A while ago New Scientist ran an article with lots of practical advice about cutting your carbon footprint, along with numbers (measured in tonnes of CO2) to tell you how important each one was. So I had a go. Here's the results so far.
Things I've done:
- Avoid air travel as much as possible, this is one of the biggest things. I've had holidays by train, been to conferences by ferry, all great. Although I haven't always been able to avoid planes for going to certain places. NS said I could save 1.6 tonnes CO2, so let's say my score here is 0.8 tonnes
- Convert electricity supply over to a green supplier. (It's cheaper than our old one too...) Score: 0.8 tonnes
- Paid attention to buying food that's local(ish) and in-season. The asparagus season is just ending, it was nice. Score: 0.7 tonnes
- Turn the thermostat down "by 2º" in winter. Bit confusing this, what if it's already turned down? Anyway I think I did do. Score: 0.4 tonnes
- Run the washing machine at 30º rather than 40º, and cut down on tumble drying. Still do use the tumble dryer, so out of 0.25 tonnes I score about 0.15 tonnes
- Energy-saving lightbulbs, of course. There's a couple of fittings where they don't fit so I don't score the full 0.15 tonnes here: 0.1 tonnes
- Avoid canned drinks (aluminium smelting is a massive energy-user apparently). This is tricky cos I like cans of pop, and I like cans of beer. Glass bottles are better apparently, not sure if plastic bottles are OK. But I've been boycotting Coke anyway, so I've definitely cut down on cans to some extent, let's say out of 0.3 tonnes I score 0.15 tonnes
- Avoid leaving things on standby. Bought a really clever device which detects when the telly is off and turns off the set-top box, the DVD player, etc. Score: 0.04 tonnes
Things I can't/won't do:
- Various things that we can't do since we're only renting, e.g. "buy a wood-burning stove" (0.9 tonnes), change the home insulation (0.8 tonnes), change to a more modern boiler.
- Go vegan (1 tonne). No way, sorry. I like vegan food sometimes but that's a lot to ask.
- Get a microwave - no room for one in our flat.
Things I already did:
- Not owning a car (1.5 tonnes). No point having a car anyway if you live in London.
So, out of a possible 8.44 tonnes I score 4.64, or 55%. Not bad, that's a saving of about half an average UK person's CO2 usage apparently, although as a percentage it looks a bit lower than I was hoping. Well, let's hope it's worth it...