It’s been a while since I posted our Carbon Footprint results, and what better time to do so than just after such a brutally cold spell. This really highlights the difference between the light, warmer months and the dark cold winter.

Our Energy Consumption: 4478 kWh

That’s a major difference from our starting month (August) of 1396 kWh – and all the increase is due to gas used for heating.

Interestingly, there was not a significant change in electricity consumption, even though the aquaponics system is now running and we did use an electric heater in the polytunnel on several occasions.

Our Carbon Footprint: 994 kg of CO2

We just scraped in under 1 tonne, mainly thanks to an extremely low mileage this month (thanks to being snowbound mainly).

And, as we’re still with Good Energy, who only supply electricity from renewable sources,  we can remove electricity from our carbon footprint:

Our carbon footprint with 100% renewable electricity: 781 kg

So there we go – still going up rather than down! Very interesting going through our first winter in the house, let’s hope the consumption is down from here.

Apart from two light fittings, all of the bulbs in our house are traditional incandescents. And there are lots of them. Tackling them all at once would be a mammoth task, so we’re going at it in a piecemeal fashion. Now that the evenings are drawing in we’re using the lights in the house a lot more, and I think they’re starting to become a significant drain on our electricity consumption.

My first spot to start was the bathroom. This has three – yes three – recessed light fittings. That makes it sound palatial, but it’s not. What it is is unbearably bright. Each fitting takes a full-size “R80” 100 watt reflector bulb. Luckily these had been progressively blowing, so at point of replacement we only had one running, and the light in the room was adequate, although poorly spread.

After some detailed online research I gave up and went to B&Q. Quite a lot of money later I had three Megaman 11W R63 reflector bulbs – each one equivalent to a 60W conventional bulb. I went for the slightly smaller, lower-powered R63 size because I new that three 100W-equivalent bulbs would be far too bright.

Putting them in was easy; the bulbs fitted perfectly and didn’t protrude from the ceiling. Turning them on was a little less impressive. Startup is a little slow, with them remaining dim for a little too long for my liking. Once they are all going though they are impressively bright – in fact if they’d had more of a choice I might have been tempted to go for something closer to 8W (40W equivalent). Still, even with these three, we’ve reduced the wattage in the bathroom from 300W to 33W – that should help our electricity bills a little, be a good step towards our 10:10 target, and make us a little more solar-ready.

Our second full month in the eco-house, the figures this month are affected by the 12-day holiday we took this month. It was a serious driving holiday – Trafford to Central Germany. We could have flown, but decided to take the “eco” option – we’ll have a look at how green that was later. This month saw the heating start to come on – albeit on a very occasional basis, and we’re using the lights a lot more in the evening.

Our Energy Consumption: 2718 kWh

That’s a pretty big number compared to last month’s 1396 kWh – and almost all the increase is due to the car:

Carbon Footprint Sep 09 Energy

That’s the difference you see when you drive 2154 miles instead of the 830 in August. Interestingly, there was not a large drop in electricity consumption, even though we were away for more than a third of the month.

Our Carbon Footprint: 722 kg of CO2

Carbon Footprint Sep 09 C02

And, as we’re still with Good Energy, who only supply electricity from renewable sources,  we can remove electricity from our carbon footprint:

Our carbon footprint with 100% renewable electricity: 597 kg

Carbon Footprint Sep 09 NoElec

So there we go – going up rather than down! Not a great start to the monitoring, but mostly due to the one-off impact of that 1800 mile across-Europe driving holiday. We’ll see how we go in October, now that the heating is on and the lighting is getting good use too.

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!