37% off our carbon footprint in one go. If every month was the same as August we’d be on track for an annual carbon footprint of just over three tonnes. Not bad for the four of us. Unfortunately not every month will be like August – so we’ll see how we go!

Our initial target is to come in well under the nine tonnes of CO2 per adult that is the average Mark Lynas quotes in the Guardian. To make the comparison fair though we need to include a couple of other things on the graphs – water consumption and public transport use. I’ll try and get some of those on the September figures.

As we’re getting close to having all the parts of our system in place I thought it’d be fun to have a look back at how our plans have turned into reality. It’s quite an interesting story in images:

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Aquaponics Tanks

The aquaponics system is all coming together – the tanks and growbeds arrived yesterday. Here they are laid out in their final positions in the polytunnel, and luckily thay all fit! Now I just have to do a little bit of digging to sink the sump (the mid-size tank at the top), get the stands made that’ll support the growbeds, and do the plumbing!

Eat Seasonable Fruit & veg

Eating seasonable fruit and veg can be a great way to save yourself money, and reduce your impact on the environment. It can be hard though to work out what really is in season now that you can get pretty much anything at any time of year.

Luckily there’s a great new website – EatSeasonably.co.uk – that tells you what to eat now, and even what to grow. It’s all presented in a great format and can be printed out and stuck to the fridge. We’re going to try it out and see!

We’re getting ready to publish our monthly report card on how we’re doing in the Eco-House – a crucial part of our Energy Descent Plan. Last month’s report just focused on the car as we hadn’t been in the house for long enough to get proper readings for gas and electric, but this month’s report will have the Big Three. I’ve just read the meters and grabbed the car’s mileage, once I’ve put it all together I’ll put the report card up so we can see how we’re doing!

If you want to compare your progress with ours, pop out and read your meter now, and write down your car mileage too!

You can click here to keep up with our Energy Descent Plan.

10:10 CampaignToday we joined thousands of other people and organisations in committing to reducing our emissions by 10% in 2010 – we joined the new 10:10 campaign.

So go on – commit yourself to match or beat us – we’ll post our progress online for all to see! Get your friends involved – challenge them to do it too!

And don’t forget your business – get your work to commit – it’ll probably save them some cash too!