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.

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As part of our Energy Descent Plan we’re trying to progressively reduce our energy consumption – fuel for the car, electricity and gas in the house. This’ll save us significant money but also will reduce our carbon footprint and dependance on Fossil Fuels.

The first thing is to work out how much energy we’re using, and to that end we’ve started measuring it monthly. We’ve just finished the second month of monitoring our car usage, although they have been two crazy months (due to moving in to the eco-house) so the results may not be typical of our normal lifestyle. We’re converting all our energy use to kWh/day so that we can compare fuel/electricity/gas on an equal basis:

Month Miles MPG Litres Used kWh kWh/day
June 429 46 42.4 454 15.12
July 423 47.2 40.74 436 14.06

So we’ve already seen a significant drop in our daily energy consumption from the car 😀

I’d have to say that is a bit of a fluke – we haven’t tried particularly hard to reduce our consumption yet. It’ll be interesting to see how our consumption changes as we settle into our new routines here.

As it’s the first of the month I’ve just taken the first Gas and Electric readings in the eco-house so we can work out our standard consumption for those next month too – it’ll be interesting reading and will give us a base to measure our changes.

One of the first learning  points from this is that if we had a plug-in electric car we’d have to have at least 15 kWp of solar panels installed – that is a LOT of solar panels. It makes you realise how big an impact the car has on our energy consumption.