Last year I published our 2018 carbon footprint, and now can say how we got on in 2019. Below is a graph showing the last two years side by side:-
Exploring each category in turn as a comparison to last year:-
We used a bit more electricity (7504kWh) in 2019 compared to 6660 kWh (6.6MWh) of electricity in 2018, emitting 2.97 tonnes CO2e. I would guess the extra usage was largely due to more sourdough baking during 2019.
I used a figure of 395gCO2e/kWh rate (a 25% reduction) reflecting the fact that albeit we purchase green electric, the electricity we purchase is not always green due to the current UK generation mix. We do though purchase only 100% renewable electricity from Octopus Energy, who continue to be joyful supplier to deal with. (If you fancy joining them, try this link as you and I share £50 off for switching).
We used a bit less heat (6830kWhth) in 2019 compared to 6894 kWhth of heat in 2018, emitting 2.36 tonnes of CO2e directly out the flue; that’s for hot water at the tap, and heating in the form of underfloor heating.
I used a direct emissions figure of 345 kg/CO2e per MWhth reflecting the fact that burning wood produces CO2e, albeit the wood we purchase is from a locally FCS managed woodland and a lower figure could be used.
We drove less miles in 2019, down to 11545km (7,169 miles) compared to 12,300 km (7,638 miles) in 2018, emitting 2.55 tonnes CO2e along the way. This is based on a 220.69gCO2e/km figure of an large LPG/petrol fuelled car. I think most of this reduction is down to starting to use our e-bike cargo trailer and reducing local delivery journeys.
We again did one family sleeper train journey to the south in 2019, travelling 1096 miles (used this train journey mile calculator) emitting 0.11 tonnes CO2e on the tracks. This is based on a 100gCO2e/mile figure of an average overland train trip in the UK. In reality the Caledonian Sleeper is powered by diesel locomotive for some (or perhaps all) of this journey, so this figure should perhaps be higher.
I did a single personal plane journey in 2019 (sigh) from London to Kerry (Ireland), on a family adventure to climb Carrauntoohil. In hindsight I wished I’d logistically tried harder to do it by train. You can see how only just one short 1.5hr domestic flight adds considerable to the carbon footprint (0.75 tonnes CO2e). I’m going to try very hard to blanket not use planes.
Our food emissions, (1.17tonnes CO2e), Health, Education etc (4.2 tonnes) and miscellaneous (1.19 tonnes of CO2e) have remained unchanged, and represent more the UK average per head shared tonnage of our current carbon heavy cultural system.
Our total family carbon footprint summed up to 15.49 tonnes of CO2e during 2019, about a tonne more than 2018 (14.59 tCO2e). To put that into context the world average per person is 4 tonnes; the UK average per person is a whopping 13.4 tonnes. Per person (our family is 4) we are 3.87 tonnes of CO2e during 2019. Carbon independent suggest 1.5 tonnes of CO2e per person might be a sustainable (i.e. earth can support) figure to aim for….
What to change?
Reflecting on last years areas to focus on, here’s areas to focus on during 2020:-
- Electricity has overtaken car travel as our biggest personal carbon emitter. I’m relatively relaxed about this but it strengthens the idea to get a next generation smart meter installed and to start playing with storage and generation behind the meter.
- Car Travel is starting to reduce – but still further to go to get those car miles down – and the target of 4000 miles per annum.
- Heat I still need to validate the source of our wood fuel and the subsequent tree planting plan, perhaps seeing if there is anything required to guarantee or safe-guard the sustainability of the wood fuel we are using. And perhaps associated with this is to get started on our own tree planting plan here on the croft.